Apple has told a tiny mobile software developer that its application cannot be included in the iPhone App Store if it mentions Google Android.
Flash of Genius offers a mobile app aimed at students preparing for their college entrance exams. "Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab" debuted on the iPhone, and at the end of last year, a version was introduced for Android as well.
The app's Android incarnation was recently named as a finalist in Google’s Android Developer Challenge, and when it came time to submit an updated app to Apple's iPhone App Store, Flash of Genius mentioned this simple fact in the product's description.
But as the startup announced yesterday in a blog post, Steve Jobs and company did not respond well to this updated description. Apple soon sent an email telling the startup that the description contained "inappropriate or irrelevant platform information."
"Providing future platform compatibility plans or other general platform references are not relevant in the context of the iPhone App Store," the email read. "While your application has not been rejected, it would be appropriate to remove 'Finalist in Google’s Android Developer’s Challenge!' from the Application Description."
Per usual, Apple is using its own definition of rejected. "Please log into iTunes Connect to make appropriate changes to the Application Description now," Apple's email continues, "to avoid an interruption in the availability of Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab 2.2 on the iPhone App Store."
Flash of Genius has complied. And founder Tim Novikoff tells The Reg he was happy to comply since the App Store accounts for the vast majority of its revenue. But he did so with some regret. Novikoff argues that the mention helped put his application among the App Store's top sellers.