Apple has revoked Google’s license to distribute internal iOS apps as a result Google’s Gmail, Hangouts, Google Maps and other beta release apps stopped working with other employee only apps like Gbus and an internal café app. The shutdown came after Google was found to be in violation of app distribution policy of Apple. A similar decision also affected Facebook recently.
The Google-parent Alphabet Inc. employees reported that they were not able to access any internal apps related to food and transportation and could not test the iPhone apps they were making. However the access was reinstated to Google and Facebook just hours later.
Apple offers an enterprise certificate program through which companies can push iPhone apps to be used internally within a company. The process is intended to bypass the usual app review process involved in publishing an app on iOS app store. Both the companies used this process to collect data for research activities. However Facebook’s app was more aggressive as it paid teens $20 per month to collect private user data.
Although the access was revoked, Apple restored it in just couple of hours. Apple Spokesperson told to BuzzFeed that Apple is working very closely with Google to reinstate their certificate quickly. The tech giant had stated in a previous statement that any developers using the enterprise certificate to push apps for consumers rather than internal use will have their certificates revoked. The move to revoke Google’s certificate came after the Facebook met similar fate indicating that Apple wanted to showcase its impartiality in applying its rules equally to all companies.
There is growing evidence to the matter that a large number of companies are exploiting this loophole in Apple’s enterprise program to distribute apps to non-employees. Alex Fajkowski, an iOS developer recently found that Sonos, DoorDash and Amazon are all distributing beta versions of apps to consumers.
Apple and Google share an expansive business relationship as Google pays billions of dollars to Apple every year to make Google the default search engine in Apple’s Safari web browser on iPads, Mac and iPhones. At the same time, Apple cannot afford to risk its brand image as being a secure and privacy focused smartphone. If it gives concessions to Google Maps or Facebook’s Instagram in privacy, consumers might shift to other smartphones running on Google’s Android OS.