Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mea Culpa

The original version of my blog post contained a snarky comment about the Director of the App Review team and a link to a Wired article about his past. A friend of mine, who happens to work at One Infinite Loop, privately took me to task for including that link in my post.

It took me about two seconds, now that I'm a little further away from it and not as angry, to realize that he's 100% right. It was a dick move on my part and I'm sorry for it. I have removed the link and offer my apologies to Phillip Shoemaker. The fact is, I have no visibility into what's going on and don't know where the holdup is on For all I know, Mr. Shoemaker could be valiantly fighting for against higher up forces in the company, so casting an ad hominem attack like that was juvenile and uncool.

My basic feelings about the matter are unchanged, however. It was uncool when Apple left Google Voice in limbo, but that was one small product from one very large company. In this case, it's the sweat equity from one individual developer who worked very, very hard, sacrificing sleep, family time, and entertainment to create something very cool. The impact is much greater and much more personal and it's hard for me not to get angry about it.


dylansm said...

I commend you on this, and the former article.

aahndee said...

Google Voice is more than "[…] one small product from one very large company […]" - there were at least two other (small time developer) GV applications available in the AppStore that have been collateral damage to this whole fiasko when Apple pulled them from the store without any reasoning. At this time there are even more such applications in limbo but some developers (so far) decided not to go public about it…

anon1234 said...

An Apple employee chooses to take a friend to task for posting factual information, just because that information is embarrassing to Apple. That's even more embarrassing to Apple. Did this friend also show any believable concern for the developer whose livelihood has been affected by their deliberate lack of communication with him? Clear priorities there, both toward a friend and toward a victim of their policies.

Andres N. Kievsky said...

I don't think it was juvenile. You were clearly upset for your friend; Apple should take responsibility or risk becoming a company of inferior niche-products once again.

Jeff LaMarche said...


Your facts and you assumptions are off. Way off. I wasn't taken to task for posting factual information. I was taken to task for posting a snarky comment that had absolutely nothing to do with the problem at hand. It was juvenile and it was inappropriate and he was 100% right for commenting.

And, as a matter of fact, this friend HAS been fighting very hard to move Briefs through the system as best as (he/she) can, considering that (he/she) is not on the app review team and has no direct authority in the matter. This person has also, in fact, corresponded with Rob on the matter and been very helpful.

A number of people at Apple have gone to bat for Rob and In fact, I'm starting to get intel that one of the people fighting most vigorously for may have been, in fact, the very person I maligned. When writing my original post, I had assumed it was his decision to make, and it's starting to look like that was a stupid assumption; this may be stuck at a higher paygrade.

But why am I arguing with an anonymous troll? Waste of my time. Come back and post under your real name, and I'll happily discuss the merits of the case much as I can without breaking confidences.

And, for the record, neither Apple, nor anyone who works for Apple, has made any demands on me about this matter. This was just a friend pointing out a mistake the way friends are supposed to do.

anon1234 said...

Thanks for posting that additional detail. It sounds like your friend may be one of the rare courteous employees at Apple. Setting aside what a couple of employees may be doing to help I do think Apple's official non-action speaks the loudest about the culture there. I am not a troll; I posted anonymously because I am an iPhone developer also, both independently and on behalf of several large companies, and would prefer to avoid retaliation. I have seen some baffling treatment by Apple employees toward myself and my clients and although there are occasional signs of improvement, Apple has a long way to go until developers can consider themselves valued partners.

Jeff LaMarche said...


I think you do a great many employees a disservice with your comments, to be perfectly honest. Apple has very strict policies about what employees can do and say publicly. When I was interviewing there, I was told pretty bluntly that if I got the position, this blog would not only have to end, it would have to come down entirely. Not every position is that strict, but everybody who works there has to be careful what they say for obvious reasons.

I have the benefit of knowing a fair few people inside Apple at this point, and all of them are courteous and genuinely interested in helping third party developers. Don't blame the individual employees for corporate policies set at the executive level and don't assume that because you don't hear about it, they aren't doing anything to help. It's not fair, and in most cases, simply not true. Many of the improvements we have seen have been the result of one or more unsung heroes inside Apple fighting on our behalf and who don't get to even take credit for the change.

As for retaliation, I think your fears are unfounded. Although I've defended Apple more than I've criticized them, I have criticized them pretty fiercely on more than one occasion and have never been retaliated against. The most that has happened is that an employee who knows more about the situation will, in confidence, point out some missing facts that helps me understand the situation more fully. There is always more than meets the eye with these situations.

Unless you reveal an unannounced product, steal a phone, or do something similarly unethical, Apple's not going to go after you for expressing honest opinions despite what you may think about them.

anon1234 said...

I think you may be lucky to know some Apple employees on a personal level. In my experience most of them have openly refused to assist or even discuss questionable, logic-defying handling of developer relations. I understand some of this may be caused by the control Apple exerts over their employees' speech that you mentioned but the end result is exactly as I said, Apple has a long way to go until developers can consider themselves valued partners. I don't disagree with you that the problem may exist at the executive level.

Because I make a living writing iPhone apps, I think I'll continue to play it safe with the anonymity. I subscribe to your blog because it is quite informative about iOS development and I thank you for all your contributions. I was just a little saddened to see your regret at posting your valid opinion on an Apple executive's questionable, documented activities.