Apple's Podcaster Block Backlash Getting Louder

from the not-so-good,-Apple dept

Apple is getting an awful lot of attention for blocking a podcasting app from the iPhone App Store because it competes with iTunes, and the more details come out, the worse it looks for Apple. In the original post on it, I had wondered, as an aside, if the app had useful functionality that Apple refused to provide — and, indeed, that’s the case. CNET is pointing out that the app is much more useful, since it lets you download podcasts directly to the iPhone — something iTunes doesn’t currently allow. Yet, Apple has no incentive to add this very useful feature, because it can just block out anyone who tries to do it for them. In the meantime, the developer of the app is forced to use a very limited workaround to offer the app to folks who want it (knowing that Apple could just come in and shut it down). Again, these moves are all well within Apple’s right to do — but it’s going to piss off developers (and customers) if these sorts of activities keep up.

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Comments on “Apple's Podcaster Block Backlash Getting Louder”

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20 Comments
mobiGeek says:

Re: Re:

Well, comparing Microsoft to Apple appears to be a fair thing, if you are talking about “windows” vs “itunes” then these comparisons are invalid.

Windows is a ubiquitous platform that has been deemed by a number of legal bodies to have a monopoly. iTunes on the other hand does not.

Besides, MS has made similar baffles with Zune. People have complained but not too loudly mainly because, well, who the hell has a Zune??

Chango lo Mango says:

This article ( and the lame comments) are just a bunch of reactionary BS. Do any of you idiots actually have an iphone? You can get the app straight from Alex for $9.95 (with Apple seeing no part of that) and all the hype about this today and monday on Cnet has made his sales for the last 48 hours greater than the total since launch. Tech dirt is getting to be worse than wired these days and the baited, predictable reactions on the comment board might prove it to be even a bgiger tardfest than wired.

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re:

With a kill-switch pre-installed on the phone, how reliable is that app going to be? And, can he legally sell something developed using the iPhone SDK if he’s not selling it in the iPhone store? I would guess that Apple could shut him down at any time, and you would be left with an unsupported app that Apple may just decide to “kill.”

hegemon13 says:

Re: Re:

And here is the info from the article that backs up what I said above:

“The main drawback is that Podcaster is limited to the first 100 people Sokirynsky signs up. Worse, to shut it down, Apple can pull the plug on his AppleID.”
“Of course, Apple could shut down Podcaster at pretty much any time, so you may be throwing your money away. And that’s too bad because Podcaster offers perhaps the easiest and best way to subscribe to podcasts directly from your iPhone (well, the easiest once you have it installed anyway).”

Yes, this is a big deal. However, I hope it is the kind of big deal that drives iPhone sales into the ground. Publicity for them has not been exactly great lately, and more of this could turn a lot of people away, especially once Android launches. I would love to see iPhone fail, simply because I am sick of Apple getting to run the market with their walled-off, proprietary garbage. Fortunately, they are still a rather small percentage of the mobile phone market, and will remain that way as long as their phone is 200+ dollars.

mobiGeek says:

Re: Re:

To me, the reaction is not about this application but about the iPhone platform. I am a software developer, interested in offering an application on popular platforms.

But this story is strong evidence that I am putting my company at risk by developing for the iPhone. I have no assurance that the application I build, that I want to sell to my customers, can actually be distributed.

Apple can apparently pull the plug on my application on a whim, whether it be that they don’t find it useful, they find it redundant, or if they find that it competes with other offerings (like, say, my competition?).

The backlash is understandable from multiple viewpoints. So why is this reactionary BS exactly?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You can get the app straight from Alex for $9.95 (with Apple seeing no part of that) and all the hype about this today and monday on Cnet has made his sales for the last 48 hours greater than the total since launch.

Which we actually mentioned in the post. Funny that you accuse us of not knowing this, when it’s clear you did not read the post.

That said, as we noted, only a limited number of users can get the app directly from him before the loophole gets shut down — and Apple can kill the app either way for those users.

So, no, it’s not as simple as you make it out to be, no matter what you think of us or this site.

Joe Schmoe says:

> …Do any of you idiots actually have an iphone? You can get the app straight from Alex for $9.95 …

Hey, easy you un-informed twit.

While you can get it from outside of the store, Apple still has the ability to shut it down if they decide to become even more aggressive.

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/08/12/iphone-app-blacklist-confirmed/1

“Jobs has confirmed that the hidden blacklist feature can be used to remotely disable applications Apple deems ‘malicious’. Confirmation as to the existence of a ‘kill-switch’ feature hidden in the iPhone which allows Apple to remotely disable applications it deems malicious has come from the very top – Steve Jobs himself…”

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Part of AT&T Deal?

Hasn’t anyone considered that part of the AT&T deal involves NOT allowing certain applications that will capacity off the 3G and EDGE networks? AT&T includes unlimited data plans with iPhones, but we know that what you think of “unlimited” and how a cellular company interprets it are somewhat different.

Why no VoIP? There are plenty of examples. The iPhone is sold as a package by AT&T (in the US) and Apple. It’s a great device, with a great range of application choices, but it’s NOT open, and we know that it’s deeply controlled by Apple. Why would you suspect that it’s not also controlled by AT&T as part of their deal?

Conclusion: Great device for the average Joes out there (the vast majority), bad device for the leading-edge geek, or open sourcer.

That’s why I carry a Windows Mobile phone. Much worse UI than the iPhone, much worse user experience. But I can do about a hundred things the iPhone can’t do, jailbroken or not (slingbox being example #1).

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