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
97 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
97 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
97 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
97 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
97 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
97 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

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

iOS 14 Picture in Picture No Longer Working With YouTube's Mobile Website in Safari [Without Premium]

Friday September 18, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 added Picture in Picture to the iPhone, a feature designed to let you watch a video in a small screen on your device while you continue to do other things on the phone. When Picture in Picture was working with YouTube The YouTube app doesn't support Picture in Picture, but up until yesterday there was a functional workaround that allowed videos from YouTube.com to be watched...

Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Friday September 18, 2020 1:19 pm PDT by
Today's the official launch date for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE, both of which Apple announced on Tuesday. We picked up a couple of the new models and thought we'd give them a quick look for MacRumors readers thinking of ordering a new watch. Apple Watch Series 6 & Apple Watch SE Hands-On! When it comes to design, both the $399 Series 6 and the $279 SE look just like...

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

iOS 14.2 Beta Adds New Shazam Music Recognition Feature for Control Center

Thursday September 17, 2020 3:36 pm PDT by
Apple today released the first beta of iOS 14.2 to developers for testing purposes, and the new update introduces a Music Recognition control for the Control Center. The new feature lets you discover music playing around you and it recognizes the music playing with in apps, even when you're wearing AirPods. Songs pop up as notifications, and you can tap to listen in Apple Music....

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Rumor Report Card: Assessing the Accuracy of Leaks After Apple's Event

Friday September 18, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
Apple hosted its virtual "Time Flies" event this week, where it introduced four new products, including the Apple Watch Series 6, lower-cost Apple Watch SE, a 10.9-inch iPad Air with an all-screen design, and an updated 10.2-inch iPad with a faster A12 Bionic chip. As expected, there were no new iPhones, which are believed to be coming in October instead. Apple also announced that it will be ...

Epic Games Announces 'Fortnite: Save the World' Will No Longer Be Playable on macOS

Friday September 18, 2020 4:50 am PDT by
Epic Games has announced that "Fortnite: Save the World" will no longer be playable on macOS, after Apple terminated Epic Games' developer account. Fortnite has been in violation of the ‌App Store‌ rules since August 13, when it introduced a direct payment option that skirted Apple's in-app purchase system by allowing payments directly to ‌Epic Games‌. Shortly after Epic blatantly...

Deals: Cellular Carriers Introduce First Offers on Apple Watch Series 6 and SE

Friday September 18, 2020 7:43 am PDT by
With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE today, cellular carriers have now introduced special offers for these new wearable devices. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Starting with AT&T, if you buy one Apple Watch Series 3, Series...