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Marketers Scramble As Apple Changes App Rules - Again

Apple is clamping down on so-called cookie cutter apps - that is apps that are de facto RSS feeds or "glorified business cards". In other words, the type of low-level apps that many brands and marketers have put out to reach the millions of iPhone customers.

Apple is not targeting the app generator companies necessarily, TechCrunch reports.  "In short, Apple doesn't want people using native applications for things that a basic web app could accomplish."

Another report from Mobile Roadie - now taken down - supports this news, according to Tap Swipe Pinch.

Mobile Roadie founder Michael Schneider wrote about the company getting a phone call from Apple, Tap Swipe Pinch said. According to the post, "an Apple representative contacted Mobile Roadie and informed them that ‘cookie cutter’ apps which do little more than pull feeds from web sites or reproduce websites with webviews will no longer be accepted in The App Store," the post said.

Working with Developers

The Mobile Roadie post also mentioned that Apple will be imposing further guidelines on certain industries, but offered no specifics only stating that 'we’re [Mobile Roadie] already working on the features requested,' "implying that the details of the guidelines were given to Mobile Roadie," the post concluded.

Apple isn’t completely shutting the door on developers, TechCrunch agreed.

Apple is discussing with developers ways for their apps to add value - and thus keep them in Apple’s good graces. The founders of Appmakr, which has developed iPhone apps for such publications as the Atlantic, said that it is integrating new features like in-app purchases, instant notifications, offline access, and landscape viewing modes to their app templates after discussions with Apple, according to TechCrunch.

Targeting Geo-Targeting

This is not the first time Apple has taken developers by surprise with new rules or requirements that impact marketers. Last month, Apple changed its Core Location services policy, which allows iPhone app developers to access the iPhone's GPS, cell radio, and Wi-Fi systems to determine the current location of the handset.

Developers were told they could employ the technology only if it improves the app - and not just for the sole purpose of being able to better target promotions.

A One-Sided Developer License Agreement

Companies chaffing at Apple’s sometimes heavy-handed ways had better get used to it, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says in a blog post.

The EFF recently got a copy of Apple’s iPhone Developer Program License Agreement through a FOIA request after NASA developed its own app.  Overall, the Agreement is a very one-sided contract, favoring Apple at every turn, the EFF , which also published the agreement, said. “That's not unusual where end-user license agreements are concerned - and not all the terms may ultimately be enforceable - but it's a bit of a surprise as applied to the more than 100,000 developers for the iPhone, including many large public companies.

“If Apple's mobile devices are the future of computing, you can expect that future to be one with more limits on innovation and competition …than the PC era that came before. It's frustrating to see Apple, the original pioneer in generative computing, putting shackles on the market it (for now) leads.”

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