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Presselite’s iTunes dirty tricks campaign targets Malcolm Barclay

Malcolm Barclay is a well known and respected developer of such brilliant applications as Tube Status, NextBuses, Tube Deluxe and London Bus. Chances are if you live in the UK, you either have one of his applications or you’re standing next to someone who does.

Recently, Malcolm was a little shocked to find that a competing developer — Presselite — had more or less duplicated his London Tube Deluxe icon, thus:

Malcolm’s London Tube Deluxe is the app above. Presselite’s one is below.

That’s a bit too similar, no?

Especially given their old icon looked like this:

Malcolm wrote a post on his blog highlighting what’s been going on.

Presselite didn’t just copy his London Tube Deluxe icon. Oh no. They went to town on his London Bus app too!

That’s Malcolm’s app first, at the top. You’ll see they’ve decided to use his London Tube Deluxe icon for their app. As Malcolm points out, this kind of behaviour does — sadly — work. Remember that he’s got 2 years of goodwill stored up from hundreds of thousands of users who all recognise his London Tube Deluxe app based on it’s icon. Which Presselite copied. For both travel apps.

For a brief moment (several weeks plus) the application sells a lot more. Together with the rating being rigged & Presselite’s stealing of my icon their London Bus application went from well outside the top 20 in UK Travel & rocketed up to No.10 in a matter of days.

I could feel poor Malcolm going absolutely nuts with the next move by Presselite: They decided to claim their London Tube app was the original, top selling tube app in their description.

Here’s what Malcolm had to say on that issue:

They are now telling everyone in the app descriptions that together with the copied icon their apps are the ‘Original’ versions. For example:

“London Bus is the original and top selling application for getting around London.”

“London Tube is the original and top selling application for getting around London.”

London Bus is not a top selling application nor the original. Its current position in the charts is the result of copying my icon for Tube Deluxe and rigging the rating. In Presselite’s description they say London Bus is ‘comprehensive’; it covers 26 routes of very inner city London only (even then not all of them), there are more than 750 bus routes in London. London Journey Planner & my London Bus app were out well before Presselite released their comprehensive con.

Once again yet another prime example of Presselites stupidity, lying & deceiving tactics in the iTunes App Store.

You’d think Apple’s App Store editors would see this nonsense happening, wouldn’t you?

What happened next?

Well, Malcolm got tough:

I have instructed my lawyers to send a cease & desist letter to Presselite regarding their blantant copying of my London Tube Deluxe icon. They now have this, as do Apple.

8 days later, Presselite changed their London Tube & London Bus icons to something else. And a further 14 days later, their London Tube for iPad app has had it’s icon changed.

Not before they managed to sell a heck of a lot of apps.

This kind of behaviour really doesn’t appeal to me at all. Yes I’m all for capitalism; but underhanded bullshit like claiming your application is the first and original — when it clearly isn’t — no, that’s not good at all.

I’m pleased that the matter is resolved.

But if you’re a mobile developer, do watch for other competitors aiming to pass off their app with yours.

Really bad form, Presselite.

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