Apple has now shut down Google’s ability to distribute its internal iOS apps, following a similar shutdown that was issued to Facebook earlier this week. A person familiar with the situation tells The Verge that early versions of Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail, and other pre-release beta apps have stopped working today, alongside employee-only apps like a Gbus app for transportation and Google’s internal cafe app.
Let's be clear: this does not effect their consumer-facing app. And both Facebook and Google can still keep testing and developing their apps, with beta testing via TestFlight. But this is still a serious punishment for both companies.
It's also fascinating — and telling — that this sort of user data harvesting is so important to both companies that they were prepared to break their Enterprise Developer agreement with Apple. The reason is pretty obvious. As John Gruber muses:
Makes you wonder how many companies are abusing the enterprise beta stuff to effectively side-load apps onto iPhones that would never pass muster in the App Store.
And this is very clearly what's happening here: both companies found themselves a technical loophole to get data-sucking apps onto people's iPhones. As I alluded to yesterday, there's an arrogance to these company's attitude to data; they feel entitled to it.
I need to get on with reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.