Ray Wenderlich of C3 Software notified us this morning that their app AppVault Pro has been removed from the App Store by Apple at request of AllAboutApps, who developed AppBox Pro. This is a very similar case to the removal of Stoneloops by Mumbo Jumbo, the developer of Luxor. AppBox Pro claims that AppVault Pro infringed upon their copyright, and complained to Apple. With no word to the developer, Apple removed AppVault Pro last night.
Here is the text of the original complaint: The AppVault Pro V1.1 and AppVault Lite V1.1 infringed copyright of the AppBox Pro and AppBox Lite. The AppVault Pro/Lite application is available since Jan 4, 2010. They have just same graphics, layouts and features with different color for Ruler, Level, Battery, Tip Calc, Periodic Calc, and more in the AppBox Pro. Comparing the home screen of the AppVault Lite and the AppBox Lite, we know where their ideas comes from and how they made it. It is apparently infringing the copyright of the AppBox Pro and the AppBox Lite.
According to Ray Wenderlich on his company’s blog, “Although we pointed out that his demands were not grounded in copyright law and even worked with him to address some of his issues, about a week later Apple pulled us from the store without even talking to us first or providing a reason.”
Having used both apps this is quite an odd occurrence to say the least. I have reviewed AppBox Pro, and was currently in the process of reviewing AppVault Pro. Of course the apps were similar they’re app collections, but to say AppVault is infringing a copyright seems an exaggeration to say the least.
When the developer of AppVault originally contacted us for a review, they stated that they saw our review of AppBox Pro, and noticed in the bad section that the apps were inferior to stand alone products. They believed that they provide a higher quality of each app in their collection to compete with stand alone apps, and not just AppBox Pro.
In writing up my review I completely agreed, as most of the apps are extremely deluxe providing more content and quality than similar AppBox Pro apps, and were definitely solid competition for stand alone apps.
In total AppBox Pro contains 18 apps plus some webapp links. AppVault Pro includes 24 apps plus the webapps link. AppBox includes: The apps included are: Battery Life, Clinometer, Currency Converter, Dashboard, Date Calculator, Days Until, Flashlight, Holidays, Loan Calculator, Period Calendar, Price Grab, Random Number Generator, Ruler, Sale Price, System Info, Tip Calculator, Translator, Unit Converter, Web Apps link. AppVault includes: iTunes Alarm Clock, Battery, Flashlight, Translator, Unit Converter, Bible, Tip Calculator, Level, Currency Converter, Days Until, Period Calc, Dice, Loan Calc, Price Compare, Holidays, Date Calc, Ruler, System Info, Sale Price, Parking Buddy, Coin Flip, iPlasma, Dashboard, Guitar Tools, and Webapps link.
As you can see there is much overlay in the features they provide, but isn’t that expected. If you couldn’t include apps that another collection has you could never compete. AppVault has intended to give better versions of everything, plus add some more.
What do you think? Should developers be able to complain about potential app copying, and have their only competition removed? Should Apple make these decisions without hearing from both sides? Apple attempts to act as having no position, but when they decide to remove competition they have obviously picked a side. Does this build a standard so other apps can complain, and get their competition removed?
There definitely is a similar interface, but arranging this many apps needs this type of interface. Also couldn’t theoretically any of the stand alone apps like tip calculators, translators, and battery info apps say that the apps in either app collection are copies of their functionalities. Therefore you could get each individual removed case by case from the collection, and then app collections would seem lackluster. I believe if you can’t compete, don’t cry to Apple.
You can find screenshots and descriptions of all the apps in AppVault Pro here, and AppBox Pro in the review above. At the time of removal both were priced at $0.99, and the only two app collections. If you want to bring AppVault Pro back there is a petition.
In final analysis AppVault Pro provides superior individual apps, and more of them to be able to set itself apart. My final review would have said it was a superior app to AppBox Pro. Sadly the consumer no longer has a choice in app collections. Tell us your thoughts of the situation.