Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Apple is entering an Appstore minefield

Apple's recent rejection of Google Voice and the removal of existing Google Voice applications from the AppStore is a dangerous step that could backfire badly on them.

I voiced my concern to Apple, as suggested in "There's No App for That" and sent an feedback message to Apple. Why don't you do the same and post your message on the Internet for others to see. Here is what I wrote:

The recent decision to remove Google Voice related Applications from the AppStore is a short sighted decision that could have far reaching ramifications.

I currently use Skype over WiFi to be able to call my children overseas. I was hoping to switch to Google Voice to do the same thing. I have been using the original iPhone since the very first day it was released. For other complicated reasons my contract expires early next year. At that point I will seriously have to consider whether I upgrade my iPhone or purchase an Android-based phone.

The moves that Apple have recently taken in the arbitrary removal of apps or refusal to accept applications in to the AppStore jeopardizes the customer and developer relationship. Whether this is Apple's own decision or as a result of pressure from AT&T is irrelevant. The lack of transparency in the approval process will drive your developer and technical user base to consider alternative options.

The growing level of innovation that Apple has triggered with the release of the iPhone is finally seeing viable competitors emerge. This will make it easier for people like myself, who have been committed Apple supporters, to consider alternative options.

I urge Apple to reconsider their position and be more open with the processes around submission of applications to the AppStore. If Apple insists on treating their development community with such disdain it will be rewarded with a growing level of defections to platforms that are more supportive.

Is Apple planning to remove other IM and voice applications like Skype? Will you consider allowing Google Voice applications to work over WiFi? Apple has to tread very carefully here. Alienating the development community could have big repercussions on the ongoing growth of both the iPhone, iPod and Mac markets.