App Store Director Sells His Own Apps While Controlling Access for Others

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on August 19th, 2010

If you have been around the App Store lately, you're likely to have heard that Apple enforces a strict, albeit inconsistent and subjective, no-offensive-material policy that includes what Apple deems to be pornographic or offensive. We're not here to debate whether Apple has that right, but rather to talk about Apple's main App Store Director, Phillip Shoemaker.

Now, imagine you're a businessperson, trying to eke out a living providing a product or service to your customers. Now imagine if your product or service is regulated in some way, forcing you to do things the way the regulatory body insists you do them. Then imagine that your competitor is in charge of this regulatory body, and has a say over whether you may or may not sell a particular product. Are you upset, yet?

This is apparently what is happening over at the App Store, with Mr. Shoemaker. According to a Wired Gadget Lab post by Brian X. Chen yesterday, Mr. Shoemaker is the lead decision maker on the approval or rejection of apps in the app store. Mr. Shoemaker is also an app developer, having three apps published to the App Store after Mr. Shoemaker was hired at Apple. Huh? Does this seem like a conflict of interest to you?