Why Did Apple Ban AppGratis?

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) controversial decision to ban the French company AppGratis from its iTunes App Store has raised the hackles of Fleur Pellerin, France’s junior minister for digital economy. Speaking to Le Monde, Pellerin called Apple’s decision a “brutal disengagement.”

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According to All Things D, Apple removed AppGratis from the App Store for violating several app developer guidelines. One of these guidelines was clause 2.25, which states, “Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.” AppGratis’ app-discovery business model is to promote paid apps by offering them for free for one day.

Interestingly, Apple’s decision to ban AppGratis came only a few days after it had approved its upgraded app for the iPad. Simon Dawlat, the CEO of AppGratis, claims Apple refuses to discuss the ban reports John Koetsier at Venture Beat. Via Venture Beat, Dawlat states, “It is important to me and my team that we clarify what happened. It is absolutely untrue that there were discussions between AppGratis and Apple in advance of our App being removed from Apple’s platform. The first communication from Apple we received was an email sent to us after our App had been removed”…

Noting that the French are second only to the United States in producing apps for mobile devices, Pellerin rhetorically asks via Le Monde, “What is the sense in investing, if overnight, the economic model is jeopardized by a unilateral decision? This is an issue of fair trade relations.” Pellerin may have been referring to the fact that AppGratis had recently raised $13.5 million in funding in anticipation of a growing demand for its apps through Apple’s App Store, reports Venture Beat.

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On its website, AppGratis declares it is “Changing the face of app discovery.” However, it appears it will also have to change its business model built on paid recommendations if it ever wants to show its face in Apple’s App Store again.

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