Apparently it was Nintendo who ordered Apple to remove the game
Dong Nguyen claims he pulled Flappy Bird because of the bad press it got him, but hardly anyone believed him. He was earning so much cash from ad impressions that it would be insane to bail out simply because of spite.It seems our suspicions have been confirmed.
“A person familiar with the App Store review process tells Apple’N’Apps that Flappy Bird wasn’t removed voluntarily by Mr. Nguyen, as he claims. It turns out that Nintendo got in touch with Apple regarding the art assets in Flappy Bird claiming that they’re in direct violation of their copyrights.”
Apparently, Mr. Nguyen got a call from Apple, which informed him of the copyright infringement, and he quickly scrambled to change the graphics.
The latest build of the game indeed comes with a more polished version of the pipes, which still resemble those in Mario games quite a lot.
“Nintendo already decided that they had seen enough, and Apple is the one who pushed Mr. Nguyen to remove Flappy Bird (with 24 hour notice).”
So that’s that, then.
Update: Nguyen stresses that it was him, and him alone that ordered Apple to take out the game. See what else he has to say in this intriguing interview with the people at Forbes.