• Inside The App Approval Process with Phil Schiller

    If you missed it, this weekend a fascinating interview was published with Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller. This morning, MacRumors is covering the conversation in some detail.

    Defending the App Store and its controversial app approval process, Schiller served up some insight on a bizarre pattern of seemingly hypocritical rejections and approvals that have confounded many developers and forced some to wash their hands of Apple altogether.

    "We've built a store for the most part that people can trust. You and your family and friends can download applications from the store, and for the most part they do what you'd expect, and they get onto your phone, and you get billed appropriately, and it all just works."
    That much is true. For consumers, the app store - much like all things Apple - work extraordinary well and efficiently. But the App Store is ultimately only as good as the thoughtful, clever apps of the world's best and most inspired developers. And, right now, many of those developers want answers about the internal workings of the app approval process.

    Most are approved and some are sent back to the developer. In about 90% of those cases, Apple requests technical fixes—usually for bugs in the software or because something doesn't work as expected, Schiller says. Developers are generally glad to have this safety net because usually Apple's review process finds problems they actually want to fix, he says.
    Incredibly, up to 10% of the time when an app is sent back, its a result of the app presenting or being based upon "inappropriate" content. From attempting to steal personal data to putting forward material unsuitable by community standards, Schiller reports that numerous apps are submitted and quickly rejected for patently endeavoring in some capacity to break or violate known laws. One example given is an app that helps gamblers cheat at casinos.

    "We had to go study state and international laws about what's legal and what isn't, and what legal exposure that creates for Apple or the customer," Schiller says. The verdict: Apps that help a user learn how to play are O.K.; those designed to help a person cheat don't make the cut.
    Overall, Schiller gives the approximate rundown on rejections:

    • 90% of rejections result from technical errors or bugs
    • 10% of rejections are caused by illegal or inappropriate content.

    And less than 1% of app rejections are reportedly caused by applications that fall into a "legal gray area" requiring further investigating and potentially legal counsel before such an app can be permitted to enter the App Store.

    To check out more of Phil Schiller's interview with BusinessWeek, click here.

    Image via BusinessWeek
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