"60 Mario and friends" - Apple's response
Published Tue, 16 Feb 2010
I actually brought the previously posted "60 Mario and friends" app to Apple's attention through their iTunes app support page.
But apparently Apple doesn't really care if their customers are being deceived. Here's their response:
Thank you for your interest in the App Store and for bringing this App to our attention. We have found no issue with this App since the summary clearly mentions that the App contains only sound clips: "Go back in time and hear the pleasure of your favorite video games again ! Mario and friends provides you an unique experience : bring back to life the games you played back in the 90' with more than 60 sounds clips." If you have questions about the licensing rights, please contact the developer: http://www.isayonlineapplications.com/ Thank you for being an iTunes Store customer and I wish you the best.
This is pretty much customer-service-language for "who cares, not our problem". Any reasonable adult could see that this listing is purposely trying to be deceptive, and that the vast majority of people who have purchased it have been fooled. But, that's not Apple's problem...
Having reflected on the issue a little, what could be done to fix the app store?
I think it comes down to two basic points -
- Open a new area of the App. Store which allows any app to be published, no Apple-approval required. These apps would be clearly labeled as such, ala the Android app store.This addresses the open-ness and bias issues of the app store, but not issues like the "60 Mario and friends" of deception, and the fact that most people just buy from the top 10 without looking any further.
- Move to a more personal-recommendation based approach, ala. Amazon.com.Amazon is a great example of a web-based store front, because the content is tailored to the individual. Although there exists a "top selling list" in each of the various categories, Amazon is trying to match the best recommendations for the individual user, rather than to shove the "top selling list" down every users throat. This approach greatly reduces the cash-cow that is currently getting to the top-10 app store list.
I don't see the first point happening anytime soon, as Apple's strategy around this isn't an altruistic "keep the users safe" one; it is primarily keeping about control of their platform, and the developers who develop for it.
The second point might be addressed in the future, but given Apple's response to the issue above, it doesn't seem like they particularly care about the quality of their store, only that they can move a bunch of product through it.
About the Author
Richard Nichols is an Australian software engineer with a passion for making things.
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