Brothers Dan and Ben Volach are not happy with Apple, and have launched a patent lawsuit against the company recently, spurred by the fact their email app was removed from the Mac App Store.
Update: Apple has provided a statement on the matter to MacRumors, saying that it has a blanket review guideline for apps submitted to its App Store(s). As such, Blix’s BlueMail falls under that and was reviewed as such. The company adds that Blix did not accept Apple’s help in fixing the issue at hand, but that Blix did eventually submit a revised version of BlueMail that respects Gatekeeper, therefore making the app available in the Mac App Store again.
Here is Apple’s statement:
Blix’s mail app is currently available on the iOS App Store and they have a brand new communications app available on the Mac App Store. We have attempted on multiple occasions to assist them in getting their BlueMail app back on the Mac App Store. They have refused our help. The App Store has a uniform set of guidelines, equally applicable to all developers, that are meant to protect users. Blix is proposing to override basic data security protections which can expose users’ computers to malware that can harm their Macs and threaten their privacy.
The original article continues below.
The email app, BlueMail, has made a return to the digital storefront, but that is not stopping the developers from battling Apple on every front it can. The Volach brothers founded the development studio Blix, and launched BlueMail, an email app for Macs, quite some time ago. However, Apple recently pulled the app from the storefront for “security reasons” not too long ago.
The interesting part comes from the fact that BlueMail’s removal from the App Store appears to coincide with the launch of Apple’s “Sign in with Apple” feature, which Apple introduced in 2019. The Volach brothers allege that Apple stole its anonymous sign-in feature to create “Sign in with Apple”, and argue that the BlueMail email app was removed from the App Store due to Apple wanting to stifle competition.
As noted above, Apple says the app was removed for security reasons, and that’s about it.
Blix’s BlueMail is now back in the Mac App Store, but according to the Volach brothers they did not do anything to address the “shifting” issues that Apple raised against the app, according to The Verge. The Volach brothers say that Apple restored BlueMail due to the public awareness it was able to draw to its issue, essentially forcing Apple’s hand on the matter.
Now that the app has been restored to the Mac App Store, the Volach brothers have no intention of pulling back its lawsuit against Apple. It sued the company for patent infringement over Sign in with Apple months ago. At this point, the brothers say they are happy BlueMail is back in the Mac App Store, but want to point out that speaking out is vital for the community in general.
When we wrote to Apple’s developer community, BlueMail was back on the App Store within a week,” says Dan Volach in a statement. “If you’re out there too scared to come forward, let this be your proof that speaking out works.
Blix also made the news recently when it wrote an open letter, calling upon other developers who have had their own apps and/or feature “Sherlocked” by Apple to stand up against the company. This is certainly not a new phenomena for Apple, implementing features into the standard operating system that are prominent in third-party apps. Some developers want this tradition to stop, however, and Blix is one of them.
Do you think Apple goes too far in this regard sometimes? Let us know in the comments below.