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back to article Apple bans App Store heartbreak chatter

Apparently, Steve Jobs has taken his App Store despotism to new heights. In sending rejection letters to developers applying for a spot on the virtual shelves of the iPhone App Store, Jobs is now including a caps-happy warning designed to prevent them from discussing the letter with anyone else on the planet. At least, that's …

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Stop

Isn't this just a little anti-competitive?

It seems to me that this is an anti-trust lawsuit waiting to happen (DISCLAIMER - IANAL).

By creating the iPhone, Apple created a market for iPhone Apps, so they did what any sensible business would and created a store to sell iPhone apps - so far so good.

However then (if I'm reading this right), they prevent developers from selling their iPhone apps through any other channel and then refuse to sell some developers apps - while it's quite normal for stores to pick and choose which products it sells, surely it is anti-competitive for them to interfere with the developers ability to sell through other channels.

Maybe the only reason there hasn't been a lawsuit yet is because they haven't got on the wrong side of any developer with enough money to sue. Maybe that's why it seems (to me at least) to be only independent developers complaining and not developers from companies.

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Fuck 'em

That DRM addled shit phone is doomed now that android is out. Only wankers would buy an iPhone anyway, judging by the owners of iphones.

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This IS shit isn't it....

Just too much puffed up self importance from Apple for my liking. All I can assume is that they've rejected these apps as they have the exact same functionality due in their next release, and don't want the competition.

But swinging to Android, jeez, could they make the interface look more amateur? I mean Google are hardly paragons of HCI, but really. Looks utterly awkward.

Should suit the target market perfectly then.

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Anonymous Coward

Not the complete story

I recommend reading John Gruber's investigation and analysis of the situation.

It's a little more level-headed.

http://daringfireball.net/2008/09/app_store_rejections

TLDR version:

"..this particular boilerplate, the all caps “THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MESSAGE IS UNDER NON-DISCLOSURE”, has appeared in some emails from ADC for years, and continues to appear in some emails that are completely unrelated to the iPhone.

My conclusion is that as fucked up as this entire situation is, both with the App Store rejections for “duplication of functionality” and NDA frustrations, it does not seem as though Apple has changed its policy regarding whether rejection notices are confidential."

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Anonymous Coward

What did people sign?

Nobody in his right mind would sign an NDA that didn't specify its scope and purpose, and you can't expand the scope just by saying something is "UNDER NDA." If they signed an NDA that says they will receive information and tools relating to the API for purposes of developing applications for release by approved channels only, then that should about cover it. Possibly, they might also include a section allowing them to receive business plans prior to public release (e.g. if Apple added a new interface, and let some developers know about it early enough to have applications released at the same time that it is announced), although that would need some careful wording. Any NDA that could be extended to cover changes to my own business plans (i.e. will not be proceeding on iPhone App because Apple rejected it) would never be signed by a person with a competent attorney. If you signed something like that, the partner could guess your plans, send you a confidential letter talking about them, then sue you when you announce them.

Of course, nothing prevents you from trying. You can always say that something is covered, even you know it won't stand up. Sort of like when you start a suit with a generous settlement offer, just to see if you're dealing with an idiot.

So, is Apple just fishing for silence, or did developers really give Apple permission to control all of their future public announcements?

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Alert

A title is required.

"Maybe the only reason there hasn't been a lawsuit yet is because they haven't got on the wrong side of any developer with enough money to sue. "

I would replace Money with Sense! Mactards are generally free flowing with da loot. its often the sense they lack. They like it easy and often done for them which is why they adore the big apmacs prods.

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Anonymous Coward

The Appleverse is a prison

I think I won't continue as an iPod user . The need to sync with iTunes is a pain, plug it into more than 1 PC and it insists on erasing and resyncing to the different set of tunes each time. I've lost my music more than once.

A simple software upgrade requires a forced upgrade of iTunes which requires a forced upgrade of Quicktime and Bonjour (why? I don't have an Apple TV, I don't want Bonjour).

EULA changes at every turn.

I can't simply plug it in and drop my pictures onto it, or GET MY PICTURES OFF IT either. I plug it into iTunes to get some pictures off it, it says I need a newer version of iTunes to sync to this iPod, so my pictures are now held hostage to Apple's EULA.

It's a prison, it looks nice to start with but then they build the walls around your stuff, then the gates go in, then the guard towers and it's just a f**ing prison.

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Silver badge

NDA after the fact ?

Where exactly did the developers sign that ?

I call bollocks. An NDA, as disgusting as the concept may be, is to be presented BEFORE handing out the information that you want to protect.

Sending an email that includes "this is under NDA" is not only useless and ridiculous, it's also probably illegal. I didn't ask for your stupid email, you sent it on your own initiative. You can't shout things at me and then take my arm and say "by the way, this is just between us, okay ?"

Somebody call the archeologists, public relations has become a dead science.

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Ash

Shrink wrap NDA?

A quick reply stating "I do not recognise the authority of an agreement to which I am not afforded the right to choose whether I agree with it or not. I do not agree to your NDA. By the way, the world is not a US Courtroom, no matter what Corporate America thinks. I am protected by Free Speech rights, and I will discuss any matter of PERSONAL OPINION regarding your service which I see fit."

Then, drop the phone and all Apple services and start writing apps for HTC / Blackberry and Windows Mobile.

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Unhappy

Android may or may not be great

Currently the release of the G1 has it locked to a particular network. Android also needs you to have a gmail account to synchronise (iirc). In effect a lot of the fancy stuff doesn't work unless you buy into Google. Not ideal for a business user.

The quality of the G1 is also suspect. Apparently it's very 'plasticy' and feels cheap.

However this is v1. It may simply be a case that the applications need to be written and a key to me buying one is being able to buy an unlocked one but I will buy one.

At the moment I look at this as their 'beta'.

We shall see where this all goes. What it will do is make Apple, but I've already gone as far as getting the sdk http://code.google.com/android/ and seeing what I can do.

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Joke

@ Seán

Yeah, I really want a 1980s style plastic looking piece of shit HTC slider phone that can't actually fucking do anything.

</sarcasm>

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Anonymous Coward

Its apple all over

This is why I don't own an apple product and refuse to.

The sad gits who work with me all have the sad phone but not me.

Apple products are expensive for what they are and have way to many fashion victems.

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Black Helicopters

So what does this podcasting app do that Apple doesn't do already?

cos I agree with Apple on this one so far (the rejection - not the way it was rejected). Why would Apple authorise a 3rd party app that conflicts with or replaces a core function of the device?

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Jobs Horns

N S Sherlock

Apple wanting complete control and dictating what you can and cannot do?

<sarcasm>Not that they have a long history of this or anything</sarcasm>. Apple fans had it coming as they let the company become far too used to being able to bend them over and shaft them whenever Jobs likes.

Jobs really doesn't like other people tinkering with his toys, does he.

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Anonymous Coward

@Seán

It would seem that it isn't just iPhone owners who are wanker eh Seán?

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Andriod Touch?

Is Android likely to appear on devices similar to ipod Touch, or is it aimed at mobiles only?

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Thumb Up

Don't you get it?

The fact that Apple practises quality control is PRECISELY the reason it is successful. If they let anyone release whatever they wanted the platform would very quickly become overrun with utter shit. They make the hardware and the OS = it all works very nicely thank you. Contrast with MicroShaft who let anyone do anything = absolute bag of shite. Actually MicroShit try to lock down their system with DRM harder than anyone and it's still absolutely pathetically awful.

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Jobs Horns

RE: Isn't this just a little anti-competitive?

I agree - the EU competition authority should be looking into this, and I can't see it going any other way if they do other than Apple getting a good hiding.

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Flame

Whine whine whine

And in the meantime Apple shifts another million of those "shit" phones. Sheesh, what's wrong with you commenters? Let's see in 6months how many androids are sold, if any; let's see if people do desperate grey imports and so forth.

Tempering overblown JesusPhone claims: yes, that's good, and ElReg already does that for you; but this brainless nattering is even more pathetic. I personally am happy with my Nokia3110, I don't care either way.

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@Sean (without stupid accented a)

You said "That DRM addled shit phone is doomed now that android is out."

OH MY GOD, How fucking stupid are you??

Have you actually seen the first android phone? It sucks big time. Feels cheap and nasty to hold and the interface adds NOTHING to the user experience.

It has absolutely no buzz around it outside techie/nerd/geek circles.

Android is no threat at all. Google will learn fallibility with this weak effort. Time will show you this, even if you cannot / will not see it now.

As for your "wankers" comment, perhaps owners of iPhones think to themselves "only wankers (like you) wouldn't buy an iPhone anyway, judging by non-owners"

As for these whining developers: they read (or should have) the terms and conditions and the NDA. They accepted that all Apps were published at Apples discretion.

If they didn't want to be held to these terms then don't start developing for the iPhone. It's that simple. Don't go whining after the fact, thats just childish.

There are plenty of happy developers making lots of cash compared to this vocal minority (given way too much page space by Apple haters like the Register)

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Jobs Horns

rotten apple

I love Apple products but I find their attitude to iPhone devs downright disgusting. They need to lose a lawsuit or two to wake them up from their arrogance.

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Flame

Apple shafting it's dev community?

I must be having a Dejavu experience from my days as a Newton dev.

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Stop

Competition for future updates?

I don't get it, what competition would there be? Everyone will get the new firmware versions as and when they are out, and as everyone has already paid for the phone and the updates are free (well, apart from full version increases, like the V1 to V2) what copetetive disdvantage could Apple be at by letting people sell something that they intend to give away? At worst, they get 30% of sales for a product that potentially no-one needs as they will give it away soon? Looks more like a gift horse than a threat to me.

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Pirate

NDA is two-sided

A Non-Disclosure Agreement is an agreement between parties that information contained therein will not be discussed outside of the specified boundaries. Parties are not obliged to accept the NDA; the consequence being that they are not allowed to view the information contained in the document.

Therefore: if Apple notifies you of a rejection under an NDA, and you refuse to accept the NDA (which is your prerogative), can you then claim that Apple didn't inform you properly about the rejection, followed by a lawsuit and $multi-million settlement?

Step 1: Refuse to accept NDA, claim you weren't correctly informed and file suit;

Step 2: ???

Step 3: PROFIT!!!

(Skull & Crossbones 'cos that's all that'll be left of you by the time any such lawsuit gets resolved)

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Flame

So what?

Game console creators have been doing this for decades.

They own the platform. You want to develop for it, you sign a contract with them.

Oh, right, sorry, I guess all these unhappy iPhone developers didn't read their fucking contract.

Everyone knew from day 1 that Apple wasn't going to publish internet telephony apps or apps that compete with iTunes. Boo hoo to the developers that thought that didn't apply to them.

Go jailbreak your iPhone if you care.

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Jobs Horns

The iPoser company strikes again.

What is it with this company? Just when they start making moves in the market they start pulling bonehead moves like this. They had people fooled into buying their overpriced, overhyped hardware only to then restrict them to the software that they decide their victim^H^H^H^H^H^Hcustomers should be able to run. Makes Macro$lut's monopolistic practices look positively benevolent in comparison.

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Jobs Horns

The Devs Don't Like It

http://furbo.org/2008/09/24/killing-our-enthusiasm/

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RE: Fuck 'em

Hehe, nice. I'd counter though that only pretentious wankers spell Sean with an á.

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Alert

Oh, the irony

Umm, does anyone else remember a rather iconic advert from Apple in which the little guy (or gal in this instance) frees the people from the chains of an all-powerful computer supplier?

According to Wikipedia (yes, I know, but it was the easiest place to find it!) ...

"in his 1983 Apple keynote address, Steve Jobs made the following comment before showcasing a preview of the commercial to a select audience: 'It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right?'"

How times (and minds) change!

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Stop

So jealous

Would you whingers like some ketchup to go with that MASSIVE CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER? You hate Apple because they make great products that you are too pig-ignorant to appreciate or too stingy to buy. Well stick with your crap-o-rama MicroShit and dismal knock off iPhone and iPod imitators. There's a reason Apple sells millions of these. They're good. You bloody whingiing morons.

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Jobs Halo

Turn 'autosync' off

>The need to sync with iTunes is a pain, plug it into more than 1 PC and it insists on erasing and >resyncing to the different set of tunes each time

Dude, just turn 'Autosync' off in iTunes, then you can drag songs onto your iPod from any PC you plug it into..

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Linux

@Don't you get it?

Apple make closed software tied to hardware.

Microsoft make software that works with anything hmmm which is harder dealing with everybody and all hardware, driver and software types or knowing exactly what to expect?

apple aren't a house any more you can't compare like for like. tell you what give me a copy of OS X i can install on anything and i'll give you two hp pc's exactly the same then let's bench mark yeah. oh wait apple won't let you.

plus for those out there who will point to linux how hard is it to get linux drives for some hardware. hell i had one install once where the basic drivers wouldn't work so i got a scambled screen. Maybe a version of redhat or ubuntu that has a firewall module etc that windows comes packed with as they work with pretty much anything.

for the record i don't hate apple i just hate people who don't think about things before

as for this case of apps being rejected for coping pod cast functions it is anti competeative but isn't the app pointless anyway or is he hoping people will use his format instead?

pengiun not for linux but for the chocolate bar

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@Chris Matchett

"cos I agree with Apple on this one so far (the rejection - not the way it was rejected). Why would Apple authorise a 3rd party app that conflicts with or replaces a core function of the device?"

Perhaps you should spend a few seconds reading up about "Podcaster" instead of just blindly agreeing with Apple. You would've quickly found out that it allows you to subscribe and download podcasts wirelessly - something the iPhone and iTunes DOES NOT allow you to do. Currently you have to download the podcasts on your computer then sync them via USB to the phone.

There are plenty of Calculator apps available for the iPhone which DIRECTLY compete with the existing iPhone calculator - yet these are not banned.

Why shouldn't developer's be allowed to make significant improvements to existing functionality, and add new features in the process? That's exactly what Podcaster does.

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Flame

Re:So what does this podcasting app do that Apple doesn't do already?

It allows you to download a podcast *directly on the iPhone* without having to sync with iTunes.

The 'duplicates iTunes functionality' clause here I suspect is total bullshit and the real reason something along the lines of 'we don't want you downloading big files over 3G'.

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Apple must be more transparent

If Apple are going to refuse applications then they need to be transparent about those applications it does refuse, and consistent around the reasons it refuses them. There is absolutely no reason not to be completely open about this.

@AC 'Don't you get it?' - this is nothing to do with quality control. Apple does not perform exhaustive evaluation and testing of each application, you can tell this (a) because some apps have been retrospectively withdrawn (I have iSabre!) and (b) because the quality of some of them is really bad. This is about Apple refusing to carry applications that people have invested a lot of effort into, not explaining why, not allowing developers to correct the perceived problems, not being allowed to talk about the fact and, yes, it is starting to look like protectionism.

No company should be afraid of competition because it acts as a driver to make the product better. Apple could end up looking very bad if it doesn't backtrack on the NDA pretty quickly, and I would expect legal action to follow - how about a class action? - if applications continue to get rejected or withdrawn with no reasonable justification.

It might just be that the Podcast app was trying to use the phone network to download - all the Apple apps that need large amounts of bandwidth have been written to only work over WiFi - for example I can't stream video or audio from iPlayer if I don't have a WiFi connection available.

I like my iPhone, the fact that it is locked down is a pain but does not stop me doing everything I need to.

And finally, @AC 'The Appleverse is a prison' - you probably already have Bonjour if you use Windows, you just don't see a process called Bonjour in the task manager.

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Stop

Poor reporting.

I've received emails from Apple with this, but they related to a bug report I filed a couple of years ago - nothing to do with the iPhone. I certainly hadn't signed an NDA at the time, so it was legally unenforceable (like most signature disclaimers).

Nothing to see here except for a few bloggers beating themselves into a lather.

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Flame

Stupid devs

I don't understand the vitriol being directed towards Apple about this issue. Its the devs that can't be arsed to read and comprehend the agreement that they signed with Apple. That so many people are siding with them rather than Apple reflects rather badly on the intelligence of the IT community.

Anonymous 'cos I can't be arsed dealing with the stupid, ill informed, vitriolic beliefs that will come my way despite the facts being on my side.

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Jobs Halo

all your iDrones are belong to us...

we control what you see, hear, think and do. Welcome to the Apple commune(-ism)

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Anonymous Coward

Hillarious

I kinda respect Apple for doing this, adds a bit of spice to the development world.

All this lovey, huggy, code helping has got a bit sickly and icky of late - want to know how something works; figure it out yourself, hire someone, or read a freaking book.

I don't really like Macs, but Apples a great software company as long as you don't work for it.

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Alert

Always funny watching the mactards defend this stuff

Precisely why I don't and won't own any apple products ;)

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Pirate

inventive source?

has occurred to me that apple could very well be stealing some of said developers ideas and app code... saying "we had already developed this and it's in our next release"

with all their mighty lawyers and technology prowess they could probably prove in a court of law that the earth is flat after all..

steal from and 'silence' the little people...

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Paris Hilton

United Onanist Massive, make some nooooiiise!

Sigh, the Apple fanbois, and the beery LOLm8 trolls that poke them are out in force. Neither side is as bright, funny or technologically literate as they fondly imagine. What is it about Apple that any mention of it attracts professional tossers on both side of the divide, flaming as hard as their wrinkled little e-peens will let them?

(Owns a few Apple products, and some non-Apple ones too.. and the odd Hello Kitty item. Despairs of you lot. That is all)

Paris because, well, sod it- it's friday, she's cute, and you lot are just annoying.

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Dead Vulture

Slashdot crowd

I, for one, do not welcome the Slashdot crowd.

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