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Apple bans thousands of adult apps from Store

Developers react angrily to company's sudden U-turn on policy

Apple has made the decision to ban thousands of apps containing adult content from the App Store, prompting fury from developers who say the company is ruining livelihoods and exercising double standards.

The BBC reports that thousands of apps with adult-themed content have been removed from the store since Friday - a move that, according to Apple, came about as a result of complaints from parents.

"It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see," Philip Schiller, head of worldwide product marketing at Apple, told The New York Times.

He added that a small number of developers had been submitting "an increasing number of apps containing very objectionable content" over the last few weeks.

According to iPhone developer ChilliFresh though, which has seen its app Wobble removed from the Store, Apple needs to be clearer on what it will and won't permit.

"On Friday evening we got an e-mail out of the blue which basically said, thanks very much but we don't want you any more. Apple said it was removing all overtly sexual apps," developer Jon Atherton told the BBC.

He said the company had gone from making £320 a day from its apps to £5 since the ban and called on Apple to publish its new guidelines so that developers were clear on the content they could and could not use.

"My view is that this is a knee-jerk reaction. Apple is very controlling. These apps are getting popular but the App Store doesn't have an adult section.

"I'd have thought there was a technological way of fixing the problem rather than pulling the rug out from under people's feet," he added.

Atherton also questions Apple's logic in deciding what to remove from the store. While many of the apps deemed likely to cause offence have been removed, some - such as those from Playboy and Sports Illustrated - are still there.

"The difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format," explained Schiller.

However, Atherton said his explanation was "wrong on so many levels."

"What makes it worse is that a LOT of people now think that the store is a safe place for their kids to go to without supervision – it just isn't because Apple have applied their guidelines unevenly."

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