The CEO of AppGratis said he was “in absolute shock” after Apple’s decision to pull his company’s app from the App Store, revealing that a new version for the iPad was approved only days before.

AppGratis, which recommends other products to consumers, fell foul of two Apple contract clauses: “Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected”; and “Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind”.

According to AllThingsD, the removal of AppGratis was “a first step in a broader enforcement action generally targeted at app discovery apps that run afoul” of the two clauses. It is looking to remove ways for developers “to spend their way to a high ranking”, much as it did with the banning of incentivised installs in 2011.

In a detailed blog post, AppGratis head Simon Dawlat said that the company had held numerous conversations with Apple previously, even describing one of its approvals team as “a great person to work with, investing crazy amounts of time in the conversation, making herself very available at all times, always listening to our arguments, and guiding us through the necessary changes we needed to bring AppGratis into the App Store”.

But with the iPhone version live in the store, and the iPad version also given the green light, a new Apple staffer “who no one on my team had ever had contact with before, came pretty much out of the blue and after trying to call me three times without being able to get hold of me (I was on a plane), decided to pull out our apps”.

Dawlat said that at the moment, the company is still supporting the 12 million iOS users it has.

He concluded: “But even in dark times, every problem has a solution. And we are going to find one.”