Apple closes App Store loophole

Apple has blocked an App Store end-around that enabled a rejected iPhone application developer to market his app across a distribution channel intending for beta testing and enterprise use. According to Computerworld, Apple originally rejected developer Alex Sokirynsky's Podcaster on grounds the iPhone application duplicated features present in its own iTunes platform: "Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes," Apple told Sokirynsky. The developer responded by selling Podcaster via Ad Hoc, Apple's name for the distribution channel it established earlier this year to allow developers to trial their iPhone applications--enterprise developers also use Ad Hoc to offer custom iPhone apps to corporate users. Sokirynsky created a website to sell Podcaster directly to customers for $9.99, instructing buyers to submit their iPhone's unique device identifier code (a prerequisite for Ad Hoc access) prior to downloading and installing the application.

Upon learning of the loophole, Apple shut down Sokirynsky's account. "Basically, Apple denied me from provisioning new devices," he wrote in an email to Computerworld. In addition, Sokirynsky criticized Apple in a now-removed post on his blog, writing "All I wanted was for someone from Apple to contact me and tell me how we can work it out so that I get into the App Store. Instead, Apple took the coward's way out by simply disabling features in my developers portal. This seems like a childish move for a company that has been proving [sic] such high-quality service and products in the past." Sokirynsky currently plans to port Podcaster to Google's Android platform: "At least there, I will be welcomed instead of being walked all over," he said in the blog entry.

For more on the Podcaster controversy:
- read this Computerworld article

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