Apple reportedly fired a number of employees working in China whose roles involved working with developers who distribute their apps via the App Store.
It’s reported that the firings were the result of an internal audit that began in 2022 and concluded mid-way through 2023. It’s said that more than half a dozen workers in the Chinese App Store portion of Apple’s business were involved.
The employees involved reportedly worked in multiple departments involved in helping developers get their apps approved as well as aiding them in increasing revenue. Some were also involved in choosing which apps were featured in the App Store, but it doesn’t appear that any were directly responsible for approving or rejecting apps via the App Store review process.
The Information reports that some of those fired were let go because of « unsanctioned contact with game developers and their consultants, » with Apple enforcing strict guidelines around the communication employees can have with people creating apps. It’s said that some workers accepted complimentary meals and nights out.
This all goes against what are described as strict rules around the contact employees can have with developers. « Employees working in app review and editorial roles, for example, aren’t allowed to meet with developers without prior approval, » the report says. « And employees working in developer relations and business management can meet with developers but aren’t allowed to accept expensive gifts or meals. »
It isn’t clear what the full extent of the investigation was, but it’s clear that Apple wants to ensure as much impartiality as possible when it comes to people working with app developers. Getting an app into the App Store’s featured slots can make or break an app or game, for example. It’s easy to see why they might be targets for special treatment.