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Free French app app booted by Apple, triggers 1m-strong petition

'Extrêmement brutale et unilatérale' rages minister

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Almost a million people have signed a petition demanding Apple rethink its decision to pull a popular free-app-finding app from the App Store.

French-designed AppGratis - which describes itself as an "app-discovery" service - was pulled from the App Store earlier this month after falling foul of Apple's new rules regulating apps that promote other apps.

More than 12 million people have already downloaded the software, which offers a daily selection of free apps to download.

Simon Dawlat, AppGratis CEO, wrote: "We have a vibrant 12 million user community behind us. And in less than 2 days, close to one million of them reiterated their commitment to our service by signing our petition.

"We have a killer team. We have cash in the bank that we raised mostly in case of a rough patch (not such a dumb move after all). And we have faith because we know that our work matters to the most important people that we know: our Users – the people who are actually buying the devices, who are actually *choosing* to download the apps we feature."

AppGratis will continue to make app recommendations in a "crazy cool" daily newsletter and also through the "newest and nicest HTML5 webapp you will ever see".

"Reports of our death were greatly exaggerated," Dawlat added. "AppGratis is just getting started."

Dawlat also claimed that the first he heard of Apple's decision was an email telling him they were booting his software out of the store. Some 45 employees work for the company.

Apple revised its App Store rules last September, adding the clause:

Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.

France's junior minister for digital economy, Fleur Pellerin, branded Apple’s decision “extremely brutal and unilateral".

“This behaviour is not worthy of a company of this size," she raged.

Pellerin is planning to raise the matter with the European Commission, in the hope of setting out guidelines governing the management of social media and digital sales channels. ®

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