Apple has been castigated by French officials over its recent decision to remove an application-finding tool from the iOS AppStore.
French junior minister for digital economy Fleur Pellerin said that the company's decision last week to take down the AppGratis application search tool was "brutal" and could convince officials to instigate European Commission action.
"This behaviour is not worthy of a company of this size," Pellerin was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The French-based developer's application allows users to find free application on the iOS App Store. The company says it raised upwards of $13m in venture capital funding from its most recent fundraising round.
"Friday, 5 April was the day Apple decided to pull AppGratis out of the App Store, leaving our 12 million iOS users wondering where one of their favourite apps had gone, my 45 employees wondering if they’d still have a job next week, my partners and investors in shock, and myself with an absolutely crazy situation to deal with, thousands of miles away from our headquarters," wrote AppGratis chief executive Simon Dawlat.
Dawlat said that Apple removed the application over violations of the iOS App Store developer rules. In particular, the company found that the AppGratis tool ran afoul of rules that prevent developers from displaying applications other than their own and acting in a manner similar to that of the App Store.
The AppGratis chief said that the company will continue to work with Apple to bring its application back to the App Store and in the meantime the application will function as normal for users who already downloaded it.
"Still stunned that Apple took the decision to destroy so much value within their own ecosystem, but more than ever convinced that what we’re doing is good, and accomplishing a much needed mission in a broken App Discovery world," Dawlat wrote.
Apple has in the past drawn heat from users and developers over its notoriously strict App Store rules.
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