Removal of Apple’s AppGratis a Sign of Things to Come

AppGratis was pulled last weekend in response to the newly revised App Store rules, which were in contrast with the AppGratis promotion model. Apple reportedly took issue with the fact that the service appeared to be in favor of developers who could pay for exposure of their applications.

On Wednesday, AllThingsD exposed Apple’s plans to tighten up enforcement of App Store rules, characterizing the removal of AppGratis as a “first step” in a “broader enforcement” effort. Therefore, AppGratis was simply the first high-profile casualty in the company’s apparently impending efforts to curb developers paying for exposure.

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Citing people who claim to have knowledge of Apple’s plans, All Things Digital reports that Apple is planning to remove several app-discovery programs currently available in its App Store on the same grounds that it removed AppGratis. In accordance with the site’s sources, Apple is worried that app-discovery applications that help promote programs from other developers threaten the App Store’s rankings.

The removal of AppGratis from the App Store shocked Simon Dalwat, chief executive at AppGratis. In a blog post, yesterday, he asserted that Apple’s move was “a hard hit,” but added that his company’s “mission is far from finished.”

In accordance with AppGratis, the was deleted for violating two provisions in Apple’s App Store guidelines that forbid apps to display apps from other developers, as well as programs that push notifications for marketing reasons.

As stated by some sources, AppGratis will not be returning to the App Store in its current form under Apple’s rules, suggesting the software is “almost certainly finished as an iOS app.”

Although, in some cases, the company reversed its course in order to satisfy critics, Apple has been at the center of a slew of app-removal battles with developers. In 2011, the company began to remove apps that offered in-game currency in exchange for downloading other apps, and in 2012, it went after Tapjoy what TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington called an “app download circle jerk.”

Therefore, this is just another move on Apple’s part to protect the integrity of its own internal ranking and scoring system — to make all third party developers, in other words, beholden to Apple’s standards and metrics (and only Apple’s) when it comes to the App Store.

Even though, until now the company did not say what its move might be this time around, it appears that AppGratis is just the beginning as other app discovery services may soon be removed from the App Store.

 

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