Former App Store Review Lead Phillip Shoemaker Seems to Have an Oddly Personal Grudge Against Phil Schiller

Neil Long, writing at, has an interesting interview with Phillip Shoemaker, who ran App Store review at Apple from 2009 to 2016:

Apple’s app review process remains a huge problem for mobile game-makers as they navigate vague guidelines and inconsistent rulings. So we asked Shoemaker for his thoughts on how Apple can fix it:

“The way to solve that inconsistency — and I hate to say it — is: let’s take a page from Google,” he told us. “Especially now with the AI tools that are out there. You can do probably 80% of the work the review team does.”

In the era of app stores, it’s seemed pretty clear that Apple’s has had fewer problems with malware slipping through than Google’s. I’m not aware of a single iOS developer who doesn’t think the App Store, especially review, can and should be improved in numerous ways. But neither “make it more like the Play Store” nor “use AI for review” sounds right to me.

Also, App Store review times have decreased from an average of about 5 days to 1 day since Shoemaker left Apple in 2016. (And my understanding is that new automation tools are a big part of that process improvement. Shoemaker’s gripes about App Store review seem stuck in 2016.)

Schiller appears to be the last holdout when it comes to automating app review compared to Apple SVPs Eddy Cue, Greg ‘Joz’ Joswiak and App Store VP Matt Fischer. “I think the way to radically improve the App Store is have Phil be an Apple fellow and get his hands off the App Store,” says Shoemaker. “That’s what they really need to do. Eddy’s more progressive, Joz is more progressive, and we know Matt is as well. Phil just needs to get his meaty paws off the App Store.”

“If Phil doesn’t step back, it’ll absolutely be the courts making changes,” Shoemaker continues.

If I worked at Apple I’d print up a “Meaty Paws” sign and tape it to Schiller’s door.

“Phil needs to step back, I think that’s the main thing — new blood needs to come in there and make some changes because cutting the price and opening up the guidelines to allow new interesting things is going to be critical.”

Phil Schiller, of course, is the executive who suggested decreasing Apple’s rake in a memo back in 2011.

“It was tough working for Phil…he was one of those guys that would love to throw insults at people, right? I mean he had no boundaries — he’d insult your children and you’re like: ‘Why am I working at this company again?’”

Shoemaker would regularly get feedback from his kids on apps and games and use that feedback in the ERB meetings. “Phil would say things like, oh, that’s a stupid thing to say, are your kids that dumb? And you’re like, are you freaking kidding me?”

Seems like the two Phils did not get along. No word from Shoemaker on whether iWiz is coming back to the App Store, either.

Friday, 23 June 2023