Tech

Apple brings the hammer down on Google for app that broke its rules, just like it did with Facebook

Key Points
  • Apple restored Google's enterprise developer certificates late Thursday after revoking them earlier in retaliation for an app that violated its policies. 
  • Facebook's certificates were revoked on Wednesday and the move was said to create a stir inside Facebook.
  • This could prevent Google employees from working on beta apps.
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Apple blocks Google from running its internal iOS apps

Apple restored Google's enterprise developer certificates late Thursday after revoking them earlier in retaliation for an app that violated its policies.

The move was first reported by The Verge.

Such a move briefly made it impossible for Google employees to test iPhone apps and use certain internal apps.

Apple did the same thing to Facebook on Wednesday and, until now, it seems that Google might have gotten away for violating the same policies as Facebook. Since then, the iPhone maker has restored Facebook's enterprise certification.

Apple first pulled Facebook's enterprise certificates after a TechCrunch report revealed that the company had been secretly distributing a Facebook Research app to members of a program that allowed the firm to collect data on how they used their devices.

Google was operating a similar program called Screenwise Meter that also skirted Apple's rules. It apologized on Wednesday evening and called its action a "mistake." Both Facebook and Google have shut down the programs on iPhones.

Enterprise certificates let companies develop and install apps without having to publish them to the Apple App Store. But Apple's rules require that the apps are only distributed to employees, not to outside parties.

Apple's decision was said to have "crippled" parts of Facebook, particularly among employees who could no longer access early builds of apps, such as beta versions of Instagram and Facebook Messenger, which they were working on, according to Business Insider. It also prevented Facebookers from using employee-only apps such as Mobile Home and Ride, the latter of which helps with employee transportation.

That means Google's employees could face a similar situation, particularly those who are working on early builds of new applications. Google has lots of popular apps on iPhone including Google Maps, Gmail, Calendar, Hangouts, Google Music and more. One employee who asked to remain anonymous said they were having difficulty accessing an internal app used for checking Google shuttle bus schedules.

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