It seems the App Store’s top cop has committed some explaining to do. Two separate reports on Wednesday have found that Phillip Shoemaker, Director, Applications Technology, but really, in charge of the App Store approval process, has a few skeletons in the closet.
The juiciest portion, as typical of these stories, revolve around Apple’s stance on porn. Steve Jobs famously once said that the Android platform was where users should go to get porn (in a “Do as I say, not as I do” moment), ignoring, of course, how easy it is to find porn on the web with Mobile Safari. It’s also humorous that the iPhone 4 is becoming popular with phone sex operators. Philip Shoemaker and Twitter just add icing to the cake.
As reported by Gawker, Shoemaker’s Twitter accounts was a bit “porny.” We use the word “was” because he’s since deleted the account. The problem is that Shoemaker was following at least 16 porn stars and escorts on Twitter. Naturally, that doesn’t mean that he’s using escort services or watching porn (he’s a guy, though!), but it’s decidedly not in line with Jobs and his need to be “censor for all.”
That’s just part one of the story. The second part, as noted by Wired, is that Shoemaker, AKA the “App Store Police Chief,” has seven apps in the App Store under the company pseudonym Gray Noodle. These include the really classy titles “Animal Farts” and a urination simulator called iWiz.
The problem is that Apple employees are not allowed to sell apps in the App Store without a VP-level exception. Of course, if Shoemaker’s apps were approved prior to his employment at Apple, that’s OK, and that’s where Apple says he is safe. They indicated that his apps were submitted before his employment.
Anyone who’s looked at the “release” dates on apps in the App Store will note they seem to be dated when they are submitted, not when they are approved, as sometimes you can see a month or more before the release date and when they appear. iWiz, for example, has a release date of April 17, 2009, and Shoemaker started at Apple on March 9, 2009.
It’s possible, however, that Shoemaker received an exception. As Evan Doll, a former senior iPhone software engineer at Apple, whose current company produces the popular Flipboard iPad app, told Wired, “If he was doing it pre-Apple then he’d have an easier time getting an exception.”
If he’s indeed innocent, he’s sure acting guilty. Not only did Shoemaker delete his Twitter account, as noted above, he updated his LinkedIn profile to remove any mention of Gray Noodle.