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Apple defends App Store approval process

Like a retailer, company wants quality products, says marketing VP

Apple's senior VP for worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller has defended Apple's approval process for apps, saying it's necessary for sustained quality and that the company is trying to become more flexible in its approach.

"Whatever your favourite retailer is, of course they they care about the quality of the products they offer," Schiller told Business Week. "We review the applications to make sure they work as the customers expect them to work when they download them."

According to Schiller, "most" applications are approved, while some are sent back to the developer. In about 90 per cent of the cases of them being sent back, technical fixes are needed, he said, for bugs in the software or because a feature doesn't work as expected.

Developers are generally glad to have this safety net, he added.

In around 10 per cent of instances where apps aren't approved however, it's because the content is inappropriate. "There have been applications submitted for approval that will steal personal data, or which are intended to help the user break the law, or which contain inappropriate content," explained Schiller.

Indeed, one of these issues - where an app helps users to break a law, such as cheating in a casino - falls into a grey area Apple hadn't anticipated, he said.

"We had to study state and international laws about what's legal and what isn't, and what legal exposure that creates for Apple or the customer," said Schiller.

The number of applications available through the App Store this month topped 100,000, while some 10,000 new apps are submitted each week.

Schiller insists the approval process is necessary in order to ensure consumers are able to trust the store's content. However he acknowledged Apple needs to remain flexible in its approach. "We're trying to learn and expand the rules to make it fair to everyone," he said.

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Kath Brice

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