iPhone Version of Opera Rejected From App Store

I’m getting tons of emails regarding this bit from Saul Hansell’s interview with Opera CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner:

Mr. von Tetzchner said that Opera’s engineers have developed a version of Opera Mini that can run on an Apple iPhone, but Apple won’t let the company release it because it competes with Apple’s own Safari browser.

I don’t see how this is surprising at all. One can argue about whether it’s a good policy for Apple not to allow third-party web browsers on the iPhone, but unlike other rejections, this one is not arbitrary. The iPhone SDK Agreement clearly forbids writing your own JavaScript interpreter. I’m not sure what Apple would do if someone tried to publish a third-party iPhone browser based on the system’s version of WebKit, but a browser based on a third-party engine is clearly not allowed.

Again, I’m not saying that’s a good policy. Just saying it’s different than the rejection of apps that don’t violate any of the published rules.

Update: It’s also possible that the version of Opera Mini they developed for the iPhone doesn’t even have a JavaScript engine, that it’s built with minimalist rendering in mind. If that’s the case, this would be another rejection of an app that doesn’t violate any of the written guidelines. It’s unclear whether that’s the case.

Thursday, 30 October 2008