Stop me if you have heard this one before. A developer’s application was rejected due to “objectionable” content even though the application itself doesn’t actually contain any objectionable content. Said developer tries to contact Apple regarding the unnecessary rejection to no avail. Developer writes a long letter on their blog explaining the ridiculousness of the situation and a public outcry ensues. Apple goes back on their original decision and approves the application unchanged. That pretty much sums up what happened to James Montgomerie and his eBook reading application Eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus is an eBook application that is able to pull in content from the popular free eBook site, Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is simply a large database of books that are free due to their copyrights expiring, and one of the books that is available through the site is a version of the ancient Indian text Kama Sutra, which Apple considered to be objectionable content. The book itself is already available on the iPhone via a host of other sources, so logically there is no reason the application should have been rejected.
James Montgomerie, the developer of Eucalyptus, wrote a long blog entry explaining the situation and how he felt he had been wronged by Apple. He attempted to remedy the situation by contacting Apple in every way he knew how, but he ultimately got no response. He then decided to resubmit the application with a filter that would block the the offending text, hoping Apple would approve.
The general public and the media got a hold of this not-so-surprising story and once again shined the spotlight on Apple’s busted review process. Apple responded to this outcry by not only allowing the application to be placed in the App Store, but they asked Montgomerie to resubmit the application without the filter, effectively allowing it to access the Kama Sutra content as it had when it was initially submitted to the App Store.
Earlier today I received a phone call from an Apple representative. He was very complimentary about Eucalyptus. We talked about the confusion surrounding its App Store rejections, which I am happy to say is now fully resolved. He invited me to re-build and submit a version of Eucalyptus with no filters for immediate approval, and that full version is now available on the iPhone App Store.
This isn’t, of course, the first case of App Store application review absurdity and it surely won’t be the last. We will just have to keep waiting for the process to be revamped, but in the meantime, developers must keep making sure cases like this one don’t go unnoticed.
James Montgomerie’s Eucalyptus is now safely available in the App Store for $9.99.