It came to light today that apps created using the Dropbox SDK were being rejected by Apple for inclusion in the App Store. Developers already have to go through a rigorous submission process and it’s easy to fall foul of the guidelines and have your new App rejected. The problem with the Dropbox SDK was that there was a link to the desktop version of the Dropbox service with the option to purchase more storage space.
The only way for the App to allow purchases or paid for subscriptions, while adhering to Apple rules, is to use Apple’s own in-app purchase platform. That way Apple gets a cut of the income. Dropbox cloud storage is a popular (50 million users) multi-platform alternative to Apple’s own iCloud storage which is pretty essential to Apple iOS hardware owners with their lack of cheap memory card and flash-drive options.
Dropbox SDK user Goran Peuc had this conversation with Apple after being surprised at his app submission rejection. Apple’s main stated reason for rejecting the app was: “We found that your app provides access to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, which are not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.”
Now Dropbox have released a temporary workaround so that developers can get their apps using the Dropbox SDK approved for inclusion in the App Store. Dropbox have stated that “We're working with Apple to come up with a solution that still provides an elegant user experience.” That should be more elegant than just axing the useful link with the option of purchasing more storage. The solution might be that Apple gets some amount of payment from the new Dropbox subscribers who upgrade to more storage after following the link.
The Amazon app was found to break the same external store linking rules just over a year ago and, unwilling to give Apple a 30 per cent cut, Amazon just decided to drop the link to their Kindle Store making things a bit more laborious for would be eBook buyers.