After being pulled from the App Store back in April for violating Apple’s latest guidelines, AppGratis has turned to Android to keep its app recommendation service alive. The company has this week launched a new app in Google Play that promises a free app every day, plus discounts of up to 90% on paid Android titles.
App Store apps that recommend other apps are getting pulled left and right. Following the removal of popular titles like AppShopper and AppGratis, it was reported last month that Apple was beginning a widespread crackdown on apps that work similarly to the App Store itself.
Now another instance of Apple targeting app sharing services has been reported.
Once you get on Apple’s bad side, it’s hard to climb back into its good graces, and AppGratis is starting to learn that the hard way. After pulling AppGratis’ app from the Apple Store last week, Apple has also decided to kill push notifications on the app for users that still have it installed.
This is the first time we’ve seen Apple kill certain functionality on an app after users have already installed it. AppGratis was banned from the App Store after Apple decided violated multiple rules of the App Store, but AppGratis says its already working on a comeback.
Apple said that it pulled AppGratis for sending app promotions to iOS users via push notifications. The discovery service coordinates with third-party developers to offer discounts for paid apps. Apple also said that AppGratis behaved too much like the App Store itself.
It looks like AppGratis’s sins run deeper.
According to a leaked document, AppGratis was charging developers large sums to get their apps to the top of the App Store’s charts.
Apparently, junior minister for digital economy Fluer Pellerin thinks that Apple shouldn’t have rejected AppGratis from the App Store last week. Her remarks to the French media make it clear that she feels the tech company isn’t behaving ethically in its dealings with AppGratis, a French startup, or others like it, calling the move “an issue of fairness,” and “extremely brutal.”
Not only that, but Pellerin feels that European regulators might want to think about taking action against Apple for the rejection.
What is confusing is why AppGratis was pulled — just days after its iPad app was approved — when there are plenty of similar services that remain in the App Store. But according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans, its ban was the first of many the Cupertino company is about to dish out.
AppGratis is a popular App Store app that’s used by more than 12 million iOS users. The company consists of 45 employees and recently raised $13.5 million in funding. AppGratis offers promotions and discounts for popular paid iOS apps in conjunction with third-party developers, and the company has continued to thrive over the last few years.
Everything was going great until Apple threw down the hammer over this past weekend. Without much warning, AppGratis was suddenly pulled from the App Store for violating some developer guidelines. Poof. Gone. Now it’s a matter of working with Apple to try and fix what caused the problem. The app’s removal came as a shock to AppGratis and has left the CEO wondering how the App Store review team “could have possibly changed their minds overnight.”
Apple mysteriously pulled app discovery service AppGratis from the App Store over the weekend. AppGratis is yet to confirm the reason for the decision, but it’s thought the app could have been in violation of a new rule Apple introduced last October banning iOS apps that feature or promote other apps.