CYBERSPACE—Phillip Shoemaker, the director of Apple App Store, is getting a lot of flack after a Wired article revealed that he apparently was following 16 porn stars and escorts on his personal Twitter account, which has since been closed. The brouhaha, such as it is, is developing because of Apple’s notorious anti-porn policy on the App Store, a policy that Shoemaker is tasked with overseeing.
The Wired story also revealed that Shoemaker works for an app company called Gray Noodle, which makes appealing apps such as "iWiz," a urination simulator, and "Animal Farts," a farting app. Appealing to 12-year-old boys, that is. The implication in that revelation, of course, is that Apple is being inconsistent in blocking sexy apps if it’s going to approve ones such as Gray Noodle’s.
Shoemaker is an Apple employee, though, and can hardly be held personally responsible for the App Store policy he must follow. Still, the ironies abound, and it is not surprising that as soon as Wired’s Brian X. Chen started inquiring about Shoemaker’s Twitter account, it was swiftly deleted and he reportedly “updated his LinkedIn profile to remove mention of Gray Noodle.”
Though Shoemaker himself did not comment, an Apple representative did respond to a Wired query, and defended Shoemaker and his apps.
“Phillip’s apps were written, submitted and approved before he became an Apple employee,” the spokesperson said. “His experience and perspective as a developer is one of the valuable things he brings to Apple’s developer relations team. Apple’s policy allows for employees to have apps on the App Store if they’re developed and published prior to their start at Apple.”
Chen reported, however, that three of the seven Apps Shoemaker allowed into the App Store on behalf of Gray Noodle weeks after his employment began, and in one case a month later.
Thursday, the trashing of Shoemaker took a dramatic turn for the worse, with Gawker’s ValleyWag blog site posting a story titled, “Rogue Apple Exec Trashes Rivals' 'Mediocre Engineers."
“It's amazing that Phillip Shoemaker still works at Apple,” wrote Ryan Tate. “The app store director obsessed with porn and escorts, as we reported yesterday, has also used Twitter to attack execs at rival companies and media critics, we've learned.”
The story then goes on to characterize Shoemaker’s as “an oddball” and “weird,” and his Tweet blasts at rivals as “audacious” and “ruthless.” Tate also questioned why Apple CEO Steve Jobs would tolerate such an employee.
“Shoemaker, after all, is volubly imprudent where Jobs is, in public at least, famously careful and calculating in all he says—not to mention famously intolerant of talkative underlings,” wrote Tate.
The piece comes off as nothing more than a brutal hatchet-job and can easily be labeled as hypocritical in its own inimitable way, considering the fact that one of Gawkers most popular and profitable websites is Fleshbot, which itself could be “accused” of being obsessed with sex.
Oh, and try finding any mention of Fleshbot on any of the other Gawker properties, including ValleyWag. You won’t; it isn’t there. They don’t want to be directly associated with it.
Pot calling kettle black, anyone?