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Summary:

Apple’s policies on the iTunes App store may be arbitrary and hard to understand, but now they are getting a bit of appreciation after peopl…

imageApple’s policies on the iTunes App store may be arbitrary and hard to understand, but now they are getting a bit of appreciation after people accused an application in Google’s Android Market of being malware and erasing memory cards and spamming contacts.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no middle ground, with the mobile stores being on completely different ends of the spectrum. For instance, TechCrunch pointed out an oddball policy today that leaves you scratching your head. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is asking a risque application called Wobble to remove anything having to do with

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  1. It makes Apple's actions seem more reasonable. But I still don't think they are. There should be a way to have some sort of reasonable middle ground. Perhaps Apple will eventually get there but at present they definitely aren't. The arbitrary nature of their actions has made it almost impossible to tell what they will or will not allow unless you stay within VERY safe boundaries. They need to be more clear and then actually stick to it with any changes to their policy explicitly acknowledged so developers aren't left guessing and over analyzing every arbitrary thing Apple does.

    Google's anything goes situation isn't really great either. It's nice that authors don't have to worry about whether Google will accept their application because someone at Google is in a bad mood that day, but it does open users up for more opportunity to get hurt by an app that either doesn't work right or is intentionally malicious.

    That said Apple hasn't been perfect in their screening either. An early hit game (Aurora Feint) had some security issues involved with it sending your contact information to the authors of the game in clear text over the network. It turned out the authors weren't intending to be malicious, they just hadn't thought their actions through. And Apple notably did not catch it during their screening process.

    A good middle ground with straightforward guidelines and communication to developers about what they can and cannot do would be a good compromise I think. I wouldn't be too surprised if Google and Apple both end up at that point sometime in the future.

  2. These things take time to shake out. It's all still pretty new. At the moment, Apple is the middle ground. Apple's way isn't perfect, but I'd rather live in a semi-walled garden at the moment than in the wild west.

  3. For the moment, I will rather put up with a little bit more policing with Apple's tighter control of the applications allowed on the iPhone. Having my iPhone data wiped out or stolen by a rogue application is the least appealing of all the inconveniences put out by too much control. After all, in this free society of ours, isn't the police force fulfilling a necessary duty to say the least?

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