TechCrunch reported yesterday that Joe Hewitt, the developer behind the popular Facebook iPhone application, has resigned from the project over his dissatisfaction with the "gatekeeper" model of Apple's App Store review process. In response to a request for comment from TechCrunch, Hewitt explained his views:
My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple's policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.
The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.
Hewitt remains employed at Facebook, but declined to discuss his new role in the company.
Apple has received significant criticism over apparently inconsistent review standards and impersonal communications that have left developers frustrated with the process. Hewitt's comments reveal, however, that his dissatisfaction extends beyond the simple mechanics of the process to the overall model used by Apple, clearly showing his preference for an open system unfettered by reviewers deciding what may and may not be included on the iPhone platform.