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AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat shocked but defiant over Apple's decision to 'destroy so much value within its own ecosystem'

AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat shocked but defiant over Apple's decision to 'destroy so much value within its own ecosystem'
It's been a shocking week for AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat.

He was travelling to Brazil when the news broke that Apple had pulled all his company's apps from the App Store.

"I turned on my iPhone after an exhausting 12-hour redeye from Paris, only to receive notifications for over 75 missed calls, and a seemingly infinite flow of unread text messages," he says on the company blog explaining the situation.

Deeper and down

But the situation was only going to get worse.

As he states, over the years, AppGratis has worked closely with Apple - he highlights two unnamed app review team members for their diligence - over its ever changing terms and conditions.

Indeed, as Dawlat got onto his flight, AppGratis' new iPad app had been reviewed and passed by the review team and was about to go live.

Then a new app review team member arrived on the scene...

Mystery man

It's clear this unnamed individual is senior to the others AppGratis had been working with at Apple. 

Apparently, s/he tried to call Dawlat three times while he was on the plane, and then decided to pull its apps from the App Store for violating clause 2.25 about apps that look like app stores, and 5.6 about the use of push notifications.

Dawlat's since been back in contact with the company's original Apple app review members, but they just repeat what's already been said.

"I'm still in absolute shock as to what is happening to us," Dawlatt explains.

What's next

Of course, what's interesting about the situation is that AppGratis' apps are still working for the 12 million iOS users who have already download them so, to some degree, its day-to-day business of app promotion continues.

But clearly the company, which recently closed at $13.5 million VC round, has a big strategic decision to make about its future.

"And that is pretty much where we stand, still stunned that Apple took the decision to destroy so much value within their own ecosystem, but more than ever convinced that what we're doing is good, and accomplishing a much needed mission in a broken App Discovery world," Dawlat ends.

"But even in dark times, every problem has a solution. And we are going to find one.

"More announcements will come very soon."

You can read Dawlat's full statement on the AppGratis blog.

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.

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Fraser Ross MacInnes Product/Design Director at Danke Games
While I'm sympathetic to companies that have the rug pulled out from under them in this way and I'm no fan of Apple's black box approach to running the app store, I still think the entire area of discovery is a dead end.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - discovery is a not a user problem, it's a developer/publisher problem. Users have no trouble finding enough content that they are interested in. Supply and demand need to exist at opposite ends of the chain for the economics to work - if the demand for discovery services comes from the people supplying the content into the market, there will never be a way to build a long-term scalable business on top of that.
Sozdar Dusky
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