16 Dec 2008 - Münster (by Dominik)

fruux and the "Desktop AppStore"

Months ago we submitted fruux to Apples' Software Download Page, but yesterday we got the notice (on request) that they won't publish fruux:

Hi, fruux's feature-set is too similar to Apple's MobileMe (http://www.me.com). Regards, Apple Downloads http://www.apple.com/downloads/

That kind of raises the question if it makes sense to put more work into our iPhone client. They even rejected our desktop app, so probably they will also reject our iPhone client. So allocating resources (time, money, sleepless nights, ...) to our iPhone client is kind of a gamble if they reject it. Apple really has to fix this random rejection policy - especially because there are several sync applications both on the Apple Downloads Page and in the AppStore.

Update 2008-12-17

We just recieved another Email from Cupertino (we asked, why they rejected our listing, but listed several other sync applications):

Hi, Those applications are restricted to syncing calendars (including Google calendars, which MobileMe does not do). fruux's feature set has more parity with MobileMe in that it also syncs addresses and bookmarks. Regards, Apple Downloads http://www.apple.com/downloads/

It looks like this is "not entirely appropiate".

  • It's wrong that those apps only sync iCal, some of them also sync contacts

Some random thoughts:

  • fruux is all about social syncing (that kind of differenciates fruux from MobileMe!?!)
  • Will Apple also ban Microsoft Messenger for similarities with iChat?
  • Or Firefox for similarities with Safari?
  • Should we continue working on our iPhone client?

Additionally we'd like to add some thoughts to an excellent write-up (AppStore, crappy ringtone apps, serious development, ...) by Craig Hockenberry:

  • Developing a product (including software) means investing (time, money, resources)
  • Apples "rejection policy" is "not entirely" clear, sometimes they even reject apps for using private apis, which in fact don't use private apis
  • Developing a product which is undistributable (because it's rejected from the AppStore) is like investing your (time/money/resources) at a roulette desk in a casino and betting on the wrong number.
  • There must be many great apps that are not even developed, because the developers can't afford this rejection lottery!?

Update 2008-12-18

We just recieved another email from Cupertino, which sounds like good news.

Hi, Once distinguishing features (such as Social Syncing) are implemented and out of beta in fruux, we can certainly take another look. Regards, Apple Downloads http://www.apple.com/downloads/

The iPhone development gamble problem (see above) stays the same, but at least it is not entirely hopeless. We'll still change our roadmap and focus on Mac development first before we continue working on our iPhone client.

About Dominik

Dominik started fruux back in 2007. He's a lawyer that writes code and has Amazon subscriptions for stuff that normal people buy in the supermarket. Follow him on Twitter or contact him via e-mail.

fruux is a free service that looks after your contacts, calendars and tasks so you don't have to. It makes sure that they are always in sync, no matter which device or operating system you're using. If you've not tried it yet, then why not check us out and let us know what you think! And if you're already using fruux, then we'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. You can also suggest a feature for any upcoming releases or tweet us: @fruux.