Good Enough For A Pulitzer, But Not Good Enough For Apple

from the seriously,-what-the-hell-is-going-on-over-there dept

Just as online content only begins to get some recognition as being Pulitzer worthy, it looks like those content creators still have a major hurdle to overcome: namely, Apple's incredibly screwed up application approval process.  Cartoonist Mark Fiore made Internet and journalism history this week as the first online-only journalist to win a Pulitzer prize for his work over at the San Francisco Chronicle. Much more difficult? Getting his iPhone cartoon application past Apple's application store guardians. Fiore says his application was rejected last December because, as an Apple letter phrased it, his satirical cartoons "ridicule public figures," a violation of Apple's iPhone Developer Program License Agreement:

"Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory. Examples of such content have been attached for your reference."

Except the attached examples provided by Apple weren't offensive in any way, and included such radical and supposedly-offensive things like caricatures of the couple that recently crashed a White House dinner. Of course, this is only the latest in a long list of bizarre and seemingly arbitrary Apple decisions that have kept developers from getting their wares to the application store. Luckily for Fiore, his plight resulted in some negative press for Apple, and by the end of Thursday, Apple had personally called him to say his application had miraculously and suddenly made the grade. As usual, Apple wouldn't officially comment about how or why they had screwed up.

You'd like to think that this would be good news for other platforms, given that developers would eventually get tired of dealing with Apple's bizarre inconsistencies and turn their efforts elsewhere. But this never really happens, given that Apple's application store remains the best place to gain exposure and make money -- and the inconsistent approval process means many developers are never impacted. It also seems likely that the walls surrounding newer application stores (like Verizon's) could wind up being even worse. Still the problem remains and, obviously, people wonder if Fiore would have had his rejection reversed if he wasn't in the media spotlight for his Pulitzer win.

Meanwhile, Dan Gillmor and outlets like the Columbia Journalism Review think it's time for journalists to start "pushing back against Apple" and asking some hard questions. Gillmor's general concern is whether news outlets risk having their applications rejected should they criticize Apple (though that would seemingly indicate consistency, something Apple's apparently not good at) -- and more specifically what happens when a paper like the New York Times enters such a tight iPad business arrangement with a company they cover frequently. Surely most people in the press will get right on asking Apple those kinds of hard questions -- right after they stop collectively gushing and cooing over the iPad for hits.



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    identicon
    bill, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple fuck apple

     

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    Freedom, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 2:11pm

    Light at the end of the tunnel...

    Up until maybe 6 months ago, I thought the future of Apple was bright. But with the Android making extreme inroads in the SmartPhone market and still growing REALLY STRONG, and the Android App Market that is also growing an extreme break-neck speeds... I think we may be at the peak for Apple.

    There is such a feeling of underlying relief I hear from developers and consumers that there is a finally an option to the Apple BS.

    Sorry Apple, you lose round 2 with the same knock out punch you got the first time around - oh memories...

    Freedom

     

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    mark, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    Not good enough

    It's great publicity for Fiore, of course. But notice that Apple's completely silent about revisions to the *actual policy*. They're just making an exception for this guy, who I understand is popular in the Bay Area. Everyone else gets the high hat -- and if there's ONE THING I HATE, it's the HIGH HAT.

    Seriously, I don't know why Apple wants any part of content management, it's like a tar pit.

     

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    Winterpegger, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    Why bother with application at all?

    Probably I am missing something but why that application should exist on the first place? Why not to use the internet browser which does exist on iPad?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 2:54pm

      Re: Why bother with application at all?

      To provide some extra revenue for Apple and for the developper and who knows, even the artist himself...

      And, you ask why does he deserves it? Well, he won a Pulitzer for crying out loud... :)

       

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      mark, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 3:00pm

      Re: Why bother with application at all?

      I think it's because his web site uses flash, which is not supported on iPhones and iPads.

       

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    Nick Taylor, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    @Winterpegger

    I may be missing something as well, but is it because Apple have also seen fit to ban Flash?

    --

    Apple have created a (family of) killer app(s) for content-providers who want to make money via the "work once, get paid forever" model. The broadcast model.

    This creates by default a killer-app-vacuum, to be filled by Android (and the rest of the internet) for people who no longer live in the broadcast-model world.

    The farce that is known as "copyright" cuts right down the middle - one killer-app is for maintaining it, the other for breaking it.

     

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    Sigoidal, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Dumb

    This a stupid article.

    What does winning a pulitzer (content based) have to do with getting an app approved (functional protocols). If Al gore wrote a junk app about global warming, should it get approved because he has a Nobel prize?

    Stupid article, just tech dirt candy for apple haters

     

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      Karl Bode (profile), Apr 16th, 2010 @ 4:49pm

      Re: Dumb

      "What does winning a pulitzer (content based) have to do with getting an app approved."
      Not sure. Maybe read the whole article and associated links to find out?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 4:53pm

      Re: Dumb

      What does content have to do with silly content rules? Gee, I don't know.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 5:09pm

      Re: Dumb

      This isn't about a junk app getting approved because of fame. This is about an app that never should have been rejected that only got approved months later because the guy had the fame to cause a media storm about the rejection.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2010 @ 5:33pm

    People need to stop making apps for Apple for a while so Apple can realize that Apple needs THEM for the content, not so much as people need Apple.

     

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    Rob Pegoraro (profile), Apr 16th, 2010 @ 8:47pm

    Apple's no-comment policy

    It's extraordinary how Apple can stay clammed up in the face of bad PR--I didn't get any sort of response from the company to my own intemperate screed.

    - RP

     

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    identicon
    alternatives(), Apr 19th, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Steve likes closed stuff for squezing out the most cash.

    Steve didn't like it when the Apple ][ was copied by others because Apple itself published the schematic and code.

    The clones died a legal death because Microsoft 'legally protected' Applesoft BASIC.

    The original Mac was an expression of Steve being closed.

    Then Steve got into media as a producer and found a world of copying (and cared because he was making money from it VS the collection of pirated music he had)

    No one should be shocked that Steve is trying, in the paraphrased words of the disposed Apple '95 leadership 'of maximizing value'. Control is how Steve thinks the max money will be made with the least effort.

    While I think it'd be wonderful to see the satirist not to bother with Apple and instead produce the work for the other phones, my guess is he wants money more than the make a statement about censorship

     

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