If ever there was a more obvious example of when a corporation has too much control, I can’t think of one more than this. One low-level employee at Apple has put 45 lives and multiple millions of dollars at risk.
In a post on the company’s blog, appgratis CEO Simon Dawlat recounted the nightmare that his company experienced early this April.
A few hours before starting to write this, I landed in São Paulo, Brazil on a visit to our local office here. I turned on my iPhone after an exhausting 12-hour redeye from Paris, only to receive notifications for over 75 missed calls, and a seemingly infinite flow of unread text messages.
I almost fainted.
These things only happen when a relative or a friend dies, or gets caught in a terrible accident. I immediately thought that someone in my family had passed away during my flight and couldn’t touch my phone for a few minutes. Scared. Paralyzed. Trying to imagine what the terrible news could be.
But by now Apple has issued an official statement, and the Wall Street Journal has published it. And as you’ve guessed, my friends and relatives are fine. They’re just worried for me now.
The company had just raised $13.5 million in their first round of funding. With 12 million active users of their app-discovery service, they were ramping up content, growing their selection, and improving their apps. They’d built up a team of 45 employees. Times were good. In addition to the new funding, they’d just released a new unified version of their app, and their iPad app had been approved for the app store just days earlier.
And then they were banned, the victim of vague, anti-competition (seemingly antitrust) policies, which they had worked so hard with representatives of Apple to stay in line with. According to Dawlat, two employees of Apple’s App Approval department “guid[ed] us through the necessary changes we needed to bring AppGratis into the App Store”. A new employee decided he disagreed, and booted AppGratis entirely from the app store. And just like that, the future of 45 people was uncertain. Despite several frantic phone calls, this employee wouldn’t relent, or acknowledge that he was ruining lives.
The apps are still not back on the app store, but AppGratis isn’t giving up yet. In the interim, they’ve launched their platform for Android, bringing app discovery to a whole new platform, and they’ve made progress towards expanding their platform, and planning for the future. Still, thanks to Apple their future is uncertain. Read Dawlat’s more detailed post on the subject, to see exactly how horrible this is.
Should Corporations possess this much power, to build and destroy entire businesses?
Good news if you live in the state of Connecticut. The ban that’s been in place on Connecticut Amazon affiliates has finally been lifted, and Amazon is now accepting CT-based associates. Other banned states (Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, or Rhode Island) are still closed to affiliates. So what changed?
Amazon hasn’t allowed affiliate from these states, because these states would consider these people Amazon employees, and tax Amazon as if they were located in the state. To avoid these taxes, Amazon has steered clear of CT (and the other listed states) for several years.
Amazon recently decided to build a multi-million dollar fulfillment center in Connecticut. Therefore, they’re already going to be paying Connecticut taxes, and affiliates pose no problem. Recently, they slyly updated their terms and conditions to allow CT affiliates, and applications from the state are already being approved.
Amazon has no plans to reopen Affiliate ties in any of the other banned states right now.
In this week’s earnings call on Q2 of 2013, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer explained his prediction of decreased margins by “a different product mix” in June, confirming multiple changes to Apple’s existing line of hardware.
Other hints were dropped by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook on the call, who mentioned “new hardware and software services”, “exciting new product categories”- maybe Television, and a lot more surprises through 2013, as Apple continues its’ focus on the long term. Cook elaborated that he was “very excited…[about] these potential new categories”.
It’s also going to be a nice fall, with Cook clarifying also, that “we’ve got some really exciting stuff coming through the fall and all of 2013″.
For a more specific offering of what to expect, check out our full predictions for Apple 2013.