A closer look at Apple’s crackdown on iOS apps and suspect promotion practices

Apple has recently started rejecting games and perhaps some other apps that offer users incentives if they say nice things on Facebook or watch advertisements, and the company is definitely not happy about apps that promote other apps.

For the end users that’s not such a bad thing for a number of reasons.

First, having to break gameplay in order to send a social media message or watch an advert in order to advance more quickly or attain some reward is annoying and detracts from the gaming experience. Apple is big on trying to maintain a seamless, pleasant experience for its iPhone and iPad users.

Second, if an app promotes other apps (particularly if they can download and install those apps directly) they could open the door to apps circumventing Apple’s control of all apps by forcing users to only buy apps from the App Store – and Apple really hates giving up control of its ecosystem.

Both of these things are valid points and I don’t know anyone other than developers who will object to the new policies.

Whether Apple is doing these things for the benefit of its users or whether the firm is doing this in an effort to maintain the rigid control over anything and everything that runs on an Apple device is not clear.

The first point could be taken as an genuine effort to maintain a high standard in Apple apps and protect users from annoying practices that are beginning to creep into all sorts of applications.

The second point, however, smacks of a company trying to maintain a monopoly over all apps simply because it doesn’t want to share the profits. Apple takes a 30 per cent cut on all app sales and, as the company is so fond of saying every chance it gets, people download lots and lots of apps from the App Store.

Statista reported last year that the cumulative number of apps downloaded from the Apple App Store from June 2008 to October 2013 had reached 60 billion downloads.

60 billion apps downloaded and Apple skimmed off 30 per cent of all profits. That’s an awful lot of incentive for Apple to make damn sure no one tries to sell apps in a way that circumvents the App Store, and Cupertino certainly never wants to see someone coming out with an App Store competitor.