Rant: Geo-specific apps

The iTunes Store went live in 2003, but only for Mac OS X users in the US, that is to say, people with a US bank account. Despite living abroad, I still maintained a US bank account, so I signed up. I’ve moved twice since then and Apple has made many changes with the iTunes Music Store, which is now just the iTunes Store.

My current port of call is Geneva, Switzerland which is literally on the border with France. I happen to live on the French side of the border, like many of the expats here.

Today, I was at the Peugeot garage and saw some information about their MyPeugeot app they have to track repairs, make appointments, etc. Sounded cool, so I downloaded it before even finishing at the garage.

I opened it up and the first screen asked me to select a Country / language pair. France is not listed. Other French speaking countries are listed, but not France. Switzerland is listed, but not France.

I haven’t done the full investigation because I’ll need to find someone with a French Apple Store account and see if the MyPeugeot app there will show France or not, but this is not the first time I’ve encountered these geo-specific apps. I really don’t understand the need/desire to limit an app to a region, not in this age when people travel.

Maybe someone has lived their entire life in one country, but they study abroad for a year, or their company sends them to another country for a two-year stint. During that time there, they will need apps for public transit, movie times, banking, grocery stores, etc. Things that are indeed local, but it is certainly commonplace for non-locals to be using those services/apps. So, why oh why must the companies insist on making the experience harder for the user? I didn’t use Twint for over a year because the only app I could see (that wasn’t geo-specific, it turns out) was a pre-paid version of the app, not linked to my bank account. That’s not useful or helpful. Not at all. Finally, after a client told me how great it was, I bounced over to the Swiss App Store (I already had an ID so I could interact with my bank) and got the app. Wonderful! One of the greatest new apps I have.

But, they should be able to have a global app and then limit who can actually use it, rather than have geo-specific apps. smh