Apple has blocked Google from distributing its internal-only iOS apps on its corporate network after a TechCrunch investigation found the search giant abusing the certificates.
“We’re working with Apple to fix a temporary disruption to some of our corporate iOS apps, which we expect will be resolved soon,” said a Google spokesperson. A spokesperson for Apple said: “We are working together with Google to help them reinstate their enterprise certificates very quickly.”
[Update: 7pm pacific: Apple has restored Google’s Enterprise Certificate so its internal apps will now function, TechCrunch has confirmed with a source after Bloomberg’s Mark Bergen noted the development. A Google spokesperson tells they “can confirm that our internal corporate apps have been restored.” Googlers had lost access to employee-only iOS versions of their pre-launch test apps like YouTube, Gmail, and Calendar as well as their food and shuttle apps as well, causing a massive loss of productivity that will surely make it more careful about abiding by Apple’s policies.]
TechCrunch reported Wednesday that Google was using an Apple-issued certificate that allows the company to create and build internal apps for its staff for one of its consumer-facing apps, called Screenwise Meter, in violation of Apple’s rules. The app was designed to collect an extensive amount of data from a person’s iPhone for research, but using the special certificate allowed the company to allow users to bypass Apple’s App Store. Google later apologized, and said that the app “should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake.”
It followed in the footsteps of Facebook, which we first reported earlier this week was also abusing its internal-only certificates for a research app — which the company used to pay teenagers to vacuum up their phone’s web activity.
Apple invalidating Google’s Enterprise Certificate mean its Screenwise Meter app won’t work for iPhones and nor will any other app for which the search giant relies on the certificate.
The Verge reporter earlier that many internal Google apps have also stopped working. That means many early and pre-release versions of its consumer-facing apps, like Google Maps, Hangouts, Gmail and other employee-only apps, such as its transportation apps, are no longer functioning.
Facebook faced a similar rebuke after Apple stepped in. We reported that after Apple’s ban was handed down, many of Facebook’s pre-launch, test-only versions of Facebook and Instagram stopped working, as well as other employee-only apps for coordinating office collaboration, travel and seeing the company’s daily lunch schedule. Neither block affects apps that consumers download from Apple’s App Store.
Facebook has more than 35,000 employees. Google has more than 94,000 employees.
Now that Googlecand Facebook’s Certificates have been restored and their office mayhem has ceased, attention will likely turn to other abuses of the program and Apple’s power in the industry.
Josh Constine contributed reporting.