Crackdown on Devs Who Speak Ill of Apple?
Developer Tommy Refenes has attracted the attention of a substantial number of his developer peers this weekend. Refenes' game "Zits & Giggles" was yanked from the App Store a few days ago without the developer receiving any word from Apple as to why the pimple-popping game for the iPhone and iPod Touch was dumped.
One possible explanation? Last week Refenes verbally shredded Apple during the "Indie Gamemakers Rant" at The Game Developers Conference. Calling the App Store "awful" and "horrible," Refenes lambasted Apple on multiple fronts, even referring to the iPhone's gaming platform as being comparable to the cheesy Tiger Electronics LCD games that first rose to popularity almost two decades ago.
As a result of the app getting yanked on the heels of Refenes' controversial and derogatory comments, some are wondering if Apple is cracking down on devs who speak negatively of the App Store. Sound far fetched? Indeed, it does, especially when another component of this story is exposed. Refenes has consistently and incongruously elevated the price of his game in the App Store. And we're not talking about modest increases. According to PC World, which also covered this situation and the "other side" of the story, Refenes has hiked the price of his app to unreasonably high levels that could have naturally provoked some concern from Apple. As the app's price jumped from $15 all the way to $400, it's quite reasonable that Apple pulled Zits & Giggles over pricing issues, not the developer's disparaging remarks.
Although Apple has certainly thrown its weight around in many aspects of business and applications development in the past, it's monumentally difficult to accept the idea that Refenes got the boot due to his less-than-friendly words alone. If not for the dramatic and outrageous price increases of what amounts to a fairly silly app, it's highly probable that the game would still be for sale in the "awful" and "horrible" App Store.