Sticks and stones may break Apple’s bones, but Ninjawords will never hurt them. In what appears to be a change in policy, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) SVP Phil Schiller investigated and replied to a critical Daring Fireball blog posted on Tuesday that accused Apple of unnecessarily censoring the Ninjawords dictionary and then giving it a 17+ rating anyway.
Schiller’s efforts show that Apple is starting to worry about the company’s perceptions when it comes to the App Store’s policies. In the past couple of weeks, Apple has received a ton of negative publicity regarding its App Store policies. The banning of Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Voice even prompted an FCC investigation. Ninjawords seemed like just another bad example. But clearly, Apple wants developers to believe differently and that their actions are not without reason — at least most of the time. (Note: In case you are questioning whether this was truly a publicity stunt — for the benefit of journalists, developers or federal investigators — Apple PR did indeed send me a link to Schiller’s comments this morning — even though I read the Daring Fireball post on my own.)
The controversy all started in Daring Fireballs’ initial post, which charged Apple with restricting a dictionary, which typically has free range in other places, even Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT). But in fact, Apple is now claiming — and Ninjawords is verifying — that Ninjawords decided to censor itself in order to make it into the App Store sooner. Otherwise, Apple suggested that Ninjawords wait until parental advisory mechanisms were put into place, at which point it could receive a 17+ rating.
Here’s an excerpt from Schiller’s response:
“Let me start with the most important points – Apple did not censor the content in this developer