App Store Boner: Apple’s arbitrary ousting of AppVault

Ray Wenderlich, author of AppVault and special developer contributor at TouchMyApps has been struck by some bad luck decisions lately. Unfortunately, none of them are his. AppVault is one of a few premium apps which does its job extremely well. But that may have been the problem. Two nights ago, AppVault was removed from the App Store at the request of one of Ray’s competitors, ALLABOUTAPPS, on the grounds that AppVault is “too similar and infringed on their copyright” in AppBox. Ray rightly points out on his blog AppVault, that according to US copyright law, ideas cannot be copied. And according to Ray, AppVault has a superior feature set to AppBox.

But that aside, the real issue is that Apple pulled AppVault without warning Ray, skipping due process completely. There was no legal struggle; ALLABOUTAPPS (AppBox’s developer) simply complained to Apple that their copyrights were being infringed upon and Apple played the schoolboy.

Part of me sympathises with with Apple’s decision; every year, the software/hardware giant is beset with lawsuits and countersuits: for them to pull the trigger, to remove the trapdoor, to let the lion out is natural. But in reality, they dropped the soap. Without due process – the same sort which they rely on in order to clear their asses of wrongdoing – every decision is arbitrary. And without due process, their developer base is subject to more of the same. Continuing in the same vein, they will lose their bloodline: their customers.

Competition is the heart of the game. If AppBox and AppVault have it in for each other, that is only good news for the customer. Both are excellent apps, but Apple have stifled one side. And this is the same Apple who pretty much copied Xerox’s GUI for use in their personal computers. Maybe the days of nasty letters has finally come to the App Store. Hell, maybe the same will come for fan websites, for operating systems, for computers! Bring on the monopole!

Ray Wenderlich is hosting petition for this issue to be put aright. TouchMyApps supports this position – Apple are simply out of control.

This situation is a nightmare for developers and not a good sign for customers. I call for the powers to be to arbitrarily pull OSX from the computing arena if this keeps up…

Stop by Ray’s blog for the entire story. And if you feel led, please feel free to sign the AppVault petition as well.

  • http://www.app-vault.com Ray Wenderlich

    Thanks much for helping spread the word on this, guys. Hopefully we can get this issue resolved and get AppVault and the other apps that have been removed unfairly back on the store!

    For those of you not familiar with AppBox and AppVault, here’s a screenshot comparison of the latest version of each app side by side, just as an FYI of what we’re talking about here.

    http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/8122/comparisondw.jpg

  • http://www.touchmyapps.com/author/tma_chiffan/ ChiffaN

    Apple is simply out of control on copyright. It seems anyone can complain to them with zero grounds and have the competitor removed. Earlier it was EDGE and now AppVaulr! They really ought to set some basic rules for it or Rockstar can have all of the clones put to rest easily. And gameloft could also get in trouble with their many similar games.

  • http://www.touchmyapps.com Cquin

    wow…i’m sure this won’t get published, but you are a total crook.

  • Jason

    I am completely distraught. I rely on AppVault everyday! It’s far superior than AppBox. I spend alot of money in iTunes and on apps, but until they put AppVault back in the app store, I am only downloading free and lite version apps. This is BS. Apple should do the right thing and put AppVault back in the store and let them fight it out in court. I am doing all I can to spread the word.

  • Kevin

    I think the AppBox developer(s) should spend more time improving their own app rather than complaining that their competition is beating them.

    I’m not too familiar with economics, but I’m pretty sure this is called capitalism: make a better product (at a reasonable price) and you’ll likely get the most customers.

    and if Apple decided to remove this app, they should probably remove all those:
    babe/bikini/pasties apps
    tower defense apps
    castle defense apps
    solitaire/klondike apps
    and more because there are a whole bunch that are almost identical.

  • Kevin

    it sucks that your app got pulled, but I’m glad I got your app before this. though it kinda sucks that there won’t be any updates (if AppVault is not allowed back.)

    P.S. enjoy the 70 cents and the knowledge that you had a superior app, superior enough to make me buy it. It was money well spent

  • Michal

    Comparing two binary modules the AppBox Pro and the AppVault Pro, I found there are same 193 exactly same files exist. The AppVault Pro copied it’s data file from the AppBox Pro binary.

  • http://www.software.com Sam Steele

    Let the truth be known that the initial launch of AppVault was 99% identical to AppBox. I’m talking colors, graphics, menus, you name it. Sure, now they have back-peddled and are attempting to introduce their own designs, but they chose the easy route to begin with. It was unfair, dishonest and misleading to customers, and very likely illegal. Shame on AppVault for trying to cut corners and then crying when the other company simply tries to protect their rights.

    Sam

  • http://www.touchmyapp.com shigzeo

    There are two very controversial sides to this story, maybe three. One is that AppVault went missing from the App Store with no warning. Another is that it was at the behest of AppBox’s developer. Whether or not the code was copied or not shouldn’t be a problem for anyone where the App Store is concerned where copyapps are run amuck. In the same way though, software development has been a pirated affair for years, but there is always some publish stand off. In this case, the entire thing is arbitrary.

    That said, if AppVault’s code, as has been suggested, is a rip off, then they have some explaining to do, however, that explaining should be allowed rather than silenced by removal.

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