Steve Jobs Reportedly Intervenes in iPhone Application Approval

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Ars Technica reported yesterday on the approval of Knocking Live Video [App Store, Free], which was notable for the apparent personal intervention of Apple CEO Steve Jobs after the iPhone-to-iPhone video streaming application was initially denied.

Jobs' interest in the case appears to have been sparked by an e-mail sent to him by the developer after the application was rejected for relying on private programming functions that are prohibited by Apple's iPhone developer agreement. In the e-mail, the developer argued his case by noting the functionality of the application and the fact that other applications using the same functions had previously been approved, and expanded his message to include the frustrations of many developers with the App Store review process.

Meehan ended up composing a passionate plea to Apple's CEO, explaining he has been frustrated and disheartened with the app approval process, which often leaves developers wondering and waiting with little or no response from Apple about any potential problems. He pointed out that there are other apps that had been approved using the same private API call -- though it was prior to Apple's suspected use of automated analysis software that can comb through code and spot references to unapproved APIs. Meehan even "humbly" requested that Jobs himself review a demo of the app and reconsider it for approval.

Less than 48 hours later, the developer received a call from an Apple executive to discuss the situation and note that a decision to revisit the application's status came "directly from the top", suggesting that Steve Jobs himself had become involved. Within three hours of the executive's phone call, Knocking Live Video had been approved for sale in the App Store.

Apple has received a significant amount of criticism over its App Store review policies, and a number of high-profile developers have recently quit iPhone development in frustration. For its part, Apple has started to become more vocal about its vision for the review process, with senior vice president Phil Schiller recently going public to defend the process as the company also strives to continue improving it.

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