Apple's Schiller defends app approval process; misses the point

Apple comes to the defense of its app approval process but misses the point about what has developers frustrated most.

Apple VP Phil Schiller is coming to the defense of his company's process for approving - or rejecting - apps submitted for its iPhone and iPod Touch. In an interview with Business Week, he talks about how some apps are inappropriate, how some cross legal boundaries that could potentially put Apple at risk and others are just simply buggy. (Techmeme)

But that's not the issue at-hand. Approvals aren't a bad thing - at least at this point in time, given how new the marketplace is. While the Business Week piece offers some insight as to why some apps are rejected or approved, it doesn't offer much insight into the process that happens behind the scenes.

No, I'm not asking for proprietary information on how it's done but rather the sequence of events around the process and a estimated timeline for approval or rejection. That would directly address the biggest complaint among developers lately - the inconsistency in approval of apps and the stuck-in-perpetual-limbo status that some find themselves in. The developers just need updates. They're simply saying, "Hey, if the app is buggy, send it back so we can fix it." Or if it's inappropriate, slap a rejection stamp on it, along with an explanation, and move on.

Also see: Apple's app approval revolt: Will it matter? Maybe

If Apple wants to keep this sort of control over apps and grow its app store marketplace, it's going to need to beef up its quality assurance department and kick that approval process into high gear, with some clear-cut policies and an established procedure for submissions and appeals.

I'm no developer so I can't speak directly about the frustrations with the process. If there are policies and procedures already in place, they seem to be flawed. Developers are squawking and that's something Apple needs to address because it eventually could become a problem.

When it comes to mobile app platforms, the competition is heating up. Android is entering the scene hard and fast with devices and an app store of its own. Schiller is right to defend the process as it relates to reasons for rejection and approval.

But it sounds like Apple's app store quality assurance team needs a quality assurance team of its own, something that spots defects in the process and works on fixing them.