Did Apple Just Kill White Label Apps?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

By SummitSync


On June 5, thousands of developers, mobile marketers, and tech journalists sat in a dark, crowded event auditorium to listen to maybe the most watched keynote in today’s tech world.

The man of the two hour and sixteen minute keynote was Apple’s Tim Cook. He, and many other Apple leaders, announced their latest developments in hardware and software at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California.

About an hour into the keynote, Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, took the stage and livened the crowd, seemingly as Apple’s new hype man.

Amongst many praises, Phil also boldly declared Apple’s App Store “the best app platform in the world”, which was also displayed in classic Apple style boldly across the screen.

Amongst the several huge announcements, including a complete redesign of the App Store, there was one key item that went unsaid, that would change the future of white label apps forever.

It was quickly displayed on the screen, but glossed over for more flashy updates.

This change is impacting multi-million dollar companies in not only the event app space, but also white label ride sharing and B2B app development companies.

That’s right, App Store cleanup. This change is impacting multi-million dollar companies in not only the event app space, but also white label ride sharing and B2B app development companies.

Apple soon updated their App Store Guidelines to reflect everything discussed at WWDC, but we’re highlighting one small section buried deep within the 9,000 word document that reflects what they really meant by “App Store cleanup” and how it impacts multi-million dollar white label app companies.

How Apple Crushed White Label Apps

With thirteen words, Apple blindly blanketed all white label apps into a group and stamped BAD boldly across the entire batch.

Did they realize that they are crushing legitimate businesses across industries including event apps, b2b apps, and even transportation apps?

We asked Tom Bachant from Dashride, a provider of mobile dispatching software for transportation companies, how section 4.2.6 is impacting Dashride’s ability to launch and update the technology their clients rely on.

“Apple’s decision to ban white-labeled apps comes with the good intentions of ridding the App Store of spam and redundant apps. However, the official language used in the ban covers any app that shares a codebase or template with other apps, even if each app provides a unique and beneficial user experience.”

Tom hit on it perfectly; we as mobile developers appreciate that Apple is trying to clean up the App Store but the blanket statements like section 4.2.6 hurt legitimate companies like Dashride.

So what does this mean for white label apps?

The outlook is grey…

We started hearing buzz in the app community about the impact of section 4.2.6 on developers, just days after the guideline updates. We know major event app companies have been impacted by this and they’re definitely feeling the heat.

But, Apple’s developer guidelines have always been notoriously vague, like most Apple things. Their somewhat infamous use of a Supreme Court Justice’s words as seen below is just another example of how Apple purposefully creates space for interpretation of their guidelines.

So, where will Apple draw the line in terms of section 4.2.6? Will they understand the plight of these companies?

Will Apple take into consideration that hundreds of legitimate businesses could lose millions of dollars due to not allowing white label apps on the App Store?

Will the apps have to be a certain percent different to not be created from a “commercialized template”?

I guess we’ll all have to wait and see how this continues to develop.

Who knew that a glossed over phrase on a gigantic screen at WWDC would have this big of an impact.

But, then again, we always knew the power of live events.

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