Ladies and gentlemen of the Cult, I bring you bad news: As of 2:18 p.m. Pacific yesterday, I Am Rich is no longer available from the iPhone AppStore. At the behest of VentureBeat and many other bloggers, Apple has yanked a brand new app in the prime of life. Yes, I know. It’s tragic. Never again will you get to spend $1,000 NOW JUST $999.99!!1! for an utterly useless program that just displays a red gem to flaunt your wealth to passersby.
Now, I Am Rich was obviously intended by author Armin Heinrich to be either a joke or a piece of art, and it wasn’t particularly successful as either. It’s sort of one-note, you know? But its removal actually reflects an extremely obnoxious habit that Apple has had as of late: they’ve been pulling apps, including the extremely popular NetShare and Box Office, neither of which appears to violates Apple’s SDK (not that anyone knows, thanks to the blanket NDA…)
Jason Kottke puts it well:
Excluding I Am Rich would be excluding for taste…because some feel that it costs too much for what it does. (And this isn’t the only example. There have been many cries of too many poor quality (but otherwise functional) apps in the store and that Apple should address the problem.) App Store shoppers should get to make the choice of whether or not to buy an iPhone app, not Apple, particularly since the App Store is the only way to legitimately purchase consumer iPhone apps. Imagine if Apple chose which music they stocked in the iTunes store based on the company’s taste. No Kanye because Jay-Z is better. No Dylan because it’s too whiney. Of course they don’t do that; they stock a crapload of different music and let the buyer decide. We should deride Apple for that type of behavior, not cheering them on.