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9/29/2008
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Apple Tweaks App Store Policies

The company is hoping to stop shady developers from propping up their applications with fake reviews, as well as keep users who haven't tried it from posting negative reviews.

Apple has tweaked the way applications are reviewed and listed in the App Store over the weekend, potentially easing relationships with developers.

Applications will now be categorized by their release date by default. Before the change, any updated application was listed in the new category, thus boosting its sales rate even though it's not technically new.

Additionally, the company has changed the review policy so that reviews can only come from users who have purchased or downloaded the program. This potentially stops shady developers from propping up their applications with fake reviews, as well as keep users who haven't tried it from posting negative reviews.

The industry recently saw the latter occur when the highly anticipated PC game Spore was flooded with bad reviews on Amazon.com because it included what many considered draconian DRM.

These moves could potentially ease a growing frustration that some developers are having with Apple regarding the App Store. Apple determines which programs get into its store, and some are criticizing the company for not being more transparent in its vetting process.

The company has also faced criticism for pulling the iPhone Podcaster app because it duplicated functionality of the desktop version of iTunes, according to the developer.

But Apple seems to be doing something right, as users of the iPhone and iPod Touch are on pace to download a billion programs sometime in 2009. While most of these apps are free, a successful sold app can make developers a lot of money -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently said the store generated $30 million in sales for its first month.

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