Skip to main content

The Strange Case Of Apple, Dash And App Store Review Manipulation

You may have heard of the popular iOS app Dash, before last weekend I hadn't, however it's popular enough that it's removal from the App Store and subsequent developer's complaints were interesting enough to get the media interested.

Without evidence to conclusively prove things one way or another I'd say it's impossible to establish the truth here. Either Apple has followed through on its policies around developer behaviour and penalised a successful developer for something he hadn't done and then refused to back down out of stubbornness; or the developer is a compulsive liar.

The crux of the matter is whether the expelled developer had been manipulating reviews or whether he was ensnared in a weak piece of governance enacted by Apple in the registration of developers.

Apple claims the developer was guilty of several years of review manipulation across multiple apps and development accounts. The developer claims that the account responsible for the abuse was one he paid for as a favour to a friend, but because Apple links accounts by credit card was erroneously tied to his own.

App Store information suggests that there has been no manipulation of reviews for the Dash app, whilst apps posted by the second account have been heavily boosted by fake reviews.

To me that supports the developers view, but as I say, that isn't evidence one way or the other.

And let's not even begin to discuss the legitimacy of linking different accounts by tying them to the credit card used to pay for them.

Were this another platform the developer would be free to distribute his app via alternate methods. Being iOS that's not possible. Inherently iOS is a closed shop and if Apple says you can't sell to customers you're done for.

For customers who have bought the app it seems that they will be denied further upgrades and even the ability to download their purchases onto a new device or after restoring a wiped iOS device.

I've raised concerns about the closed shop that is the App Store many times in the past. It does seem strange that Google will potentially be prosecuted for bundling its apps and Play Store on Android devices, even though customers are free to acquire apps from many different sources; whilst Apple is free to dictate terms to its customers and developers with no possible alternative solution.

If that were not the case, this would be a non-story. But it isn't, so it is.

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…