Another App bites the dust: Box Office/Now Playing

Another App bites the dust: Box Office/Now Playing

Summary: Last week Apple pulled iPhone tethering application NetShare from the App Store without explanation (it's since been posted and removed again) and this week another – less controversial – application has bee pulled without explanation.Over the weekend I was comparing iPhone apps with some friends who were visiting from out of town and when someone suggested seeing a movie I quickly brought up one of my favorite iPhone apps – Box Office (since renamed "Now Playing).

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Another App bites the dust: Box Office/Now Playing

Last week Apple pulled iPhone tethering application NetShare from the App Store without explanation (it's since been posted and removed again) and this week another – less controversial – application has bee pulled without explanation.

Over the weekend I was comparing iPhone apps with some friends who were visiting from out of town and when someone suggested seeing a movie I quickly brought up one of my favorite iPhone apps – Box Office (since renamed "Now Playing). Box Office is one of my Top 10 free iPhone applications because it's incredibly useful for finding movie times, trailers and reviews that are near me. After showing it to my friends, they couldn't find it on the App Store.

A post on the MacRumors forums by developer Metasyntactic says that they weren't notified or given a reason for the removal:

Apple pulled the app yesterday without giving my any notification that they were doing it, or what their justification was for removing it.

I’ve tried to contact them about the issue, but it’s been a complete dead end. If anyone has a useful contact number for apple, please let me know.

I’m in regular contact with all my data providers, and none of them have had an issue with my app. Indeed, the response was the exact opposite. They like my app and have even asked if i would do custom application work for them in the future. Furthermore, all the data i use is licensed by the owners as ‘free for non commercial use’. i.e. precisely what BoxOffice is.

So i’m stuck here not knowing what has happened, or what i can do about it. If any of you have any ideas, please let me know. You can respond here, but i’d actually appreciate a reply at cyrusn @ stwing.upenn.edu since i probably won’t check back here that often.

A post on Metasyntactic's Google Code page states:

I'm currently investigating why Now Playing/BoxOffice was pulled from the app store. Hopefully i'll get some actionable information soon.

There has been a lot of anger and brouhaha over this recently. However, i'd ask those who seem to be trying to fan the flames to back down a bit. This event happened late last week, and i'd at least like to give this a few business days for things to work through normal channels. It's possible that this was nothing more than a glitch/mistake, and going off half-cocked probably won't help things at all.

I appreciate all the support that people have been sending my way, and i hope a positive solution will be forthcoming very soon.

Hopefully this gets resolved soon and Apple gives its developers a better feedback on their App Store removal policies.(Image: bbGadgets)

Topics: Apps, Apple, iPhone, Smartphones

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17 comments
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  • Still think...

    ...Apple having complete control over application distribution is a good thing?
    Sleeper Service
    • If it becomes a bad thing to enough people

      iPhone sales will drop and it will end. As some people like to
      point out as often as they can, the iPhone is a drop in the ocean
      of cell phones.
      frgough
    • Complete control? Really?

      Please, any of you geniuses out there, inform me: can an iPhone app be posted and downloaded from a website other than Apple's?

      Another question: does a website owner have an absolute right as to what content may be displayed or downloaded from that site?

      Suppose, for example, Apple does not want an iPhone porn downloader to be available from its site. Or, a how to blow up the world application. Or, a how to distribute a computer virus app. Etc. etc.

      Would you grant Apple the right to keep such apps off its site?
      godsfault
      • Why is it Apple's business what you install

        on your phone?
        You paid for it, right? Last time I checked porn is not illegal, so if you want porn on your iPhone then get porn on your iPhone.

        But hey, if you like having Big Brother telling you what to do more power to you!
        tikigawd
        • You are "begging the question."

          tikigawd:

          Your response begs the question. To restate it simply: does a website owner have the right to include or exclude legal content from his site?
          godsfault
          • Freedom demands an answer...

            If you believe in freedom, then OF COURSE people have the right to control what is on their own website!

            However if you are one of the seemingly growing group of fascists... you most likely think that one should not have such control over their own property. Did I say "their property"?... it's now the State's property, so you should just stop even thinking about what you might hope to have on "your" website anymore.
            Tantumonium
  • RE: Another App bites the dust: Box Office/Now Playing

    Wow, at least MS just tries to make sure i't apps wont work with other apps, rather than just not allowing them to install..
    chromeronin
    • I must have missed the start of this thread

      Where has someone seen evidence that box office was
      pulled because it competes with an Apple offering? What
      apple offering are they thinking of?

      Get serious people! The developer is not posting outraged
      letters because they understand exactly why Apple pulled
      their application down and it had nothing to do with
      competition. Seriously, I hear people saying that apple is
      not forth coming enough with information. It has been just
      over a week sense the first application was pulled and we
      have an explanation for that (not that anyone needed one)
      Of the other 4 applications 1 was essentially
      spam/scamware, 1 is being re-written to deal with copy-
      write issues, another (totally useless app) was pulled for
      being inappropriate (the only questionable pull of the
      bunch but no loss) and finally box office which I'm sure in
      the next couple days we will have a reason for.

      In contrast there are a number of notes, calendar, to do,
      calculator, weather, stock, IM, and even maps applications
      that directly compete with apple's built in applications.
      None of which are being held back.

      So go push your anit-apple agenda to someone who
      doesn't now better.
      puggsly
  • RE: Another App bites the dust: Box Office/Now Playing

    If your application happens to provide a more useful service than applications that Apple already provide or might complete with an apple service, then your application will be pulled from the store.
    Thankyou for playing PC Monopoly.
    chromeronin
    • Because of course we all know

      that every store carries nothing but iPhones, it is illegal to buy
      anything but an iPhone and the Apple security forces will break
      down your door at 3 AM to raid your home for the presence of
      non-iPhone products.

      Thank you for playing "Tinfoil hat conspiracy Theory"
      frgough
      • Semantics

        I assume your reaction was to the monopoly quip. I would like to point out that nothing you listed is required for a monopoly to exist.
        laura.b
      • It has nothing to do with legality

        It just shows that Apple just wants to milk the money out of you (by forcing you to buy certain Apps) instead of really giving you freedom to use whatever you want on the phone.

        And they do it just like any other nickel-and-dimer out there.

        So much for the benevolent Apple the zealots love to death.
        tikigawd
  • So now Apple is controlling what applications you can buy...

    That's the last straw for me. The Samsung Instinct it is...
    BitTwiddler
  • Iphone hype will be over soon

    Apple is pushing itself out of the market. No MMS, No
    modem driver to go on line with MAC or PC, No this, no that
    and that all to please ONE carries in the US who is left behind
    by the rest of the world a decade ago. As soon as there is an
    touch device with a decent interface available I drop the
    iphone. The fact that you can not synchronize agenda's
    online is another absurdity. Exchange for the rest of us??? No
    exchange for Apple
    rhon1
  • RE: Another App bites the dust: Box Office/Now Playing

    So, you think the iPhone's days are numbered. Are you naive or merely so much a techie that you can't understand the AVERAGE consumer's love of Apple's products.

    I wonder if you also predicted the imminent demise of the iPod or Apple Computer (now "Inc.") itself.

    The truth is is that the overwhelming majority of Apple's customers don't read threads like this one, and they don't care about technical features they neither understand nor, even, need.
    godsfault
    • Why the iPhone's days are numbered...

      Regardless of the app store issues, which are troubling, or the MobileMe glitches, which are even more troubling, I will not be buying an iPhone now or in the foreseeable future for one reason... AT&T.

      Apple's exclusive link with one of the worst cell phone providers is a total deal killer for me. I had AT&T and after two years of having no signal at my home in San Francisco or my office in San Mateo (duh, two major cities in the area) I decided that having a cell phone provider who could not provide service where I spent 90% of my time was useless.

      Ironically, on a visit to Cupertino, where Apple is located that very same AT&T cell phone also could not get a signal.

      When Apple provides a cell phone that works with a carrier that provides reliable service in the area where they are physically located, I might reconsider, but until then they apparently don't have any interest in actually providing "phone" service on the iPhone.
      bohannjn
  • Why this one and not others?

    There are other apps that are still out there that do the same thing, so why is this one being tageted? I see Movies.app and Showtimes along with another (iWant) that will find you a little more than just a movie. Apple needs to communicate with the community about why these apps are being pulled. This is bad PR folks.
    12gram