Apple has adjusted the approval procedure for iOS apps: In the case of rule violations by apps already distributed in the App Store, bug fix updates will no longer be "delay", but it is a matter of "legal problems", as Apple announced on Monday. Apple takes a small step towards developers, the blocking of updates has long been a source of annoyance among app vendors.
arger about update blockade
Spotify accused Apple several years ago of using the app store approval process as leverage against competitors. Even in recent times, there have been repeated cases of Apple apparently withholding updates due to a dispute with the provider. For users, the update blockade can also be frustrating, as they might have to deal with a buggy app. However, developers will still have to correct Apple’s rule violation with another update.
Developers will now have the opportunity to challenge Apple’s rules and make suggestions for changes, Apple also announced – something that was not previously provided for. Developers can select a specific rule from the lengthy App Store Guidelines via their developer account and then submit their request. How and according to which criteria Apple decides about such requested rule changes remains unclear. Both changes to the access process were announced at the WWDC developer conference in June – shortly after a bitter public dispute with the provider of an email service.
App Store Rules: Lawsuits and investigations
Apple’s App Store is the only way to distribute software for iPhone and iPad. Those who violate the corporation’s written (and unwritten) rules face ejection from the app and expulsion from Apple’s developer program. This is what happened to Fortnite developer Epic Games recently: The game publisher deliberately violated Apple’s rules on in-app purchases with an update and subsequently refused to take back the change. First Fortnite was removed from the App Store, last weekend Apple finally closed a developer account of the company.
Epic Games accuses Apple of competition violations and tries to break up the App Store with a lawsuit. Similar lawsuits by iOS developers and iPhone customers against Apple are already underway in the U.S. The EU Commission is currently investigating whether Apple’s rules distort competition. Russian competition watchdogs recently concluded that Apple is abusing its monopoly in the distribution of iOS apps.