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Apple bars Danish Android magazine from App Store

updated 08:10 pm EST, Fri November 26, 2010

"Eye Candy" models also a problem for publishers

Apple has rejected a "magazine" app from Danish publisher Mediaprovider because the content was exclusively about Android, the rival mobile OS to Apple's own iOS -- reinforcing charges that Apple's censorship is heavy-handed, arbitrary and in some cases hypocritical -- in fact, a magazine app from the Netherlands called Androidworld Reader is already available on the App Store. While the App Store features dozens of magazines that have some discussion of other mobile operating systems in them -- Wired's popular iPad app being a prime example -- the fact that Android Magasinet is devoted exclusively to Google's smartphone OS was cited as the deciding factor, says publisher Brian Dixen.

Where Apple can -- or should -- draw the line has been a hotly-debated question since the App Store first opened. For example, the App Store bars all forms of nudity, even when the intent is clearly not sexual. European attitudes on the human form, generally very relaxed compared to those of the US, result in advertising and other uses of nudity having to be edited out of anything offered on the App Store. However, "educational" sexual apps are not only allowed, but are frequently at the top of the best-selling polls and thus inadvertently "featured" by the App Store. The company "purged" some 5,000 sexually suggestive apps from the App Store last February, but many remain. While such apps come with an age rating, apart from the use of Parental Controls there is nothing actually done by the App Store to block the purchase and use of age-inappropriate apps.

Dixen cries foul, noting that another of his publications -- iPhone Magasinet -- had no problem getting approved. Dixen also ran afoul of Apple guidelines when another of his magazines, Gear -- dealing with gadgets generally -- featured partially-clothed models on the cover. Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet had similar rejections due to their use of a "page nine girl," a popular feature in European publications that features a nude or topless woman inside the magazine in an effort to keep readers turning the page. German publisher Bild encountered this restriction back in March of this year.

The company has also garnered criticism of capricious censorship of language -- that temporarily saw it barring literary classics like James Joyce's Ulysses and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest -- while at the same time offering movies and podcasts loaded with profanity with only the MPAA rating to guide purchasers. The company also voluntarily blocked apps featuring the Dalai Llama from the Chinese version of the app store, and barred violent comic books while not censoring similarly-violent movies or TV shows.

Dixen complains that Apple's censorship -- and the time it takes to get "controversial" issues approved or rejected -- hurts the value of the publications. "We have to get not only our apps but every single copy of our magazines approved," he says. "I wonder what will happen if we choose to make the next issue of our magazine about mobile phones in general a theme issue about Android." He says that approvals can take up to two weeks, meaning information in the publication may be out-of-date by the time it appears.

Apple itself has struggled with where and how far to control controversial app content, often drawing ire from frustrated developers. Apple Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller says the company has attempted to respond to complaints from women and parents, but when asked by the New York Times about the Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit Issue" app -- which seems to define the very meaning of the term "salacious" -- defended the difference between it and similar apps as being from "a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format."

"[The whole incident is] funny really because I don't think we would sell many magazines on Android through Apple App Store," adds Dixen, "but the question is where this is going." [via MediaWatch]



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. ggarthe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2010

    +1

    Really?

    Who's gonna read an Android-centric magazine on their iPhone? I hope they didn't plan on charging for it!

  1. LunarMoon

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +3

    R E T A R D E D

    Are these guys complaining about Apple censorship retarded or what? Read my lips: Apple is a company. As a company it is in business to make money. In order to make money Apple has the right and the obligation to its shareholders to fight competition. In order to fight competition Apple will not advertise their competitors if they want.

    Lets take another example: imagine Ford is the new Apple. Are these retarded guys complain that Ford is not selling Chevrolet parts on their stores? C'mon, take some pills to make your brain smart and think.

    The day Ford start selling parts for Chevrolet cars in their stores, let me know.

  1. charlituna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    +1

    it is Apple's right

    as a store to sell what they wish and not sell what they don't. Folks need to get over this whole entitlement attitude

  1. chas_m

    Moderator

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +22

    Hello

    In this case it's NOT a sense of entitlement, but Apple's inconsistent standards. There is already an Android-focused magazine app in the store, so why bar this particular one? They have apps that have plenty of sexual innuendo, so why not apps that have some skin?

    Of course Apple has the right to bar whichever apps they deem inappropriate. The problem is that they don't apply their own guidelines in any kind of a consistent manner.

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010

    -6

    Brian Dixon is just being a public nusiance

    Any one with a couple of brain cells new what was going to happen. The fact he finishes with "but the question is where this is going" shows he was just out to make some negative PR. He needs to just grap his carpet bag and move on. To answer his question...it aint going anywhere buddy...Apple have there curated store and thank god. I like my stuff to work and in a way I agree to....not secretly downloading more apps, not sending my information of to foreign countries or other business.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009

    -15

    Apple Arrogance


    First they ignore you.
    Then they laugh at you.
    Then they fight you.
    Then you win.

    I think Apple at Phase III with it's fight with Android.

    Why are you scared Apple bois? You can fight all you want. You're still going to lose.




    Little Green Robots are going to get you.

  1. DerekMorr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2010

    +10

    shocked

    I'm shocked at how many of the fanboys on here rush to defend Apple's inconsistently applied censorship policies.

    If folks don't want to read about an Android magazine on their iDevices, won't the app fail in the market?

    Credit to the MacNN staff for writing a balanced article, though.

  1. facebook_Greg

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Nov 2010

    0

    comment title



    "Are these guys complaining about Apple censorship retarded or what? Read my lips: Apple is a company. As a company it is in business to make money. In order to make money Apple has the right and the obligation to its shareholders to fight competition. In order to fight competition Apple will not advertise their competitors if they want.

    Lets take another example: imagine Ford is the new Apple. Are these retarded guys complain that Ford is not selling Chevrolet parts on their stores? C'mon, take some pills to make your brain smart and think.

    The day Ford start selling parts for Chevrolet cars in their stores, let me know.
    LunarMoon"

    Lets imagine Microsoft makes a filter that won't allow anything about Apple to appear in Internet Explorer
    By your logic they have the right to do this to "fight competition".
    Apple can do as it pleases with their app store and I am sure they will until the government decides something they are doing is anti competitive.
    It make Apple appear childish with the way they won't allow certain apps in their store.
    Android would certainly allow an app all about the iPhone or iOS in the Android Market because they welcome competition they don't shrink from it.
    Oh and by the way my cell phone is an iPhone 3GS if you might be wondering.


  1. chuckC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010

    +2

    Hey Fanboys

    Keep drinking the Jobs Koolaide. If you don't mind censorship, China would like to have you.

  1. James Katt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008

    -8

    SOUR GRAPES

    Anything Android should be barred from the Apple App Store. Period.

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