AppGratis, the app-discovery engine Apple banned from the iOS App Store last week, has started an online petition against Apple that has gathered over half a million signatures in just a few short hours.
And thousands more are adding their names every few minutes.
Apple yanked AppGratis after first approving its iPhone app late last year and its iPad app just weeks ago, saying that AppGratis violated several of the App Store guidelines. AppGratis vocally disagreed and has been trying to have a conversation with Apple about the ban — unsuccessfully so far.
So the French company, which has raised $13.5 million in venture capital, decided to go public with the fight, posting the petition early this morning. In it, the company says “it knows” it has not violated Apple’s guidelines and that Apple customers should have the final say.
And, of course, that Apple should “think different:”
Last week, on April the 5th, Apple decided to ban AppGratis from its App Store.
Because more than 12 million people in the world use AppGratis, this story has been all around the planet.
In an official statement to the Wall Street Journal on april the 8th, Apple said we violated two of its iOS Guidelines.
But we know we haven’t.
And we have written our side of the story here.
Today we believe it’s you, Apple’s customers, who should have the final word.
Today, you can speak up.
Tell Apple that you think different.
Whether the petition will be successful or not is hard to predict. Apple hates negative publicity like this, and going public is often the kiss of death for developers who have conflicts with Apple. But some have succeeded, as when Apple backed down from refusing to allow Lightning and 30-pin charging connectors on a single charge device after almost killing the POP portable power Kickstarter project.
Over half a million signatures in such a short time is a strong signal to Apple that its users — and the wider online community — are interested in AppGratis being able to live on in the App Store.
“We expect much much more in the next days,” AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat told PocketGamer. ”We needed a strong vote of confidence from our users to keep calm and carry on. And we got it.”
Interestingly, AppGratis’ choice of petition formats is very cleverly selected to ensure at least some form of business continuity if Apple does not relent in this case. Instead of using an online platform like Change.org, AppGratis is asking you to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. While there’s no wording to that effect, this would appear to be building up a database of future email subscribers who could be asked to opt into a regular AppGratis email highlighting a free app of the day.
We’ve asked Apple for comments and will update this post with any response.
Image credit: AppGratis founder Simon Dawlat/Facebook