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Apple's Schiller to angry developer: "We hear you"


Apple executive Phil Schiller has again responded to a developer's complaints about his company's App Store approvals, this time sending an e-mail to the co-founder of a prominent Mac development studio.

Steven Frank, of Panic, makers of Transmit, Coda and Unison, said on his blog that he received a personal e-mail from Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing after he publicly stated that he's boycotting his iPhone after the company rejected an e-book reader. Frank, who is not an iPhone developer, declined to re-print Schiller's note, but instead summarized his points.

"I haven’t sought Phil’s explicit permission to republish the letter," Frank wrote, "so I won’t do so here. But to summarize, he said: 'We’re listening to your feedback.' Not all of my suggested solutions were viable, he said, but they were taking it all in as they continue to evolve the App Store."

Schiller also denied a rumor that Apple is rejecting every ebook reader submitted to the App Store. Frank went on to describe Schiller's e-mail as polite and courteous, and said he was grateful that the Apple executive took the time to contact him.

"As I’ve said repeatedly, communication will solve this problem — not silence," he wrote. "Let’s push that communication down from executives-to-bloggers to app-store-to-developers and I think we’ve really got a breakthrough."

In his original post declaring his boycott, Frank said he believes that Apple's approval and rejection of software from the App Store is sometimes illogical. He said when he first complained about Apple's policies, a lot of people responded by telling him not to develop for the iPhone — so, he said, he hasn't. Frank's comments were on behalf of himself, and not Panic.

"I’ve reached a point where I can no longer just sit back and watch this," he said. "The iPhone ecosystem is toxic, and I can’t participate any more until it is fixed. As people have told me so many times: It’s Apple’s ballgame, and Apple gets to make the rules, and if I don’t like it, I can leave. So, I don’t like it, and I’m leaving."

In an addendum to his original post, Frank added that he is still unsure about his stance on the Apple and the iPhone.

"Upon further reflection, I think the true litmus test will be how Apple and AT&T formally respond to the FCC inquiry about Google Voice. That is due no later than the 21st, a week from Friday. That decision really cuts to the crux of the whole thing for me, and the great thing (for us users) is everyone has to come out and say something about what happened. No more speculation."

Last week, Schiller made an unprecedented move in responding to Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball about the handling of an iPhone dictionary application's approval.