Apple is surprised that developers take issue with its app review process

Tells the ACCC it works with developers to ensure all apps on the Apple App Store are of a certain quality.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Apple has told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) it is surprised to hear that developers have legitimate concerns about their ability to engage with Apple in the app review process.

The iPhone maker said the purpose of app reviews is to ensure the quality of apps on the App Store. It said it invests significant time and resources in engaging with developers directly to work together to achieve that goal.

"App Review is the human-led process of reviewing apps submitted to the App Store to ensure they are reliable, perform as expected, respect user privacy, and are free of objectionable content," Apple said in a submission [PDF] to the ACCC as part of its Digital Platform Services Inquiry.

"Apple reviews 73% of prospective apps within 24 hours of being submitted by a developer."

See also: Apple developers targeted by new malware, EggShell backdoor

If it rejects an app, Apple said it tells the developer the reason for the rejection; the specific App Store Review Guidelines that were not complied with; and a description of why the guidelines were not complied with, by reference to the operation of the app.

"The main purpose of the App Review process is to protect consumers from fraudulent, nonfunctioning, malicious, or scam apps," Apple continued. "Central to the App Review process is the protection of our consumers' privacy and security. That is why the App Review process is iterative and some apps may require multiple rounds of submission before Apple is satisfied the app meets all of the guidelines."

The app store practices of Apple and Google are under the microscope by the ACCC as part of its digital platforms probe.

Currently, app developers are not able to publish and distribute an app on an Apple mobile device without using the Apple App Store. Developers who offer "in-app" features, add-ons, or upgrades are required to use Apple's payment system, rather than an alternative system.

Apple also charges a commission of up to 30% to developers on the value of these transactions or any time a consumer buys their app. It did reduce this in November for some under its new offering, the App Store Small Business Program, which slices commission in half to 15%. 


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