Has Apple taken action against the apps that cloned the popular web game Wordle? They have now disappeared from the App Store, after many publications (including The edge) called out such a blatant stream of copiers that it was called “Wordle” and featured the same gameplay and user interface, each taking advantage of the fact that developer Josh Wardle didn’t create his own Apple app. While we still see a few clones on the App Store, they don’t use the name Wordle.
Cloned apps were on them today when a developer started bragging about the number of downloads of his version of Wordle. Following an intense reaction from the community, he set his account to private, but people had already started to find many more apps like this on the App Store.
Apple did not immediately respond to The edgeasks for confirmation that he was the one who took action against Wordle-alikes, but it seems highly unlikely that every developer decided to remove their app in the space of about an hour. If Apple really launches a crackdown on apps, it tilts the scales considerably to protect the original game.
While there have been similar high profile situations in the past – like Protocol points out, Flappy Bird and Threes vs 2048 come to mind – it’s hard to think of a recent example where Apple stepped in as strongly as it seems to have done today. Apple has copier language in its developer guidelines, but it is particularly vague: “Come up with your own ideas”, we read in section 4.1. “Don’t just copy the latest popular app from the App Store, or make minor changes to another app’s name or UI and pass it off as your own.”
There have been questions about how Apple would deal with blatant clones, because that apparently lets things slide in some cases. With the demise of Wordle-alikes from the App Store, we may have gotten some precedent for how the similarity is too similar.
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