Apple's Removal of AppGratis From App Store Just the First Phase of Broader Crackdown

For the past several days, we've been following the story of Apple's removal of AppGratis from the App Store. AppGratis offers a popular app discovery service with the main feature being a hand-picked app offered free each day.

appgratis_feature
Apple acknowledged that it had pulled the app for violating two App Store rules related to offering apps in a manner which might be "similar to or confusing with the App Store" and using push notifications to send out promotions. AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat responded yesterday to note that Apple had approved the app a number of times, including an iPad version just a week ago, before a new reviewer stepped in and quickly pulled the app after being unable to contact Dawlat, who was on an airplane at the time.

AllThingsD now reports that Apple's removal of AppGratis is just the first step in a broader crackdown on such apps, with more app discovery services soon to be pulled as well.

I’m told Apple feels these apps threaten the legitimacy of the App Store charts by providing a way for developers to spend their way to a high ranking. Apple did something similar in 2011, when it rejected a number of applications running incentivized app installs within their apps.

The company also worries that such apps undermine the integrity of the App Store by cluttering it with alternative storefronts. As one source described it to me, some of these discovery apps create a scenario
that’s similar to walking into Nordstrom and seeing a Walmart inside.

AppGratis notes that it is "far from finished" and that its 12 million existing users will be able to continue to use the app while the company explores its alternatives, but AllThingsD makes clear that the removal of AppGratis was not simply an error on the part of a reviewer and that AppGratis is "almost certainly finished as an iOS app — in its current incarnation, anyway".

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
95 months ago
Apple is only hurting the consumer with this one, especially with the current state of the app store in iOS6.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
95 months ago

As one source described it to me, some of these discovery apps create a scenario
that's similar to walking into Nordstrom and seeing a Walmart inside.

Or like walking into BestBuy and seeing an AppleStore inside...

So Apple does the same thing in real stores .... so why can Apple do it in the 'real world' without confusing customers, but think it would confuse customers in the digital world ? Apple should add a new category for AppStore alternatives and they might even increase their revenue by doing that.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
95 months ago
Couldn't they just do a web-app and that way get around the restriction?

The app anyway sounds like something that should be an web app.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
95 months ago

Funny thing is, "gratis" means "free" in norwegian. Would this mean we norwegians get apps for free?:D


Not really funny. That was the point of AppGratis. Free app promotions.

arn
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
95 months ago
If Apple had a better app discovery mechanism then all these apps wouldn't be necessary.

At worse, this particular app and others could be turned into a mobile webapp.. out of the reach of Apple.

I use these to find those apps that have reduced prices / gone free.

Doesn't AppShopper do the same thing? Yet it's still going strong and hasn't been removed.

AppShopper was removed a few months ago - for the same reason.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
95 months ago

If I remember correctly (I could be wrong), the guy is french and gratis in french also means free ;)


I think it means free in many western European languages since it is originally a Latin word.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Model Size Compared to Original iPhone SE and iPhone 7

Saturday July 4, 2020 9:44 pm PDT by
iPhone 12 dummy models based on leaked schematics have been starting to circulate online and in online marketplaces. Not happy with the circulating size comparisons between the rumored 5.4" iPhone 12 and the original iPhone SE models, MacRumors forum user iZac took matters into his own hands and purchased his own 5.4" dummy model to provide more detailed size comparisons between the original...

Top Stories: iPhone 12 Rumors, Apple's A12Z-Based Mac mini, Leaked iMac, and More!

Saturday July 4, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
With WWDC now behind us, our attention this week largely turned back to rumors, led by increasing claims that Apple controversially won't be including a power adapter in the box with the iPhone 12. We also saw a few other iPhone 12 rumors, signs of an upcoming iMac update, and some more information on timing of updates for Apple's smaller iPads. The other big topic this week was Apple's...

Apple Survey Asks iPhone Users What They Do With Old Power Adapters

Friday July 3, 2020 10:13 am PDT by
Amid multiple reports that Apple will no longer include a power adapter in its iPhone boxes starting with the iPhone 12 later this year, it appears Apple is surveying recent iPhone buyers to ask about what they've done with the power adapters that came with their previous iPhones. Screenshot via Twitter user @bedabb_ Apple's surveys typically cover numerous aspects of its products, but...

Tom Hanks Discusses 'Heartbreaking' Shift of WWII Film Greyhound From Theatrical Blockbuster to Apple TV+ Exclusive

Monday July 6, 2020 7:53 am PDT by
Tom Hanks' WWII drama "Greyhound" is set to premiere on Apple TV+ this Friday, July 10, and ahead of that debut the actor gave an interview with The Guardian discussing the film. "Greyhound" was originally planned to see a theatrical release this summer, and was repeatedly delayed in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Apple won the streaming rights to the film, and in the new...

Shipping Estimates for 27-Inch iMac Continue to Slip, Now Into September

Monday July 6, 2020 6:55 am PDT by
Amid rumors and hints of a forthcoming update for the iMac, supplies of Apple's current 27-inch iMac continue to dwindle with mid- and high-end stock configurations now seeing shipping estimates pushed back into September. The 27-inch iMac has seen tight supplies and extended shipping estimates for months now, but the situation has been gradually worsening to the point where new buyers can...

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

First Arm-Based Macs to Be 13-Inch MacBook Pro and Redesigned iMac, Launches Coming in Late 2020 or Early 2021

Sunday June 21, 2020 9:18 am PDT by
Apple plans to introduce its Arm-based custom designed chips for Macs at WWDC, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors today, agreeing with an earlier report from Bloomberg. Kuo says that the first Mac models to adopt Arm-based chips will be the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and an iMac with a redesigned form factor, with Apple planning to launch the new models in the in fourth...

Hands On With iPhone 12 Models Showing New Sizes and Design

Monday July 6, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by
Ahead of the launch of new iPhones we often see dummy models created based on leaked schematics and specifications, with those models designed to let case makers create cases for the new devices ahead of their release. We got our hands on a set of dummy models that represent the iPhone 12 lineup, giving us our first close look at the iPhone 4-style design and the different size options. Subscri ...

EU Advertisers Criticize New App Tracking Privacy Controls in iOS 14

Friday July 3, 2020 3:44 am PDT by
A Google-backed group of European digital advertising associations has criticized Apple for requiring apps in iOS 14 to seek additional permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites, reports Reuters. Sixteen marketing associations, some of which are backed by Facebook and Alphabet's Google, faulted Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user...

LinkedIn Says iOS App Reading Clipboard With Every Keystroke is a Bug, Fix Coming

Friday July 3, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
iOS 14 introduces a feature that alerts users when apps access their clipboards, and tons of apps have been caught clipboard snooping. LinkedIn is one of the iOS apps that has been reading user clipboards, and iPhone owners have complained that the app copies the contents of the clipboard with every keystroke. LinkedIn is copying the contents of my clipboard every keystroke. IOS 14 allows ...