May 3, 2012
Dropbox Apps Removed From App Store
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
You don´t get to be one of the best companies in the world by being nice. When Apple announced their App Store subscription feature to iOS developers last year, they gave users the ability to subscribe to magazines and newspapers from within an app. In doing so, Apple also made any company hand over a 30% cut of each subscription made within the app. Apple also said any subscription must be made within the app, meaning a publication couldn´t take users from the app into the Safari web browser to sign up for a subscription behind Apple´s back.
It seems Dropbox forgot about this guideline when releasing their latest SDK, as developers have been having their Dropbox-friendly apps rejected by Apple this week.
A typical rejection from Apple reads this way:
"We have found your app provides access to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. Specifically, this app contains a link that takes the user to Dropbox via Safari.”
Boasting more than 50 million users, many people use Dropbox for their cloud-based needs. Dropbox offers an entry level account with 2GB of storage for free with paid subscriptions available offering larger amounts of storage. These apps in question provided a link to Dropbox´s site to sign up for an account. This link would then take users from the initial app into Safari, thus violating Apple´s In App subscription guidelines. A developer identified as Goran Daemon P. had his iOS app rejected by the App Store for including the external Dropbox support. He wrote on Dropbox´s forums, "Once the user is in Safari, it is possible for the user to click 'Desktop version' and navigate to a place on Dropbox's site where it is possible to purchase additional space," he wrote. "Apple views this as 'sending user to an additional purchase' which is against rules."
Dropbox tried removing the link to their desktop version from the SDK in attempts to appease the App Store approval process, but to no avail. Dropbox has now posted an older version of their SDK on their site as a temporary work-around. Dropbox has now said they are working with Apple to find a solution to this problem. In a statement to AppleInsider, a spokesperson for Dropbox said, “We´re working with Apple to come up with a solution that still provides an elegant user experience.”
Dropbox is a popular cloud-based service which syncs a folder on a user´s desktop with a folder in the cloud, allowing devices such as iPhone and iPad to have access to these files anywhere. When Apple first opened up the App Store, many began using Dropbox as a way to get around the iPhone´s lack of a file system.
Apple and Dropbox have had minor run-ins before. In 2009, Steve Jobs reportedly offered Dropbox founder Drew Houston a nine-figure sum to buy the startup. After Houston and his partner declined, he warned them Apple would be introducing their own cloud option. iCloud was released last June, and while it doesn´t work exactly like Dropbox, it does provide seamless syncing across multiple Apple devices.