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.

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