Former Apple Engineer Claims the Company Is Violating Its Own App Store Rules

Apple News Plus Credit: The Mac Observer
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An ex-Apple software engineer is accusing one of Apple’s new services of violating the company’s own App Store developer guidelines.

Dave DeLong, who worked at Apple for seven years, tweeted a complaint earlier this week about the new Apple News+ sign-up screen.

Specifically, DeLong said doesn’t contain any privacy policy or support page links and doesn’t provide any information on cancellation. Specifically, DeLong is alleging that Apple is violating section 3.1.2 of its App Store guidelines.

And the criticism isn’t just coming from DeLong. The Verge is also claiming that Apple is breaking its own App Store rules by not making Apple News+’s pricing text large enough.

“Typically, Apple protects users from recurring fees by requiring developers to make those numbers so large on the screen that it’s painfully obvious what you’re getting into,” The Verge’s Sean Hollister wrote.

Apple’s self-recurring subscription guidelines maintain that the billable amount must be “the most prominent pricing element” in the purchase flow layout. Those same guidelines also state that developers should include a link to a platform’s privacy policy.

Additional sign-up screens for Apple News+ do state the price and they also make it clear that users can cancel anytime. But it’s worth noting that they don’t clearly indicate how long the free trial is.

This isn’t the first time that Apple has gotten flack for seemingly violating the rules it places on other developers. Last year, Apple push notifications stirred up a bit of controversy because they were breaking the company’s rule against using notifications for advertising, promotions or direct marketing.

Of course, it’s worth noting that these guidelines were created by Apple for third-party developers. Because Apple’s own apps don’t need to go through the App Review process, they don’t technically need to abide by those guidelines. Similarly, many Apple apps come preinstalled and some may argue that they aren’t part of the App Store’s ecosystem.

DeLong, for his part, said he was “honestly surprised” that Apple hasn’t been sued over what he claims is a double standard.

Apple has also been in the spotlight recently for alleged anticompetitive behavior concerning the App Store. Earlier this month, Spotify filed a complaint in Europe accusing the Cupertino tech giant of unfairly treating third-party developers on the app storefront.

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