Atari is reportedly in the process of having "hundreds" of apps removed from Apple's iTunes store for being too similar to Atari properties. Given that Atari owns the rights to often-copied classics like Asteroids, they may not be in the wrong, but some are unhappy with the process.
Vector Tanks developer Black Powder Media issued a statement on their Kickstarter, saying "Vector Tanks and Vector Tanks Extreme! are just two victims of Atari’s gameplan. It doesn’t seem to matter that the game bears only a vague resemblance to Atari’s Battlezone." In response, Black Powder's third game, The Visceral Adventures of Vic Vector, will bear no resemblance to any Atari properties, ensuring it "cannot fall under the Atari claw".
Atari said in a statement to Joystiq, "While we have great respect for the indie developer community and greatly appreciate the enthusiasm that they have for our renowned properties, we need to vigorously protect our intellectual property and ensure that it is represented in highly innovative games." Whether that means they didn't consider Vector Tanks innovative or they're just covering their asses so they can issue more classic games on the App Store is open to interpretation.
Despite Atari's purported desire to "develop strong relationships with the indie app development community," Vector Tanks programmer Peter Hirschberg told VentureBeat he tried to license Battlezone from them, but they were unresponsive.
Do you know of any other apps that have been pulled? Atari may be within their rights, but should they be more discriminating when it comes to strangling others' works? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.