Apple Shows True Colors, Bans iPhone Apps

Apple is taking tons of heat for banning competitive software from the iPhone. Podcaster, Alex Sokirynsky's $4.99 iPhone app that lets users download podcasts, was banned by Apple stating, "Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes." So does this mean you can't make a better clock app for the iPhone? You can't have a different e-mail app? Apple might let those slide, but come near iTunes' revenue generating capabilities and you'll get the Steve Jobs version of a digital smackdown.

Like so many aspects of Apple, this demonstrates again the closed minded, closed hardware, closed software, elitist "we know better" approach to customers. Never mind Apple's happy to ship an iPhone that's a very poor phone, eats battery life like a starved dog, and bricks phones at the turn of a jailbreak or a software upgrade.  But users will still gobble up iPhones because they're cool and trendy, or maybe just because they're the latest gadget made by Apple. In this case, Apple's taken their closed approach one step too far in my opinion by stopping a competitive product.

Apple isn't banning the Podcaster app because it violates acceptable use, consumes too much bandwidth or is some type of a scam. Podcaster comes a little too close to home as an alternative to the iTune's cash cow. Putting the kibosh on Podcaster is anti-competitive. Not only should users be outraged but anyone with a sense of fairness and who values the benefits of free market competition should find this practice intolerable. Who owns the iPhone you just purchased, you or Apple? Shouldn't you have the choice of what applications you put on it? If you want to download free and purchased podcasts using Podcaster, shouldn't you have a right to do so?

By constraining authorized apps to only those distributed through the App Store, using whatever criteria Apple chooses, sets up Apple to be big brother of the iPhone. What's next? Is Apple going to start enforcing a tax on every app sold through App Store? Maybe a tax on every download Podcaster brings to your phone? Will apps have to pay for space on the App Store shelves? What other reasons might Apple come up with for banning an app? 

Apple needs to open up the iPhone and iPhone software by allowing other means of distributing applications than just the App Store. Apple needs to demonstrate they're confident enough in their own software to allow competitive products on the iPhone. Apple can practice whatever socialistic, cultish or downright smug elitism it wants, but squashing the competitive Podcaster app is way out of line.

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