Apple bans third-most prolific developer from the App Store

When the App Store launched, it was relatively bare, leaving it an untapped resource for new (and seasoned) developers. There have been many success stories, which have led to other developers wanting in; if you look around the store today, you might see hundreds of applications that do the near exact same job, except all by the same developer. This is a classic example of monetizing the community, without regard for quality, and Apple seems to have had enough of it. TechCrunch's MobileCrunch division is reporting that the developer Khalid Shaikh, responsible for 943 applications, has been banned from submitting any further products to the App Store.

Shaikh has been submitting to the App Store for just short of nine months, so as MobileCrunch calculates, with 250 days and 943 applications, that's about 5 applications a day, every day. And, sadly enough, they were pretty popular... no profit estimations were given, but it's suspected that Khalid was pulling in a few thousand dollars daily. Apparently, Apple claimed that they, "continue to receive the same or similar types of complaints regarding [his] Applications despite [Apple's] repeated notices to [Khalid Shaikh]." So, without a forewarning, they banned him from the Store and notified him via email, which we've included below for reference.

Shaikh said that he was going for lower product value and higher monetization, which means he prefers to build a large number of applications and set a fairly hefty price for them. This shows, as he doesn't provide much support for his business, and a large portion of applications have bugs. As you can understand, other developers were quite annoyed at his behavior as well, as much of his software is simply just aggregated news feeds or other very simple examples. If you look for the developer Brighthouse Labs on the App Store, you can find another operation similar to the one Khalid had going.

Situations like this point out some issues with Apple's reviewing process with the App Store, which a large amount of developers criticize, but hopefully they're learning from the experience. Again, here is Apple's email to Khalid, for you to peruse:

From:
Date: Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 4:45 PM
Subject: Notice of Termination
To: XXXXXXXXX@gmail.com

Please include the line below in follow-up emails for this request.
Follow-up: 79376777

July 24, 2009

Khalid Shaikh
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXX, California 9XXXX

Dear Mr. Shaikh:

This letter serves as notice of termination of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement (the "iDP Agreement") and the Registered iPhone Developer Agreement (the "Registered Developer Agreement") between you and Apple, effective immediately.

Pursuant to Section 3.2(d) of the iDP Agreement, you agreed that "to the best of Your knowledge and belief, Your Application and Licensed Application Information do not and will not violate, misappropriate, or infringe any Apple or third party copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy and publicity, trade secrets, patents, or other proprietary or legal rights (e.g. musical composition or performance rights, video rights, photography or image rights, logo rights, third party data rights, etc. for content and materials that may be included in Your Application)." Apple has informed you of numerous third party intellectual property complaints concerning over 100 of your Applications and reminded you of your obligations to obtain the necessary rights prior to submission of your Applications. Nevertheless, we continue to receive the same or similar types of complaints regarding your Applications despite our repeated notices to you. The persistent nature of such complaints has led us to conclude that you are entering into the representations and warranties in the iDP Agreement in bad faith by misrepresenting that you have all the necessary rights for your submissions.

As required by Section 12.3 of the iDP Agreement and Section 8 of the Registered Developer Agreement, please erase and destroy all copies, full or partial, of the Apple Software and any information pertaining to the services and all copies of Apple Confidential Information in your and your Authorized Developers' possession or control. After you have completed those steps, please provide certification of that destruction to Apple, as provided in Section 12.3 and Section 8. Finally, please note your additional obligations on termination as set forth in those same sections. This letter is not intended as a complete statement of fact with respect to the subject matter hereof, and nothing in this letter should be construed as a waiver of any rights or remedies Apple may have in connection with this matter, all of which are expressly reserved.

Sincerely,

Worldwide Developer Relations (WWDR)
Apple Inc.

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46 Comments

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Wow. I can't imagine pushing out that many applications in such a short time. What were they, the same app with different skins? LOL That's just insane, and should have gotten Apple's attention sooner than this one would think... I'm glad they got rid of him though.

Anyone else thinking of grabbing the SDK and pumping out some crappy Apps at a slower rate to make the bucks like this guy??

-T- said,
Anyone else thinking of grabbing the SDK and pumping out some crappy Apps at a slower rate to make the bucks like this guy??

LOL It's an interesting scheme for sure...

Good to see that instead of reviewing the applications before dumping them on the marketplace, Apple chooses to just ban the guy.

Wait, no, that's actually exactly what I don't approve of. Classic Apple. Instead of fixing the problem, they "make it go away."

If the guy is determined to cheat people and break rules, he will most probably be back in the app store under a different name. Im not aware of what proof apple requires to join as a submitter of apps, but I'm assuming they want credit card information and address proof, both of which are easy to fake.

i am glad that apple got rid of a disgusting developer who was scamming ppl but apples should require a cost like ms but lower and give a new developer say a 3 month probation period so see weather they are good or not so apple i know you can see and read this i suggest you ease your godamn restrictions even just a bit on ALL your stuff. if you want to become popular you need to look like a good alternative to ms but your godamn heavy restrictions and drm crap prevent that and theres a reason i dislike you apple and tell all not to use ur crap as there are better alternatives out there.

Apple should make the apps free for the first 24 hours or for the first 5 uses. After that, if the user keeps the app, they should get charged. That way, users can try out and delete crappy apps and developers are forced to develop good apps that people actually find useful.

But I guess Apple doesn't really care about people, only profit.

WHo does this. Nobody in the world does this, so i guess everybody doesn't care about people, only profit, including Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, everybody. Can I suggest you look up what logic is?

I agree with kheldorin that he was smart enough to take advantage of the idiots who buy his crap but the thing that annoys me about letting him sell so much crap in the first place is the fact that it makes it really hard to find decent applications if you're browsing through the App Store. I would really appreciate it if Apple have some kind of policy that weeds out abandoned apps from the App Store or apps that consistently get poor ratings. Some kind of user vote that gets rid of crap.
Also, the other developers have a right to be upset because most of them probably work hard to bring original content to their apps or have legal agreements to get content from someone else and this jerk is stealing content and taking customers away from other developers.

There are websites that break down app activity including updates, price changes, etc.

Probably should be part of the app store, but the sites are there.

Apple need to offer some kind of try-before-you-buy to protect customers from developers like this one.

However, some things kheldorin said are right. The customers, sadly, are the ones buying his apps and they are ultimately the ones affected by their purchases on the App Store.

So I guess the free market system doesn't work in this case and regulations are needed because the consumers are too stupid? How could a company making bad products have such high demand and make such profits? Usually, bad reputation spreads and people will know through reputation which alternative applications are the best to install.

That forum link showed nothing btw, just a bunch of racist comments. To other developers and possible more sophisticated people, his programs ARE crap. But I guess people have the right to buy crap if they so wish. He's just taking advantage of people who buy stupid stuff on impulse. Which I think is fine. It's not as if the top videos in youtube are sophisticated. He's probably taking advantage of the MySpace type of people or something and he's the MySpace type of developer. So he's not scamming anyone, the consumers are scamming themselves. Notice that complaints are NOT coming from the purchasers but from OTHER developers who possbile have more sophisticated apps that are much less profitable than his. He's just smart in knowing that the owners of this particular type of smartphone aren't exactly smart. What do you expect from people who bought the iPhone? Selling overpriced inferior products to people who buy Apple products. Sounds like a fine strategy to me.

kheldorin said,
So I guess the free market system doesn't work in this case and regulations are needed because the consumers are too stupid? How could a company making bad products have such high demand and make such profits? Usually, bad reputation spreads and people will know through reputation which alternative applications are the best to install.

That forum link showed nothing btw, just a bunch of racist comments. To other developers and possible more sophisticated people, his programs ARE crap. But I guess people have the right to buy crap if they so wish. He's just taking advantage of people who buy stupid stuff on impulse. Which I think is fine. It's not as if the top videos in youtube are sophisticated. He's probably taking advantage of the MySpace type of people or something and he's the MySpace type of developer. So he's not scamming anyone, the consumers are scamming themselves. Notice that complaints are NOT coming from the purchasers but from OTHER developers who possbile have more sophisticated apps that are much less profitable than his. He's just smart in knowing that the owners of this particular type of smartphone aren't exactly smart. What do you expect from people who bought the iPhone? Selling overpriced inferior products to people who buy Apple products. Sounds like a fine strategy to me.


Indeed. Though he is clearly cynical in his approach, unless he was actually deceiving people, I don't see what the big deal is. I wish I was making thousands a week, let alone a day. Perhaps the other programmers are jealous of his, albeit ill-deserved, success.

If people are prepared to pay for crap, let them have it.

Caveat emptor

I agree with most of your points. I think the biggest issue though, was his violation of copyright laws with programs like iDoom that Xenomorph mentioned. If he wasn't breaking laws, then I say yeah, you deserve what you get if you're dumb enough to buy without a bit of research. People don't take responsibility for themselves or their decisions anymore.

wakers01 said,
I agree with most of your points. I think the biggest issue though, was his violation of copyright laws with programs like iDoom that Xenomorph mentioned. If he wasn't breaking laws, then I say yeah, you deserve what you get if you're dumb enough to buy without a bit of research. People don't take responsibility for themselves or their decisions anymore.

I suppose you could also say that his actions are also cluttering an already bloated appstore, where it is becoming increasingly difficult to find what you are looking for. Apple should really do an annual store-wide spring cleaning - get rid of some of those fart-apps.

step 1. write app
step 2. submit to app store
step 3. ???
step 4. profit!

you have to really wonder what '???' means in this case...

Yeah, I recognized this douche-bag's name.

He sold tons of absolutely retarded apps for $4.99. Many of them violated countless copyright laws.

One of the big ones: He sold "iDoom" for $4.99. It had screenshots from the DOOM games, and it looked it was something like Doom from id Software (which hasn't been released yet).
All it was is some sub-par soundboard with a selection of WAV files from the game. Anyone who was dumb enough to buy it without reading the reviews would find it was an absolutely worthless application.

After coming across "iDOOM", I decided to see what other quality software this idiot sold. I was AMAZED when I came to page after page after page of junk software.

Good riddance.

"Apple bans third-most prolific developer from the App Store"

And who is the first and second most prolific developer?.

Can someone give an example of the apps he made? I don't want to install iTunes on my computer.
EDIT: Just found the whole list! Careful if you have a slow computer it might cause your browser to crash!
http://www.yappler.com/Developer/98920/Khalid-Shaikh.aspx
These programs are just ridiculous. Apple probably let them go just to reach 50,000 apps early.

I can now see why Microsoft charges a fee for submitting to their store, but $100 is still ridiculous.

LOL, yea he did help Apple reach that many apps. More proof that the Apps are just quick and small things (which are basically useless to me). I bet there's lots of other developers that make one app a day. Like one's that you just shoot a "virtual" shotgun. Who ever needs that?!?

I don't think Microsoft's fees are ridiculous at all. It ensures that the apps that are submitted are of high quality. It's only $100 annually, and students can submit for free.

"Tic Tac is Tic Tac Toe for your iPhone The best game to ply when you re bored in a doctors office on the subway or wherever Challenge"

He charges 5 bucks for a tic-tac-toe application and he can't even spell...?
By the way, this number applications cannot be done by a single person, he was subcontracting.

How could he possibly be developing anything worthwhile at an average of 5 applications PER DAY. Sounds like they made the right move.

He has 26 employees, so its not THAT ridiculous as it sounds. The problem is a lot of his apps uses copyright materials, which I have no idea how they got approved by Apple in the first place. So this is partially Apple's fault as they have a hand in it.

mayamaniac said,
He has 26 employees, so its not THAT ridiculous as it sounds. The problem is a lot of his apps uses copyright materials, which I have no idea how they got approved by Apple in the first place. So this is partially Apple's fault as they have a hand in it.

What he was doing was just creating an app that had 5 pictures of people, or displaying an rss feed from the internet in the table. As a matter of fact, he could produce 50 of these a day. There must be some process where Apple limits how many you can add a day, and thankfully they do.

It is not up to apple to decide what is copyrighted or not, or it would take months for the simplest of Apps. Just as Microsoft isn't responsible for what people put in there programs, or maybe Nintendo would be a better example. You just can't do it.

Now if Google would only do this on the Android Market we could be rid of him as well. His apps are pure crap and all he does is spam them. It's getting rather old.

acidic-e- said,
Now if Google would only do this on the Android Market we could be rid of him as well. His apps are pure crap and all he does is spam them. It's getting rather old.

You have come across the one big disadvantage to being open, to the many advantages.

fair enough getting rid of bad developers and couldn't have come at a better time for Apple really considering the current FCC status :)

Although I have to disagree with simon360's comment on how it must have been hard for Apple in a monetary decision? If it was several thousand an hour possibly but say $5000.00USD a day at 30% that's only $1500.00USD not exactly a big loss to them is it?

$1,500 per day is $547,500 per annum.
You're saying decreasing their profit by half a million dollars a year is not a big loss?

shhac said,
$1,500 per day is $547,500 per annum.
You're saying decreasing their profit by half a million dollars a year is not a big loss?

Actually it isn't.

Firstly, it isn't half a million, as a certain % of that 30% Apple keeps pays for bandwidth etc

Secondly, Apple makes about 4-5B a year in profit. So even assuming it is half a mil, it would present only 0.01% of it's profit.

A half a mil a year my not be big in the grand scheme of things but it is still a loss. Big companies nit pick every penny. Don't think they aren't sad to see that income leave. But on the other hand you could say that this guys crap apps may turn away new iPhone users which could cost more then $500k. I am sure they analyzed the pros and cons and decided it would be cheaper to ban this guy then to turn away customers and possibly have another dev start a law suit against Apple.

ermax said,
A half a mil a year my not be big in the grand scheme of things but it is still a loss. Big companies nit pick every penny. Don't think they aren't sad to see that income leave. But on the other hand you could say that this guys crap apps may turn away new iPhone users which could cost more then $500k. I am sure they analyzed the pros and cons and decided it would be cheaper to ban this guy then to turn away customers and possibly have another dev start a law suit against Apple.

When you take into account how much resources they were wasting on this guy, they probably weren't making that much of a profit to justify it.

He was hated by a lot of the developers. There is a lengthy forum thread over at Toucharcade.com where developers were complaining about him and some had contacted Apple. Seems to have worked.

Good to know that Apple banned the guy. Must be a hard decision, if he was making "a few thousand dollars a day", then Apple would've been profiting from that (about 30% if I remember correctly). Good to know they do value quality in the App Store, and I hope they continue to show this dedication further, as so much of the app store is utter crap.

simon360 said,
Good to know that Apple banned the guy. Must be a hard decision, if he was making "a few thousand dollars a day", then Apple would've been profiting from that (about 30% if I remember correctly). Good to know they do value quality in the App Store, and I hope they continue to show this dedication further, as so much of the app store is utter crap.

Hopefully they also remove his applications...

Sounds like he was basically scamming a lot of users. Glad they got rid of him, hopefully they file charges and take a good portion of that money back.