John Gruber nails it with his interpretation of BusinessWeek’s interview with Phil Schiller:
The most interesting thing about Arik Hesseldahl’s interview with Schiller for BusinessWeek isn’t anything that Schiller says, but that the interview exists at all.
The fact is people are upset, not just developers, but users too. I still think that the majority of users have an abundance of goodwill towards Apple, regardless of Apple’s habit of silly rejections. But, Apple needs to be aware that goodwill only lasts so long when you treat developers and users like this.
Although the most interesting part of this interview is that it exists at all, the contents are still worth reading through.
Phil Schiller compares the App Store approval process to a retailer deciding what products will be on its shelves:
Whatever your favorite retailer is, of course they care about the quality of products they offer. We review the applications to make sure they work as the customers expect them to work when they download them.
It’s hard to argue with this point; I haven’t downloaded a single application that didn’t work the way I expected it to. That could be because of how careful I am at deciding what application to purchase, but I think a lot of it is due to Apple’s approval process.
That’s not to say I agree with the approval process. Today, the approval process is a mess and things get rejected that shouldn’t. And although Apple usually fixes those slip ups, the fact that they happen is enough to upset the whole iPhone community, including myself. The Airfoil Speakers Touch fiasco is a perfect example. Schiller didn’t directly address Airfoil Speakers, but he does talk about making trademark guidelines more sophisticated.
We need to delineate something that might confuse the customer and be an inappropriate use of a trademark from something that’s just referring to a product for the sake of compatibility. We’re trying to learn and expand the rules to make it fair for everyone.
Since Rogue Amoeba made the whole ordeal public, they have submitted a version with the icons and images intact and it has been approved by Apple. I would have liked to see the application approved much earlier, but at least it has been.
Apple is moving much slower than we all would like at fixing the problems with the App Store. We shouldn’t stop complaining (it seems that this is what has forced Apple to change), but we should at least admit that they are moving in the right direction and have shown a commitment to solving these issues.
11/15/09: High Profile Developers Abandoning the iPhone