13 Comments

Summary:

WARNING: If you’re having a good day, in a good mood, or are generally happy with the world, you might want to avoid this post, as it addresses a blood-boiling, migraine-inducing, hot-button issue that is likely to alter your otherwise happy-go-lucky day. We’ve probably all been […]

Don't talk about our silly excuses!

WARNING: If you’re having a good day, in a good mood, or are generally happy with the world, you might want to avoid this post, as it addresses a blood-boiling, migraine-inducing, hot-button issue that is likely to alter your otherwise happy-go-lucky day.

We’ve probably all been hearing the hubbub over Apple’s refusal to lift the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) on the iPhone development world. Many developers are upset (you might say some are even, irate) at the notion that they can’t share information that would help everyone in the long run, when it comes to developing killer apps for the iPhone.

Now compound frustrations by the rejection of seemingly useful applications like Podcaster for example (and some not so useful apps like Pull My Finger, which I totally would have paid $.99 for!), and Apple’s not exactly the, um, apple of our proverbial eye such as they once were. In the case of Podcaster, we at least found out via the developer, that Apple’s reasoning had to do with potential confusion with a desktop application. Yeah.

But now it seems Apple doesn’t want their dirty laundry aired to the world. Perhaps they’re being sensitive and don’t appreciate the common sense of the internet (did I just say that?!) poking holes in their App Store denial letters. MacRumors points out that these denial letters are now being protected under NDA as well.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MESSAGE IS UNDER NON-DISCLOSURE

Whether this falls under the umbrella of the iPhone development NDA or not is not something I could answer, but if Apple appends their communications as such, I would assume they’re willing to fight the issue with higher paid lawyers than you are. So wow, now we will no longer know why applications are being denied entry to the App Store (though I suspect most of us will be able to figure that out anyway). Though soon, will we even have the privilege of hearing when apps are rejected.? The iPhone Developer community sure is turning into an Apple Police State, isn’t it?

The evolution of this issue really seems to be going in the wrong direction. I’d hope that Apple has some good reasoning for such things, but none seem to be evident to yours truly, or the rest of the Apple pundits out there. It’s really a shame too. I’ve previously showered kudos on Apple for the App Store model – compared to the Windows Mobile platform, where it’s up to you to ultimately find a niche app (or otherwise) to fit your needs. Alternately, in the App Store, everything is right in one place for us iPhone users, and nearly impossible to miss out on.

At the end of the day, it’s Apple’s Store, and Apple’s tech, and they can do whatever they want with it. But if they keep this hard line up, I’m fearful that the quality developers will turn their backs on the platform, leaving it to potential mediocrity along with the rest of the mobile phone industry. Am I overreacting? Possibly, but these days when I want to show off my cool iPhone to someone, it’s the 3rd party apps that I demo first.

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  1. The way I interpret the text of Apple’s notice that MacRumors reported is that a developer cannot disclose Apple’s message. I can’t believe that a rejected developer is restrained from telling anyone (i.e., the world via a blog) that Apple rejected the app. For example, one could say “I can’t believe that Apple rejected my app. Even if it is nonsensical, let the market determine it.”

    I, for one, was totally ignored because I wanted to utilize a hardware feature Apple does not allow (or is reserving for their own use). Being put on hold was a benefit for me as I now can do it better using Google’s Android and the market potential is huge for the turn-key app including a dedicated hardware.

  2. Are NDA’s even really enforceable under these terms? What justification is there to remove free speech on a platform that is inherently meant to operate with competition between vendors. Imaging the stifling of OS X development if the dev’s in the world couldn’t share code and discuss things.

    Seriously Apple, its gotten to the point where I’m ready to build a minimally functioning app called “NDA” and submit it for rejection just to challenge the whole thing.

  3. Todd – I agree. If the letters of denial to the App Store were not covered in the main NDA that people had to agree to, I don’t see how they could be enforced. Apple (nor anyone else) should be able NDA things on an ad-hoc basis. But as I mentioned in the post, who’s got the lawyers in their back pocket willing to go up against the big Apple?

    I say go for it – I’d buy “NDA” in protest…

  4. To complain to Apple, go here:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html

    If there are enough complaints, Apple will have to listen. Letters would help, particularly corporate letters addressed high up the Apple food chain.

    Someone might want to see if Chilling Effects, a joint project of “the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics,” might be interested in taking on this abuse of non-disclosure agreements.

    http://www.chillingeffects.org/

  5. Jan Erik Moström » Sigh, Apple what are you thinking Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    [...] on the same subject + Brent Simmons: + macnn: Apple extends iPhone NDA, rejects Gmail app + theAppleBlog: Apple Covers App Store Denials with NDA + Ned Batchelder: Evil Apple + Fraser Speir: App Store: I’m out + theAppleBlog: The Broken [...]

  6. Mike I don’t know if you dealt much with Apple legal but they pretty much run their own show. You’re absolutely right, sending in letters to key management might help but we’ll see. I’m certain there are plenty of companies doing that already.

    Its in many ways just bigger than this situation. Apple behaved like this in the past. Its arguably one point why Microsoft & its hardware partners were able to push them into near oblivion. Apple is growing and building very large platforms again, putting the people who make it a success under KGB terms once again. The culture of hush needs to cease because it will fail and cement Apple into their downfall once again. Don’t get me wrong either, Apple has information it needs to protect as well however no one at Apple can really justify or talk about it. Oh irony, its good to see you again.

  7. Three words for you: Ha. Ha. Ha.

    As Todd Baur correctly points out, what do you expect from a company that behaves more like a dictatorship than a publicly held company?

    Now, if the boys in Redmond were smart, they would open up the Zune to developers.

  8. 11 ways iPod Touch beats the Newton « Newton Poetry Monday, September 29, 2008

    [...] writing is easier. That’s at least party true these days. Find a NewtonScript manual, boot up your text file, and start slashing away at a Newton app. Now [...]

  9. Lida Diyet Monday, May 4, 2009

    Todd – I agree. If the letters of denial to the App Store were not covered in the main NDA that people had to agree to, I don’t see how they could be enforced. Apple (nor anyone else) should be able NDA things on an ad-hoc basis. But as I mentioned in the post, who’s got the lawyers in their back pocket willing to go up against the big Apple?

    I say go for it – I’d buy “NDA” in protest…

  10. nice blog thans

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