UPDATE: Apple Axes iTether

Carrier-free tethering app was only available for a few hours

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UPDATE: Apple Axes iTether
[ Business]

In a move that should suprise no one, iTether, an app that allowed people to tether their phones to their computers without purchasing a carrier tethering plan, has been pulled from the Apple App Store. The app became available early this morning and caused quite a stir across Twitter and the blogosphere. The universal reaction was surprise at the app’s approval, and the expectation that it would be removed at any moment. That moment appears to have come, as the app can no longer be found in the App Store.

Reactions to the app’s removal on Twitter were consistent with previous expectations: no one was surprised.

ITether has now been pulled from the app store – didn’t think it would last that long 4 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto

What is perhaps most interesting is the reaction of the app’s publisher, Tether, who have been manning their Twitter feed all morning fielding questions about the app. They defend their lack of any formal arrangements with the carriers:

@taylor9209 We do not have any legal arrangements with the carriers. In fact, we help carriers upsell more data. 6 hours ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

They also claim that they followed the App Store’s strict guidelines closely, and point out that they made no secret of what iTether did:

@bradycreel Apple has pretty strict guidelines which we followed. In addition, we were very clear to what our app did when launching. 9 hours ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

What do you think? Was Apple right to pull iTether? Was Tether right to even submit it in the first place, knowing it would be pulled? Let us know in the comments.

UPDATE: Apple Axes iTether
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  • http://www.PlacesToEatOkay.com Steven

    Well consider that sprint is pretty much the only carrier to actually give unlimited data, even without slowing down the connection after a certain cap that I don’t understand the greed of companies where their phones already have these capabilities and the app simply unlocks that capability. If a user runs over their caps, they will have to pay data overages which can be very costly or even end up with slower connections for other carriers. Basically since to tether your phones many carriers charge extra each month for this option basically Apple is protecting the rights of the carriers to charge for certain services. The bad part is there are a few apps that already offer tethering, but require the phones to be unlocked in some way, which is sometimes easy to do, depending on the carrier. Figure most carriers charge anywhere from $15-$25 a month to tether, the fees collected in overages can be far over that amount if a user were to tether their phone and be on say AT&T or Verizon and run up their data usage. So when you think about it, I think carriers need to rethink their tethering fee and give tethering away for free, or allow a tethering app to unlock it. Imagine all the people who want to use tethering but don’t want to pay the extra money that end up paying the extra money anyways in data overage fees or end up upgrading their plans and paying more anyways. So the carriers need to rethink their fee based tethering.

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