Apple will allow developers to challenge its app review process, and also end its current practice of blocking bug fixes due to minor violations of its rules, Reuters reported Monday.
Apple has not yet revealed the details of the mechanism devs can use to appeal rulings, and an Apple spokesperson declined to comment. However, the feature is supposedly on the way.
Although Apple didn’t mention it during Monday’s WWDC keynote, the App Store currently faces a variety complaints. Last week, the European Union opened an official antitrust investigation into the App Store. At the same time, developers of newly launched email service Hey are the latest to speak up about Apple’s alleged abuse of its position with the App Store. One of Hey’s developers accused Apple of behaving like “gangsters” by threatening to remove Hey’s app if they don’t start selling subscriptions through the App Store. Hey sold subscriptions to its $99-a-year service through its website, with the iOS app simply offering a sign-in page for existing subscribers.
Microsoft President Brad Smith recently joined the chorus of voices slamming Apple for taking a 30% cut of app revenue. Smith said similar business models are far more anti-competitive than the infractions that led to the United States v. Microsoft Corporation antitrust case of the early 2000s.
App Store rules controversy
Apple’s tight, but often opaque, App Store rules have long been the bane of some developers. Since day one, Apple’s decision to tightly curate what is and is not allowed in the App Store has opened it up to criticism. Apple says it does this to ensure a high-quality experience for customers. But some devs have taken shots at Apple’s inconsistent, subjective approach to enforcing App Store rules. In some cases, this has caused apps not to be approved. In others, Apple would delay approval of bug-fix updates due to larger problems with apps.
“They’d flag something, we would make some modifications, and they would flag something different,” Tom Kulzer, CEO of email marketing software company AWeber, told Reuters.
It remains to be seen whether Apple’s latest changes will reflect more favorably on it going forward. Because right now, the way the App Store operates seems to be causing no end of headaches for Apple.