How Apple is Thwarting Enterprise iPhone App Development

Apple's control-freak behavior means that that none of its products are well-suited for use in the enterprise. And it's rapidly becoming apparent that the iron grip the company maintains on the App Store is making it totally unsuitable as a market place for enterprise iPhone apps.

That's because when it comes to the App Store, what's good for consumers is not good for business users of Apple's iPhone, and the App Store is primarily aimed at consumers. That should come as no surprise: Apple is a consumer gadget maker that does no more than dabble in the enterprise market to pick up a little extra revenue. This means Apple's looking after consumer users' interests, not the interests of business users.

Apart from a less than slick design, the App Store is obviously a treasure trove for consumers. As a one-stop shop for all their iPhone needs, it's a phenomenal success. At last count there were over 12 billion apps available, and, over 10 trillion are downloaded every month. I'm being facetious, but you know what I mean -- the numbers are staggering and continue to grow at a rapid clip outpacing all the competitors.

All this success comes from the combination of Apple's marketing skills and its brilliant "There's an app for that" campaign. And developers, naturally, want to write for the platform and device that's most popular, so the cycle perpetuates, keeping the App Store as the preeminent mobile mini-program storefront.

Let's contrast the App Store with Ovi Store, the rather bizarrely named equivalent to the mobile marketplace for users of Nokia's range of smartphones. Don't forget that Nokia is the market leader in the smartphone arena on a worldwide basis, with a market share many times larger than Apple's, despite its struggles to gain traction in the U.S. Still, a perusal of the Ovi store shows a paltry choice of a few hundred apps for most phones, and some of them look like they were written in the 1930s. Ovi Store is a sad and lonely place, and you wouldn't be surprised if a tumbleweed rolled across the screen as you wander around it.

OK. Back to the App Store. It's a phenomenal success, yadda, yadda, yadda. But the first cracks in the happy, live-the-Apple-dream facade are beginning to show. In the past few months there's been a number of high-profile defections: app developers who can no longer stand Apple's Big Brother control over what can and can't appear in the App Store.

Joe Hewitt, developer of the Facebook iPhone app, recently threw in the towel in disgust at what he sees as Apple's tyranny. Talking to Techcrunch, he said: "My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple's policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process."

The review process Hewitt refers to is the lengthy procedure that apps have to undergo before Apple approves them for distribution. Apps have to comply with Apple's rules, but many complain that they are enforced in an unpredictable, inconsistent and arbitrary way.

TAGS:

developer, iphone apps, Apple, mobile apps, mobile enterprise
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