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  • Suspended Animation

    • 8 out of 10
    • Fantomas
    • Mike Patton may well be one of the hardest working men in showbiz these days, and his latest with Fantômas underscores just about how far out he is willing to travel.

      Suspended Animation

  • Abnormal Anonymous

    • 8 out of 10
    • Congo Norvell
    • Very few albums manage to capture snapshots of a quality of life in the manner that Congo Norvell's sophomore record, "Abnormals Anonymous," does.

      Comparisons to the Velvet Underground are

  • Pretty Hate Machine

    • 8 out of 10
    • Nine Inch Nails
    • For years I wanted to make music that sounded like something between Love and Rockets and Ministry. In 1989, Trent Reznor beat me to it with this genre-defining album, and it smacked me upside the hea
  • King James Version

    • 4 out of 10
    • Harvey Danger
    • The sophomore effort from Harvey Danger, I was really looking forward to this followup to "Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?" Unfortunately, "King James Version" failed to deliver any of the bri

  • Another Day on Earth

    • 10 out of 10
    • Brian Eno
    • In his first proper solo release since 1996's relatively cold "The Drop," Brian Eno has constructed a whimsical and ecclectic masterpiece which is arguably one of the year's strongest records thus fa

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Apple Rejects Podcaster for App Store, Revolt Follows

Apple has rejected an iPhone app, Podcaster, on the basis that it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes. The author is greatly annoyed, as are some other developers and observers. Apple might even be on shaky legal grounds.

The author of Podcaster, Fraser Speirs, in his blog, explained how Apple disapproved his app on seemingly anti-competitive grounds.

"That’s right folks, it duplicates the functionality of the desktop version of iTunes. Therefore, it was denied from sale in the app store. Although my app does allow you to listen to podcasts (like iTunes), it also allows you to download them directly to device and that is something Apple does not offer."

Mr. Speirs pointed out that there is a calculator for sale in the App Store that duplicates [and extends] the functionality of Apple’s built-in calculator. Not a problem. Meanwhile, Mr. Speirs is looking at other ways to distribute his software.

Dave Winer, another noted developer, said last week that he would never develop for the iPhone because after a lot of investment, one could fine out at the last minute that Apple disapproves.

Mr. Chuq Von Rospach, a former Apple sysadmin, weighed in in his own blog:

"Okay, Apple has a serious problem here. Two, actually. One is that they’ve now messed up the Application approval setup enough that developers are abandoning the platform. The second problem is they don’t seem to care (or notice).

"This is really disturbing to me; what seemed to be ’oh my god, too many developers!’ early on is starting to look like ’We’re Apple, because we can.’ Not a good trend. My biggest worry is that Apple’s made a decision that it’s certain key/major developers that really matter (like Pop Cap or Pangea) and the rest can basically take it or leave it; with Android coming from Google, now seems a bad time to piss off the people who can turn the iPhone from a huge success into a sustained, long-term massive success."

John Gruber at Daring Fireball put it more strongly: "Let’s be clear: forbidding ’duplication of functionality’ is forbidding competition. The point of competition is to do the same thing, but better."

An attorney who follows Apple closely but who requested anonymity told TMO: "Apple is skating on thin ice here. Refusing to post an app to the App Store for technical and/or security reasons or to protect Apple’s reputation (e.g., no porn) or to prevent actionable fraud is defensible, but to exclude an application simply because it duplicates the function of iTunes is highly questionable and exposes Apple to legal jeopardy for hindering competition."

If Apple wasn’t paying too much attention to the consistency and manner in which they vetoed certain apps in the App Store before, chances are they’re paying attention now.

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