The developer behind Tumblr has complained about Apple’s use of private APIs in the iBooks app for the iPad. Although the move will not come as a surprise to many, some developers feel the undocumented APIs give Apple’s own software an unfair advantage on the App Store.
“I won’t be able to offer some features that iBooks has (such as a true brightness control), but my customers will expect them, making my app inferior to Apple’s in key areas,” said developer Marco Arment.
Arment points out that iBooks would likely be rejected by Apple it if was submitted by a third-party developer. The company routinely denies apps that use undocumented or private APIs.
“One of the great potential failures of an app-review system is inconsistent or unfair enforcement of the rules,” said Marco. “That’s not the kind of development or software-market environment I want to see, as it would be a waste of a great platform and great potential.”
Similar situations have landed companies in court to fight antitrust allegations. Microsoft had to defend itself against antitrust charges filed by the US government, as the company was accused of using Windows APIs to favor its own browser over offerings from competitors. The company found itself in more trouble in the EU over APIs used by other Microsoft software, leading to a $1.4 billion fine.
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