More on the iPhone/Ninjawords Situation

By  |  Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm

I didn’t write at length about the latest iPhone App Store controversy, which involved Apple’s handling of a dictionary called Ninjawords and its alleged insistence that the app be both censored and restricted to users over 17. But I did mention it in yesterday’s T-Poll, with a link to John Gruber’s coverage at Daring Fireball. Now Gruber has followed up with an interesting post based on an e-mail sent to him by Apple marketing honcho Phil Schiller. There’s still plenty of room for criticism of Apple’s handling of Ninjawords, which seems at odds with its treatment of earlier dictionary apps. But Schiller says that the company didn’t demand both the removal of common swear words and the 17-only restriction.

Schiller closed his discussion of the matter with these thoughts:

Apple’s goals remain aligned with customers and developers — to create an innovative applications platform on the iPhone and iPod touch and to assist many developers in making as much great software as possible for the iPhone App Store. While we may not always be perfect in our execution of that goal, our efforts are always made with the best intentions, and if we err we intend to learn and quickly improve.

As Gruber says, this may be the first public acknowledgment by an Apple executive that its handling of the App Store is less than ideal. That’s encouraging in itself–especially if Apple does indeed learn quickly from its mistakes. As I’ve said innumerable times in my posts squawking about specific incidents, I remain a long-term App Store optimist…

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