Apple has rejected yet another application, Cambox, a quick and easy way to post your photos straight to Dropbox, from the App Store owing to the fact that “if the user does not have Dropbox application [sic] installed then the linking authorisation is done through Safari”.
This all sounds well and good but the developer goes on to say:
Once the user is in Safari it is possible for the user to click ‘Desktop version’ and navigate to a place on Dropbox site where it is possible to purchase additional space.
This circumvention of the App Store as a means of purchasing additional storage (i.e. a subscription) is frowned upon by Apple and therefore blocked by the App Store Review Guidelines, where no “external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions” are permitted. Apple’s official rejection notes for Cambox pointed out to the fact that it allows the user to create accounts with Dropbox and Google and although this doesn’t seem a problem to most people, the fact that people could sign up to Dropbox account then pay for more space is really the thorn in Apple’s side.
There is no clear guidance in the official App Store Review Guidelines on this matter, and indeed it seems like a bit of a grey area, but Apple seem to seeing the whole situation in that people signing up to a Dropbox account straight from the app could in turn sign up for extra storage, a subscription service. Why Apple would want to heavily restrict this is beyond most people, though. Maybe they are afraid of losing out on revenue (as they would most certainly take a cut out of subscription revenue, just like revenue from app purchases) or maybe they want to simplify the whole process and have subscriptions exclusively running through the App Store, and not via other websites.
The issue has raised concerns about whether Apple is controlling developers too strictly and of course, we here at Mac AppStorm would love to hear your comments on this. Have you had apps rejected from the App Store because they violate Apple’s terms and conditions? Do you think Apple are being too controlling on the entire app development cycle? Or is this carrying on Steve Jobs’ vision of having almost exclusive control over their products?
Share your thoughts and opinions in the Comments section below!
After speaking to the developer, the problem has now been resolved. Apparently, the Dropbox SDK (software development kit) was causing apps to be blocked from the App Store due to the circumvention as described above. Cambox is now live and on the App Store for your enjoyment!