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Apple tightens App Store rules, now rejecting more app discovery services

Apple's push against app recommendation apps appears to be expanding, as the company is now said to be rejecting apps that allow users to share discovered programs with their friends.

Rejected app AppGratis, image via Numerama

Apple has apparently begun expanding its means of enforcing App Store regulation 2.25 — which bars apps from functionalities that bring them into competition with the App Store — and rejecting apps that encourage sharing recommendations, according to PocketGamer. One developer, whose app is focused on such recommendation sharing, related a tale of receiving a rejection notice for the app's functionality even though the software was shaped to conform with Apple's rules.

"We thought that basing our recommendations on sharing was suitable for Apple, as it had previously stated that if you bake in social or local into your app discovery, you would be fine," the developer said. "I think they aim to be the only provider of recommendations for apps, along with being the distributor."

Regulation 2.25 forms the basis for Apple's app recommendation app rejections. It states "Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected."

Recent months have seen Apple increasingly citing Regulation 2.25 and blocking a number of popular app recommendation services, despite them having willing user bases that numbered in the millions. The move is reportedly aimed at cracking down on developers paying for exposure.

Early in April, daily app recommendation service AppGratis was pulled from the App Store despite an identical iPad app from the same company having been approved three days before. The CEO of AppGratis expressed total disbelief at the app's rejection, and the incident even caught the attention of France's digital industry minister, who called Apple's rejection of the app a "unilateral decision" that raised the issue of whether or not the company was being fair in its policies.