Facebook and Apple may not be allies, but you could call them friendly acquaintances. Facebook draws millions of users online, while Apple supplies and outfits the machines that take them there. There's even some outright corporate synergy, with Facebook providing a hugely popular free application on the iPhone. But on Wednesday, the friendly faces cracked. Facebook's lead iPhone app developer Joe Hewitt announced that he was quitting because he disliked Apple's stringent review policies for applications. Echoing the complaints of many application developers, he declared his "philosophical opposition" to Apple's opaque, restrictive, unfair policies in the App store. Tech bloggers rallied behind Hewitt's cri de couer, though a few took Apple's side.
- Fanboy Into Hater in Record Time Tim Conneally at BeatNews observes that Hewitt's words mark a significant departure from his earlier dealings with Apple: "This is quite a turn of events, considering Hewitt's last blog entry in August said: 'No matter how annoyed I get, I will not stop developing for Apple's platforms or using Apple's products as long as they continue to produce the best stuff on the market. I never forget how deeply Apple cares about making their users happy, and that counts more than how they treat their developers. Besides, when I have a problem with a friend, I don't threaten to boycott our friendship until they change, so I'm not going to do that to Apple either.'" The blogger also notes that a whopping 17.3 million iPhone users have downloaded the app so far, which means that the news puts a stain on what is otherwise a huge success for both companies.
- 'Apple Tyranny' TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid scored the first exclusive interview it Joe Hewitt after he announced his decision to abandon future projects with the application store on Twitter. Furthermore, the blogger absolutely ate up the developer's disparaging remarks against Apple, predicting that the company's hard stance would come back to bite it: "I couldn’t agree with Hewitt’s sentiments more, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see such a prominent developer quit the App Store. Apple has built some truly fantastic products, but their approach to the App Store is frightening — especially given the fact that other platforms may see the iPhone’s success and start adopting a similar model."
- Apple's Spoiling Itself AppleBlog contributor Alfredo Padilla agrees with those who think that Apple is only hurting itself by ignoring developers' wishes, giving competitors in the mobile market a better chance to steal away talent away: "If this trend reaches a critical level it could deal a blow to the iPhone, which has touted the wide variety of high quality applications in its marketing. Even more dangerous is the possibility that developers will move in large numbers to other platforms, with Android being the most likely option."
- Apple's Turning Over A New Leaf At Cult of Mac, Ed Sutherland argues that Apple is not the totalitarian force that others are making it out to be. He points out that Hewitt has had a history of squabbling with the App Store, and says that in any case, Apple does acknowledge and act upon the complaints of developers: "In a step to possibly answer its critics, the Cupertino, Calif. company has added a bit more transparency to the review process, allowing developers to check online the progress of their apps. By visiting Apple’s Dev Center Web site, developers receive more expansive explanations of the review status of applications submitted to the App Store. An app could be 'Waiting for Review' or 'In Review' or 'Ready for Sale' using the new review progress viewer. Previously, more cryptic progress reports would simply note 'Based on current app submissions, 96 percent of applications are being approved within 14 days.'"