23 DEC

Developer Dilemma: ‘MobileRSS HD’ Looks A Lot Like ‘Reeder’

by Marianne Schultz
 

Earlier today, TechCrunch pointed out a conflict between two developers of RSS feed reader apps. Silvio Rizzi, the developer of the highly-rated Reeder for iPad, had noticed that NibiruTech Limited’s MobileRSS HD looked a lot like his own app. A lot. He went so far as to create a special web page showing pictures of his app and NibiruTech’s side-by-side, which you can see here.

With a release date of the MobileRSS HD version in question (3.0) several months after Reeder’s, it appeared to Rizzi that NibiruTech had essentially copied the design of his app.

Looking at the screenshots posted by Rizzi, it seems clear that NibiruTech decided that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And Nibirutech really wanted to compliment Rizzi.

TechCrunch reached out to NibiruTech to see what they had to say about this accusation and received the following response:

We are submitting an update to MobileRSS immediately which will include modifications to the UI elements that most mimic Reeder. We respect the work that Reeder has done but are most concerned with serving users and improving MobileRSS for everyone. These improvements include ideas pioneered by Reeder, but we have current and upcoming features which are unique to our app not found in other RSS readers.

But to be clear, we’re taking immediate action to correct this and will remove the similarities to Reeder at once.

MobileRSS developers

NibiruTech’s response admits no guilt but is quick to commit changes to eliminate the similarities. We watch the App Store closely and it pains and disappoints us to see the kind of design theft that appears to have happened here. To boot, Rizzi is an independent developer with only two apps in the App Store at the time of this post and is the David to Nibirutech’s Goliath, a company founded in 2007 with 13 developers on staff and several apps in the App Store.

Nibirutech has decreased the price of MobileRSS HD to $.99, down from $4.99 but we don’t recommend that you buy it. If you’re looking for a solid, well-designed RSS app that syncs with Google Reader for the iPad and want to support Rizzi, check out his Reeder for iPad instead.

  • News

    Reeder for iPad

    Last Changed:
    18 months ago
    Rating:
    3.50 (271)
    Version:
    1.5.7
    iOS iPad

    Google Reader Client. - Syncs with Google Reader - Browse by feed or folders - Manage starred items, notes - Mark as unread - Image caching - State saving - Slider control for list entries: ...

5 Comments

  1. Alex

    what about old users of MobileRss HD? we loved the old version, and after the update the UI was all changed to a Reeder like. If I liked the Reeder UI, I should have bought it instead of MobileRSS. I know a developer could change his entire app, but I think they should notify the users prior to submitting the app for update.

  2. Anonymous

    I love Reeder, I have it for both iPad and iPhone (and will probably buy it for the Mac too), but would Rizzi please remove the contact section from his website if he doesn’t bother to answer support emails? I love the app, not too thrilled about the support.

  3. appfreakblog

    The creator of Reeder should also watch out Readerrific by geetouch, which also shares some obvious similitudes including the dark left bars, colour palette, and iPhoto stacks for group feeds

  4. Steve

    To support Rizzi I purchased his ipad app but it does lack 1 important feature that has been in Mobile RSS– image save to camera roll. For me this is the killer feature that Reeder lacks.

  5. Mark iPad

    I thought MobileRss HD was great until the latest update (3.0). I think they have over-complicated it by introducing the new thin column on the left.

    I far preferred the previous version; it was functional and quick, and easy to use.

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

Leave a comment