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Apple, Google Shoot 'Bird' Clones Out of Sky


"Flappy Bird" is gone, and both Apple and Google are ridding their marketplaces of similar apps of inferior plumage.

There isn't a developer alive who wouldn't jump at the chance of earning fifty grand a day in ad sales from a simple yet highly addictive app with a fanbase of millions. That is, unless you're the mind behind the repetitive and ridiculously difficult Flappy Bird.

Once available for iOS (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) platforms, Flappy Bird was recently pulled from both mobile marketplaces after its developer Dong Nguyen voiced a moral objection to the game's highly addictive nature. In a despondent tweet earlier this month, Nguyan wrote, "I am sorry Flappy Bird users, 22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore."

Following up the tweet with an interview with Forbes, the developer elaborated, "Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed. But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem." Nguyan concluded, "To solve that problem, it's best to take down Flappy Bird. It's gone forever."

Well, where Nguyan's morals surpassed his desire to make a reported $50,000 a day in ad sales, there are quite a few other developers who would have no objection. As such, in Flappy Bird's absence, dozens of Flappy Bird clones quickly flooded the iTunes and Google Play stores.

But dreams of fast money were shot out of the sky as Apple and Google have been removing those clones faster than they can hatch. Several app makers have reported their creations are being summarily removed, with the online stores citing such bannable infractions as "attempting to leverage a popular app." Including the word "Flappy" in a title seems to be a surefire way to get the app pulled. However, an Apple spokesperson told CNET that the online store is also targeting "apps that are clearly designed to deceive users into thinking it's a replacement" for Flappy Bird.

So app developers hoping to make it big through simplicity, repetition, and teeth-gritting difficulty will have to come up with a more novel way of exploiting the addictive behavior of millions of smartphone users.

Maybe something to do with candy, perhaps?

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