Jobs: 'Begone, ChatRoulette!'

Ah, Apple. Once you were just another computer company, making hardware and software like everyone else and hoping other software manufacturers can develop for it. But, thirty years and one world-changing mobile phone later, everything's changed.

When Apple made the iPhone, they did something different to smartphone software that had gone before - they prevented other companies from installing software. On Windows Mobile, Nokia's Series 60, or Palm's PalmOS - the big rival smartphone systems in those days of yore (er, 2006) - anyone could make software, and users could install it just by downloading it in their phone's browser. But Apple said no to all that. Then, a year later, it did let developers make 'apps' for the iPhone - but only if they sold them through Apple's own App Store (and handed Apple 30% of the price). What's more, Apple had to approve every app listed in the App Store - and could reject ones it considered bad, unsafe, or just unsavoury (or, in the case of Google Voice, just too competitive).

Maybe none of that would matter too much if it were just phones. But now it looks like, slowly but surely, Apple is bringing that model to the desktop with its new Mac App Store. Which makes Apple's rules for what they allow and don't allow more important than ever.

So.... what are the rules? In fairness to Apple, while with the iOS App Store they waited till three years after launch before actually telling developers the guidelines, with Mac App Store they've given us the rules in advance. And some of them are very sensible - apps that crash, or are buggy, for example, may be banned, which seems entirely reasonable. But Apple will also reject apps which 'are not very useful,' which sounds rather vague. 'Excessively crude content' is also a no-no, which, I mean, come on.

Our favourite, though, is 14.2: 'Apps that contain user generated content that is frequently pornographic (ex 'Chat Roulette' apps) will be rejected'. How much of the user-generated content in an app needs to be penises to get it banned isn't clear..

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