Truth be told, I kinda like the iPhone. I've thought about buying one. Shocking? Haha, perhaps. I don't want to like it really, because I don't like Apple, but it's a nice looking/functioning product. A good package. (My thoughts on Google Chrome are similar... nice, functional, but surely fueled by an evil empire.) Anyway, one thing keeping me away from the iPhone is the slowly growing list of concerns surrounding it's security and (more importantly to me) it's openness and extensibility. Or lack thereof, it seems.
A number of sites are linking the recent story about an app Apple blocked. Here's a summation by quotation.
Competition is like a rising tide - it generally lifts all boats. Healthy competition sparks innovation, which helps users, which drives sales. It's a winning situation for all involved, and that includes Apple.
I wouldn't invest in or develop an iPhone app because Apple could decide not to approve it, and if they don't approve it you can't sell it. You can't even give it away. You don't find out if you've been approved until the last step, after you've fully invested, so you could lose, totally, if Apple says no.
Simply put, Apple is stifling competition. That's bad, but much worse is the fact that this stifling occurs at random, making it impossible for developers to determine just what will be allowed on the iPhone.
Consider this possibility. Next year Apple announces an app that does what your previously authorized iPhone app does. You have competition, so another competitor, even if it is the platform vendor, isn't that big a deal, right? Well what if they de-authorize your app because it duplicates functionality of theirs? Think you could live with that?
What's going on here?
Today I finally got a reply from Apple about the status of Podcaster. Apple Rep says: Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes.
That's right folks, it duplicates the functionality of the desktop version of iTunes. Therefore, it was denied from sale in the app store. Although my app does allow you to listen to podcasts (like iTunes), it also allows you to download them directly to device and that is something Apple does not offer.
Podcaster is an application that lets you download podcasts. This application was denied permission for sale, by Apple, because "it competes." Antitrust, anyone? Remind anyone of Microsoft? At least they ALLOWED competing browsers on the OS. What worries me the most is that this is not the first red paint on the Apple canvas.