French minister responds to Apple's 'brutal' removal of AppGratis

Apple acted 'unilaterally and without explanation'

French minister responds to Apple's 'brutal' removal of AppGratis
France's digital industry minister Fleur Pellerin has called on Apple to "behave ethically" following its removal of AppGratis from the App Store.

Pellerin referred to Apple's action against the French start up as "extremely brutal," and claimed that the Cupertino firm had acted "unilaterally and without explanation."

"This isn't virtuous and dignified behaviour for a company of that scale," Pellerin added, before explaining that her comments were intended to encourage Apple into a negotiation with AppGratis.

Pull a fast one

Apple removed AppGratis from the App Store on Friday 5 April, and has since claimed that the application breached clauses 2.25 and 5.6 of the App Store Review Guidelines.

The first forbids apps that might be mistaken for app stores themselves, while the latter bans the use of push notifications as marketing.

AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat claims that Apple approved an iPad version of his application just days before pulling AppGratis from the App Store – taking Dawlat and his colleagues completely by surprise.

Reuters reports that this incident has prompted Fleur Pellerin to state her plans to ask the European Commission for tighter regulation of digital platforms such as the App Store.

Versions of events

In fact, when Reuters reporters working on this story reached out to Apple for comment, they were told by a representative that Apple "had had a discussion with AppGratis before removing it from its platform and that the company had disregarded its technical specifications."

This statement seems to directly contradict AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat's recollection of events, however.

"A few days after Apple had approved our latest iPad version, a new app review team member named R., who no one on my team had ever had contact with before, came pretty much out of the blue and after trying to call me three times without being able to get hold of me (I was on a plane), decided to pull out our apps."

[source: Financial Times and Reuters]
Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013