Apple Rejects More Dropbox-Related Apps

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”.

Cambox

Cambox has been rejected owing to a circumvention of the App Store in the app, which is forbidden by Apple.

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!

Update

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!


  • http://www.adnx.com adnX

    Apple rejected our xTwin 2.0 app only because the app had a button to visit xSpace website (online storage service with subscription).

    We talked with Apple and they said it’s forbidden to have such button inside an app. It’s very silly but we removed it. So the version sold at our store have buttons, not the version sold at the Mac App Store.

    1984 : Apple invented the button
    2012 : Apple forbids buttons

  • Micha

    I think Apple is a ‘bit’ too strict.

    Should the developers sell In-App-Purchase for Dropbox space?

  • Sigilist

    This tyrranical nonsense, reminiscent of THX-1138, is exactly why I don’t shop the AppStore anymore… along with it being the WalMart of the internet that has killed off more private developer sites with direct purchase than Microsoft ever did.

    Two thumbs down on this nonsense, that when using an app that can connect to some other service it can’t do so to directly expand that service without Apple getting a cut. Talk about the biggest parasite on the internet!

  • http://sethrattan.com Seth

    Apple has every right to be this restrictive — they built to phones and computers, wrote the software, and they’re even on their way to building all their own processors — but whether or not it’s a good idea to do so is an open question. My guess is that it’s a not about direct subscription revenue. Apple views the Dropbox API as competition for the iCloud API (specifically syncing an App’s files and preferences). Moreover, Apple has specifically pointed out in the past that syncing via Dropbox or similar services does not sandbox an app’s data (from access by other apps) the way iCloud does.

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