Apple’s efforts to purge clone and spam apps from the App Store by banning those created by a “commercialized template or app generation service” has ended up driving small businesses off the platform as well, TechCrunch reports. While lots of template-generated apps are generic and don’t provide much in the way of functionality for users, many others are created by services that cater to businesses, churches, and other organizations who want to reach their small community with an app without paying the huge cost of creating a custom product.
Apple has issued a January 1, 2018 deadline to many companies — after which any new apps submitted will be rejected — and the scrutiny has already shut down Shoutem, one of many companies that offered app-creation services to smaller businesses. In a letter dated December 1, 2017, Congressman Ted W. Lieu wrote to Apple asking that the company reconsider what it’s doing to small businesses by casting “too wide a net” in its App Store policing efforts. One developer likened the move to a web hosting company no longer allowing websites created using WordPress templates to be displayed.