France’s digital industry minister isn’t pulling any punches, unleashing a torrent of aggression against Apple that may lead the company straight into the cross-hairs of EU regulators. The Minister lambasted Apple for their decision to punish the French tech start-up AppGratis, saying that the tech giant’s “brutal” treatment had put the French start-up’s future in danger. AppGratis’ app, with over 12 million users, was very publicly booted from the iTunes App Store, leading to this breakdown in international tech harmony.
Apple claimed that the French company’s app violated several of Apple’s guidelines stated in their app store terms and conditions statement. The nation is sticking up for their savvy local start-up, lashing out against what many say is unfair bullying by Apple, Inc.
The Minister, Fleur Pellerin, in an interview with the French newspaper LeMonde was quoted saying, “I recall that the French are the world’s second largest developers of software applications behind the United States for mobile devices. What is the sense of investing if, overnight, the economic model is jeopardized by a unilateral decision…There is an issue of fairness in commercial relations.”
As an iPhone app developer I truly sympathize with the AppGratis team and the anxious ordeal they are grappling with. Apple’s app development guidelines are notoriously vague, giving the company the ability to kill off applications at will. Mobile app developers are held hostage to the whims of Apple’s cabal of iTunes overseers. We can only hope that highly public events like this lead Apple to identify their missteps and alter their app store patrols to be more developer friendly.