App Store Gets Heat for Admitting ‘The Sun’

CUPERTINO, Calif.—For the three people left in the world who still believe Apple’s harsh App Store policy is not about currying favor with major mainstream content producers in order to position all iThings as must-have devices, the fact that Rupert Murdoch’s raunchy U.K.-based tabloid The Sun made it past the censors should clear their heads as well.

The story is getting its fair share of press because of the hoo-haw over Apple’s restrictive (and now selective) policy, which nonetheless seems to ebb and flow with the tide of opportunity. A Playboy app was approved, after all, so how could they keep out The Sun?

Even CNET’s usually rational Chris Matyszczyk stoked the story with the headline “Should Apple allow English porn iPad app?” While sort of conceding that content found in The Sun is not porn—and comes to the conclusion that “Banning the Sun would be the equivalent of banning warm beer, fish, and chips (doused in salt and vinegar) and talking without moving your lips”—his rationale for not booting the tabloid is because of its unique cultural standing in England.

“The Sun is regarded with such benevolence in English culture that those with a more uptight way of life might find it hard to grasp,” he wrote. “The Sun is actually very easy to grasp, given that in your corner shop it doesn't sit on the top shelf next to Playboy and Hustler. It sits next to the Guardian and the Times. Good Lord, it's owned by the same people who own the Times.”

Matyszczyk is a good writer and I like reading his columns, but this particular point of view is ridiculous. The Sun is not porn in any way, shape or form, even if it does allow topless photos, which some people find offensive—and many idiots in America believe is in fact porn. (But they are idiots.)

There is no need to twist oneself into a pretzel coming up with rationalizations on behalf of Apple. When it is self-serving for the company to approve a real porn app, it will do so in the blink of an eye and never apologize for having done so. That is how it works in the corporate world, whether we are talking about media, oil, healthcare, the military or anything other bloody thing.

Let’s put it this way. If Apple via Steve Jobs were to boot The Sun, how long would it take for Murdoch to pull the Wall Street Journal app from the App Store? My guess is a New York Minute.

The app is available for $7.99 from the App Store. According to TechCrunch, the price gets you the download and one month of access. Thereafter, one needs to subscribe for the same amount per month. 

"It’s all part of Rupert 'King Canute' Murdoch’s attempt to keep the sea of free content at bay," wrote Mike Butcher.