Apple pulls Wordle copycat apps and one developer is sort of sorry

The minimalist web-based word game Wordle is nothing short of a sensation, and with that comes the inevitable rip-off versions popping up all over the place.

The game, which has become massively popular over the last couple of weeks, requires players to guess a 5-letter word based on whether they’ve selected letters that feature in the word and whether they’re in the correct position.

The addictive game is only available on the web and, because the maker Josh Wardle doesn’t have an app and only offers one puzzle per day right now, opportunistic developers have been cloning it left right and centre.

Apple, for one, is taking a stand on these clones – many of which actually use the name Wordle and copy the UI – and is pulling them from the App Store (via The Verge).

One of those to see their app pulled is developer Zach Shakked who had previously bragged about how many downloads his app was receiving, but is now (sort of) admitting wrongdoing and is (sort of) sorry following a massive online backlash.

In a Twitter thread, he lists a myriad of factors that made him “think there was an opportunity. I was wrong. There wasn’t. I’ll go back to creating apps based on my completely, evergreen, original ideas and never f**k with anything remotely like this again.”

You can see the thread below, but the essence is that Shakked says he calculated that the app was a “rip off” of another game called Lingo, the name wasn’t trademarked and the UI was the same because it was made in a weekend. He says the $30 subscription he planned to charge is “how businesses work” but he actually ended up losing money on the deal. He says he wasn’t gloating, but just excited about the buzz it was creating.

He also reckons he’s spoken to the creator on the phone about turning Wordle into an app, while also saying he spoke to “spoke to lawyers and the original creator’s claim to “Wordle” was highly dubious.”

He also says: “I realize I crossed a line. And I surely, surely will never do anything remotely close to this again. I f****d up.” And then he got in a fight with Daring Fireball’s John Gruber.

Anyway, Wordle needs an official app already.

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