Facebook’s iPhone Dev Quits Project Due To Apple’s Approval Process

Joe Hewitt, the man at Facebook behind the wildly popular Facebook app for iPhone [App Store] has just announced that he’s left the project. “Time for me to try something new. I’ve handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer, and I’m onto a new project,” said Hewitt earlier today on Twitter. Over the life of the Facebook app, Joe’s essentially been the only dev working on the app, making this an extremely significant move. He’s moved on to another project a Facebook, although we haven’t heard who Facebook plans to put in his place.

After the announcement, TechCrunch caught up with Hewitt where he said that the move was due to Apple’s approval policies:

My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.

The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.”

We very much agree with Hewitt and hope that Apple takes note. In the past Mr. Hewitt has voiced his opinions regarding the App Store’s approval process, saying in a blog post that “the review process needs to be eliminated completely.”

We’re hoping to get Mr. Hewitt on the iPhone Alley Podcast to talk further about his feelings as an ex-iPhone app developer so stay tuned for that!

[TechCrunch via Craig Hockenberry]

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