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It’s Time to Call Out the #BadApple

Apple is an amazing company that transformed the mobile industry — being the first to popularize smartphones for consumers and the first to launch app stores for developers. But for an outstanding industry leader, Apple has some worrying behavioral issues.

Take the “BatteryGate” for example. Apple secretly and deliberately reduces the performance of old phones in order to boost new phone sales in the name of extending the battery life. The company only revealed this after being caught red-handed. By implementing a secret and malicious performance degrade, Apple proved it was willing to engage in unscrupulous practices to the detriment of the consumers.

Apple is also notorious in its app review guidelines and practices.

Many of Apple’s guidelines are for the purpose of strengthening its monopolistic power instead of protecting the consumers. When in dispute, Apple’s attitude is usually “Apple can do whatever Apple wants,” with no respect to US laws, especially the anti-trust laws.

We need to stop Apple from abusing the consumers and developers. Apple must be held accountable for its behavior, and the government shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the massive abuses and illegal practices Apple engages in. If Apple cannot conduct effective self-governance, it is time for the government to reform Apple to bring Apple to justice for the consumers and developers.

For this purpose, we need to call out the #BadApple.

I am the CEO of CloudMosa, the publisher of the Puffin Web Browser.

Puffin is a victim of Apple’s abuse. Puffin is a server-based web browser where web browser sessions are executed on the cloud servers.

Due to the server-side rendering, Puffin is wicked fast in speed, amazingly frugal in data usage, and extremely secure in virus protection. Puffin Web Browser was launched in 2010 and grew organically to 100M users (50M on iOS and 50M on Android). Puffin Academy, the “safe” Puffin designed for K-12 education market, is used by 10M students in elementary and middle schools.

Apple, concerned about the rising competition, decided to sabotage Puffin in order to protect the billions of dollars of search revenue from Google. Puffin releases were rejected citing app review guideline 2.5.6: “Apps that browse the web must use the appropriate WebKit framework and WebKit Javascript.” Our server-side web browser is based on Chromium instead of Apple’s WebKit, therefore, Puffin is rejected.

We disputed and escalated but Apple insisted it has jurisdiction over our server-side technology.

It is perfectly fine for Apple to have strict guidelines to protect the interests of the consumers. It is not cool for Apple to have guidelines to protect the interests of Apple against the interests of the consumers. It is plainly illegal, against anti-trust law, for Apple to have guidelines to protect its monopolistic power against fair competition. Looking back 20 years ago, Microsoft was sued for bundling its IE browser on Windows, even though 3rd-party browsers were welcomed on Windows. Stopping Microsoft expanding its monopoly laid the foundation for computer industry to prosper in the past 20 years. Now, Apple not only bundles its Safari browser, but also sabotages competing browsers to prosper unfairly, counting on the “weakening government.” It is bad for the consumers, the developers and the computer industry as a whole.

We need to call out the #BadApple to keep them above board and honest.

Shioupyn Shen
President & CEO

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