Over the weekend a report surfaced that Apple was set to pull a new Siri-like app — dubbed Evi — from the App Store because it was too similar in look and functionality to Apple's own product. According to the original TechCrunch story, developers True Knowledge received a call last week from Apple representative Richard Chipman letting them know that Evi's days in the App Store were numbered because the company felt it violated rule 8.3 in its developer guidelines. That rule states that "Apps which appear confusingly similar to an existing Apple product or advertising theme will be rejected," and it seemed (according to the report) that's where Apple was having trouble with Evi.
It wouldn't be the first time the Cupertino-based company reacted strongly to applications which mirrored the functionality of its own. In fact, in the early days of the App Store approval process, Apple was outright rejecting email apps because of their duplication of the iPhone's native mail client. Recently, those kinds of hair-trigger reactions seem to have subsided — and that may not be changing.
Despite what True Knowledge told TechCrunch, the app remains in the App Store, and according to sources familiar with the matter, Apple is attempting to work with the developers on bumping out those similarities, rather than just pulling the product. It's apparently standard practice these days for Apple to flag something that could be confusing to end users and then try to work with developers to alter the appearance and / or functionality of the app, and we're told that's what is taking place with True Knowledge right now.
While it's hard to argue that the name, general look and feel, and purpose of Evi is somewhat similar to Apple's product, it does seem relatively unlikely that someone would mistake one for the other. Still, Apple is clearly well within its rights based on the App Store guidelines.
We've reached out to Apple and True Knowledge for comment, and will update the story with any further information. For now, however, it looks like Evi will stay put... and maybe get a facelift.