Editorial: Want That App? Suck It

Ever read a review of an iOS or Mac App on a site such as this one, and went straight to the App Store to purchase it and then discovered it wasn’t there? No? Well, neither have I.  It’s likely that this hasn’t happened to you because even though Apple runs individual App Stores for many different countries throughout the world, they appear to be relatively homogenous, and tend to offer the same apps.

However, on Friday morning, Apple added a tiny little disclaimer sentence to the bottom of the online Apple Store which says “Some applications are not available in all areas. Application availability is subject to change“.  Over-analysing this change, what could have possibly prompted this?  Does Apple regularly receive large number of e-mails bitching about apps not being available in certain regions, or is it simply a transparent way to avoid a legal issue?  Given the amount of folk who decide to sue Apple for extraordinarily random complaints, it wouldn’t be surprising if it were the latter.

However, for those who are interested, at first glance it looks like there isn’t a huge amount of difference in the apps available in each country. In the US Mac App Store, for instance, there are 1655 apps available in the Productivity category. Contrast that with Canada and there are 1651 Productivity apps, but looking at the UK, there are 1644 Productivity apps (11 less than US). Digging a little deeper, in the iOS App Store, there are 6105 Productivity apps in the US, but only 6069 in the UK and 6066 in the Canadian App Store.

Boring, yet interesting.

Of course, there are regional differences and restrictions on what apps are available in a particular country.  The app for Sirius XM radio is a classic example.  It’s in the US app store but not in the UK app store.  This means that the UK is missing out on the Howard Stern show.  But what else are they missing out on?

This therefore brings up an interesting question?  Do app developers regularly elect not to have their app made available in a particular country?

Haha – France.  I visited you on holiday last year and you left me only a hole in the ground for a toilet.  You are no longer getting the opportunity to purchase my fart app…Suck it“.

We may never know.


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  • Naga

    I live in the UK. I frequently cannot find an app here. They do sometimes appear later on, but often after a lengthy wait.

    Microsoft OneNote has only recently been released here.

    NASA for iPhone was available, but not for iPad. I sent NASA a request via the iPhone app, the next day, the iPad version was available. Thanks NASA!

    No Starbucks or Western Union apps. No iPad app for TiVo. And so on…..

  • Anonymous

    As far as I’m concerned, the App Store can “Suck It”!  Not a fan.

  • Prof. Peabody

    I think you are wrong on this.  This “app not available in your country” stuff happens to me all the time.  The reason it doesn’t happen to the author is not because there is so much homogeneity between stores, but because the author is in the USA.  

    There are many apps that are available on the Japanese store for instance that I would like to use but will never be available in North America, and the same goes for most of the European stores. 

    As someone living in Canada, and given the fact that the majority of developers only think of the USA at first, it’s quite a frequent occurrence to hear about some app only to have the link tell you that it isn’t available in my country.  

  • Willhebbron

    No access to Angry Birds in the Korean app store!!! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=694461618 Dan Uff

    We developers choose which countries to make our apps in.  I have two apps with U.S. only information.  It would make no sense to have the same app in, say, Finland or even Iraq.

  • Brent Priddy

    Developers are also restricted by the crypto used in the applications as well.  If you use certain levels of crypto you are unable to “export” your application in other countries’ AppStores 

  • Hias

    I understand perfectly why developers would do that. Only it’s the wrong way around: I would show the US market the finger because of the wild west style patent situation you guys have going.

  • Technophile

    Actually for legal reasons certain applications can, or cannot, be sold / made available in other countries. Usually the manufacturer obtains and sets it up so that they will sell in multiple countries, but not always. There are even more restrictions when it comes to apps involving other companies / organization’s product. BBC, for example, allows viewing of their television shows in the UK and subsequent colonies, but not in the US. This is on the web, not in an app.

    • http://www.applebitch.com AppleBitch

      Yep, as referenced in the Sirius example