Apple App Store purge hits legitimate retailers

A premium UK based designer swimwear retailer Simply Beach has fallen victim to Apple's purge of the iTunes App Store.

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A premium UK based designer swimwear retailer Simply Beach has fallen victim to Apple's purge of the iTunes App Store.

Last week Apple began removing around 5,000 applications with names such as Wobble iBoobs from the store, writing to developers to confirm a change in policy.

iPhone applications "originally believed to be suitable for distribution" were now apparently no longer deemed appropriate, said Apple citing "numerous complaints from customers about this type of content."

Apple has asked for those developers targeted to make any necessary changes to applications and resubmit them.

Amongst those feeling unfairly targeted are Simply Beach, a UK based designer swimwear retailer. Apple removed the company's Simply Beach shopping application citing "overtly sexual content."

Both parent group The Simply Group and Simply Beach iPhone developers eXpLoDiNg PHONE based in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, at first thought Apple's decision to yank the application from the iTunes App Store was a joke.

"The email arrived straight to a junk mail folder on Friday and to be honest we thought it was a spam joke." Gerrard Dennis, the Managing Director of The Simply Group who operates Simply Beach along with six other online stores.

"We then checked iTunes to find the app had in fact been removed. It seems like political correctness gone mad. It’s just women in bikinis, swimsuits and kaftans."

Simply Beach has now resubmitted their application to iTunes but with an age limit restriction and asked Apple for clarification on the ruling. They has been some suggestion Apple is purging the iTunes App Store prior to the launch of the iPad in March and April, which is being pitched partly as a family friendly tool for educators.

"We have asked Apple for clarification but have had no reply; we are a small business trying to work in the new mobile world," Gerrard Dennis insists.

"Apple’s cavalier behaviour is not helpful; we had no consultation, just a ‘we removed you email’. We are as keen as anyone to protect children but the images on the app are no more sexual than you would find in any Sunday newspaper, and there is no age restriction on buying those."

"There are plenty of sexual apps in iTunes and to categorise our shopping app as one is ludicrous."

The Simply Group MD also questions how much attention Apple has paid checking content before deleting applications from the iTunes App Store.

"I wonder if anyone at Apple even looked at it or just banned it because it contained the words swimwear and bikini? Certainly there seem to be plenty of other shopping apps still on iTunes that sell swimwear and underwear, maybe it is because we are a specialist bikini store? You can still view all the images via our product feed to Amazon and then via the Amazon app, so what have Apple achieved, certainly not the removal of the images."

According to The Simply Group, the application was launched several months ago and is currently undergoing a further upgrade to include multi currency pricing and video streaming.

"This upgrade is now under threat until we find out where Apple’s puritan values lie. This has put people’s jobs at risk as we rely on all income streams," Gerrard Dennis added.

The Simply Group is a trading name of Simply Scuba Ltd established in 1995. Currently the company employs 24 staff across two locations in Whitstable and Faversham in Kent. Seven online stores have a turnover of around £4 million each year.

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