Apple's Arbitrary Review Process Now Being Used To Stop Competing Pebble Smart Watch

from the lame dept

For many years now, we've been highlighting how Apple appears to arbitrarily ban apps with little to no explanation, even though quite frequently, it appears to be because they are competitive with Apple products.

We haven't heard as much about that lately, leading to at least some hope that perhaps Apple has been opening up and allowing more apps. It's still a walled garden, which is ridiculous, but we'd hoped that the gate was relatively open. So it seems odd to find out that not only has Apple been refusing to allow Pebble's new iOS app, but it appears to be sitting on it for an extended period of time with no explanation (one version has been waiting for 43 days, another version, where "expedited review" was requested has been sitting for a few weeks).

Pebble, of course, is the maker of the first really popular smartwatch, and they're just starting to ship the second generation of that watch after a super successful Kickstarter campaign. As Pebble notes in the email that it sent around to backers, the last time it requested "expedited review" Apple approved that app in 24 hours. Of course, there's a big difference between the last time and this time: now the Apple Watch is on the market, meaning that Apple has a competitor in the marketplace, giving it incentives not to help out Pebble.

Obviously, there's no direct evidence that Apple is purposely blocking Pebble's app because it competes with the Apple Watch, but it does seem notable that the approval went through so much faster prior to Apple entering the space. And, even if that's not why Apple is blocking approval, just the fact that the company has a secretive, non-transparent, arbitrary approval process, at the very least, allows for the appearance of trying to block a competitor.

Update And... of course, just as this post is going out, it comes out that Apple has now finally approved the app, with Pebble claiming that the public pressure from it releasing its story helped push the app across the finish line.
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Filed Under: app store, apple watch, arbitrary, pebble, pebble time
Companies: apple, pebble


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  1. identicon
    hegemon13, 6 Jun 2015 @ 6:42am

    It's worse than that

    Blocking the official Pebble app is bad enough, but there have been stories popping up all over about apps being removed or update approvals being denied because they mention Pebble compatibility in their description. Many are apps that have been around for a long time, and now that Apple Watch is out they are denying apps by claiming that mentioning Pebble compatibility is advertising a competing platform. Apple in love with antitrust again. Maybe they should just focus on making compelling products (which they are generally quite good at), and stop these outrageous efforts to stomp out any and all forms of competition.

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