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So much for Apple’s open application environment

The App Store iconImage via Wikipedia

Wouldn’t it be nice to use the mobile network connection of your iPhone to connect your laptop to the Internet? After all, you can do it with most other handsets. Enter Nullriver Inc with its incredibly useful NetShare application, available for just $9.99 from the Apple App Store. There’s also a helpful guide to it on the Apple Insider site.

Enter Apple, with its free and open Apps Store, offering to open up the world to developers, and give then 70% of the application price in the process. The only rule: they won’t sell offensive or pornographic applications. Fair deal, we all thought. But Nullriver has just discovered that it’s not so fair after all, after Apple pulled the application from its store. If you didn’t buy it in the minutes it was up there on Thursday night, then you’ve missed the boat.

“We’re not quite sure why Apple took down the NetShare application yet, we’ve received no communication from Apple thus far,” said the company on its website. “NetShare did not violate any of the Developer or AppStore agreements. We’re hoping we’ll get some feedback from Apple today. Sorry to all the folks that couldn’t get it in time. We’ll do our best to try to get the application back onto the AppStore if at all possible.”

Well, it’s still not there. TelecomTV has failed to speak to a human being within Apple’s PR machine about this matter, but we’ll keep trying.

The big question is; was it Apple who pulled the app, or it’s exclusive US operator partner, AT&T? NetShare is best described as a “tethering application”, useful for laptop users who don’t have dedicated 3G data cards and service whilst traveling (such as me, for example). Did AT&T choke on the prospect of giving away more of its new 3G bandwidth for no extra cost? Either way, this is bang out of order. You’ll notice the words “open application environment” in the header of this post; I use these words to describe the inclusive nature of App Store, allowing everyone to take part. But it’s far from being open in the traditional mobile ecosystem sense of the word; with Apple controlling the distribution of applications 100%.

You want ease of use, nice clean interfaces, low costs, wide range of content? Well, you had better be prepared for an equal measure of control, oversight, censorship and interference. If Apple and its partners don’t want you to have something, then you ain’t gonna get it!

Of course, you could work around not having a dedicated application. Into Mobile posted such a guide recently, but you’ll have to jailbreak your phone first — which is not for everyone. And so we await a statement from Apple…. but don’t hold your breath. Remember Apple’s IBM Big Brother Ads? How things change…

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Monday, 4 August 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment