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The Tumblog of one Jim Dovey, iOS Software Chief Architect at Kobo in Toronto, Ontario.
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My Review of the Kobo App

Given the immense amount of vitriol in the iTunes Store reviews against Kobo’s “decision” to remove the store from our app, I posted a ‘review’ of my own, explaining the decision. I felt this was about the only way I could let people know that we haven’t just decided, capriciously, to yank features from the app. It’s appeared on the Canadian store, but hasn’t yet arrived on the US one. Probably still being reviewed for applicability…

Here it is:

On Store Removal — 5 stars

  • by James Dovey from Canada on 2011-07-24

[Version 4.5.1] I work for Kobo, and it appears that this is the only means through which I can alert users to the reasons for the changes in the app I wrote. Every other mention has resulted in the app being rejected by Apple, even as they allow other applications to do so.

The store was removed because Apple rejected any updates which included it, period. They also rejected any updates which stated that Apple required its removal, or indeed any mention of ‘compliance with App Store guidelines’. It was further rejected for the cardinal sin of allowing users to create a Kobo account within the app. Then it was rejected for providing a link to let users create an account outside the app. Then it was rejected for simply mentioning that it was possible to sign up, with no direction on where or how one could do that. Then it was rejected for making any mention of the Kobo website. Then for any mention of ‘our website’ at all, in any language. We additionally cannot make any assertions that Kobo provides content for sale, however obliquely.

It should be noted that throughout this process we have worked closely with the App Review team at Apple to approve every change we have made. Those approvals were then rescinded at the request of the nebulous ‘from above’, i.e. someone further up the management chain.

I should note, however, that the Borders app for the US was subject to almost NONE of these restrictions. This is all the more amusing since the Borders US app is built from the exact same source code, with a different colour scheme and titles.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our contacts at App Review for their attempted help. They are obviously being placed in a very difficult position.

There you have it. Hopefully people will read this review and understand that none of the changes in v4.5.1 of the Kobo app happened by our own design. We have always intended to provide users with the best experience possible. It looks as though that is not allowed now; our every attempt to provide guidance to our customers has resulted in the rejection of our app. For that I am truly sorry.

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