Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 8th Nov 2009 16:11 UTC
Apple We're all familiar with the fact that Apple has trouble managing its App Store. While it is overflowing with applications, Apple governs it willy-nilly, and the web is rife with stories from developers who had their application rejected for no apparent reason. There's now a new issue we can add to the list. Are you an iPhone developer? Do you want a similar, competing application out of the App Store? All you need to do is send an infringement claim to Apple, and they'll happily threaten to remove the competing application without a second thought. Update: And here's a similar case, about Stoneloops! vs. Luxor.
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Well, not surprising
by cmost on Sun 8th Nov 2009 16:19 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

Apple has to feed its Nosferatu lawyers something to sustain them in between lawsuits... why not let them sic their dogs on innocent iPhone app developers? ;-)

Reply Score: 5

The problem is....
by Phloptical on Sun 8th Nov 2009 17:34 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

they're still selling iphone's hand over fist, even with the half-shod run app store. Why should apple allocate more resources tightening up the app store when a) most iphone owners apparently could give a rats ass, and b) they're still selling boatloads of iphone's, regardless?

Personally, I believe this is a microcosm of what it would be like if apple ruled the PC landscape with the same market share that MS has.

Reply Score: 10

RE: The problem is....
by shotsman on Mon 9th Nov 2009 08:01 UTC in reply to "The problem is...."
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

The real question is

How many people who buy an iPhone actualy bother to use the App Store?

I don't own one but the three people I know certainly have not bought anything from the AppStore.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The problem is....
by Tony Swash on Mon 9th Nov 2009 11:04 UTC in reply to "RE: The problem is...."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

The real question is

How many people who buy an iPhone actualy bother to use the App Store?

I don't own one but the three people I know certainly have not bought anything from the AppStore.


Lets see if we can work this out. Approximately 50 million iPhones sold to date. More than one billion apps sold to date. That means on average at least 20 apps per phone. Either your friends are not very representative or someone out there has got really a lot of apps on their phone.

Edited 2009-11-09 11:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Comment by just-me
by just-me on Sun 8th Nov 2009 18:13 UTC
just-me
Member since:
2009-09-09

Apple is being insane here.
Instead of taking such claims at face value and getting into the middle of fights about who copied from whom they should stay out of it until a court tells them to take an app out.

Less work for apple and less room for abuse.

If they keep doing this the IPhone app world could go to war with itself, where everybody feels the need to be the first to request the competition being taken out.

If author A has a case against author B s/he's free to go to a real court and sue for copyright or patent infringement.

American software patents are crazy enough without Apple pre-accepting such silly claims.

Reply Score: 3

The bottom is an ugly place to be...
by SuperDaveOsbourne on Sun 8th Nov 2009 18:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by just-me"
SuperDaveOsbourne Member since:
2007-06-24

Apple and other companies including most large corporations have commoditized software to the point of no value. Apple wins with very over priced hardware, very poorly paid employees at the front lines, and the software developers they leverage to make this all happen get the shaft with 1 and 2 dollar crap apps. Honestly, at some point, folks will wake up and feel the Steve Big Dong sliding in and out for the last time.

Reply Score: 3

tobyv Member since:
2008-08-25

Apple wins with very over priced hardware, very poorly paid employees at the front lines, and the software developers they leverage to make this all happen get the shaft with 1 and 2 dollar crap apps.


Proving that even a 1960's, progressive flower child CEO can run a prison work camp.

Reply Score: 7

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"Apple wins with very over priced hardware, very poorly paid employees at the front lines, and the software developers they leverage to make this all happen get the shaft with 1 and 2 dollar crap apps.


Proving that even a 1960's, progressive flower child CEO can run a prison work camp.
"

All this explains why tens of thousands of app developers have flocked to the iPhone platform, why there are over 100,000 apps for the iPhone and why consumers in their tens of millions are queuing up to buy Apple kit. Its because Apple does bad things and makes bad things. Welcome to the Homer Simpson view of world of modern technology.

Reply Score: 0

dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

Volume != Better
Public opinion != Good

Reply Score: 2

tobyv Member since:
2008-08-25

Its because Apple does bad things and makes bad things.


Apple makes and sells a worldview. They have more in common with a fashion house than a tech company.

Reply Score: 4

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

"[q]Its because Apple does bad things and makes bad things.


Apple makes and sells a worldview. They have more in common with a fashion house than a tech company.
"

You do realise that making such a nonsensical statement makes you look like a nitwit? [/q]

Don't look now, but your post doesn't exactly make you look like a master debater either.

Reply Score: 5

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"[q][q]Its because Apple does bad things and makes bad things.


Apple makes and sells a worldview. They have more in common with a fashion house than a tech company.
"

You do realise that making such a nonsensical statement makes you look like a nitwit? [/q]

Don't look now, but your post doesn't exactly make you look like a master debater either. [/q]

I know, I know - and I started to write a more substantive rebuttal but then I just gave up - come on, if some can make such a statement like that in public they are not going to respond to rational discourse. In the end I was just lazy and wrote what came first into my head when I first saw this guys drivel.

Reply Score: 1

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

"Its because Apple does bad things and makes bad things.


Apple makes and sells a worldview. They have more in common with a fashion house than a tech company.
"

Apple's primary focus hasn't been on selling computers for years. Now they sell a lifestyle, and their tangible products are just fashion accessories for that lifestyle.

Reply Score: 3

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

"[q]Apple wins with very over priced hardware, very poorly paid employees at the front lines, and the software developers they leverage to make this all happen get the shaft with 1 and 2 dollar crap apps.


Proving that even a 1960's, progressive flower child CEO can run a prison work camp.
"

All this explains why tens of thousands of app developers have flocked to the iPhone platform, why there are over 100,000 apps for the iPhone and why consumers in their tens of millions are queuing up to buy Apple kit. [/q]

And by that reasoning, Stephen King is a better writer than William Shakespeare, Miley Cyrus is a better musician than all four of the Beatles combined, the Big Mac superior to Kobe beef, and Transformers 2 was the greatest film over made (choke on that, Citizen Kane).

It's really hilarious to watch the schizophrenia of the common Apple fanboi when it comes to the importance of market share. With the iPhone, bragging about its success obviously gives Maclots get a huge hardon, a mentality that puts them (barely) a step above the feces-chucking apes who get fired up chanting "USA, USA, USA!"

But bring up the completely, laughably, pitifully small market share of Macs and OS X relative to Windows PCs? All of a sudden the Mac fanbois get all enlightened and egalitarian, bleating on about how "popularity does not indicate quality." And that's when they actually bother to rationalize it rather than just relying on vague, simpleminded cliches about supporting the underdog.

Reply Score: 5

Let your competitors decide!
by DigitalAxis on Sun 8th Nov 2009 19:45 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

The StoneLoops vs Mumbojumbo/Luxor argument seems a little more worrisome. If I believe the guy behind StoneLoops, Apple allowed Mumbojumbo to decide if StoneLoops could be allowed to sell their product (and the answer was, unsurprisingly, no).

I mean, yay Capitalism and all (Mumbojumbo found a way to make money and they took it), but that's not so much market competition as having a more convincing-sounding argument in front of a judge who doesn't look at any evidence. Oh, and the judge allows the prosecutor to decide the case.

I can't see this ending well, but at the moment it just doesn't matter: Apple can do no wrong, and everyone wants an iPhone. I think the comments previously made about iPhone developers being like prostitutes applies.

Edited 2009-11-08 19:46 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Apple & developer support
by BallmerKnowsBest on Sun 8th Nov 2009 21:01 UTC
BallmerKnowsBest
Member since:
2008-06-02

Microsoft is smart enough to realize that, if you want your platform to be successful, then you do everything your power to make life easier for the people developing software for that platform.

But Apple does everything in their power to piss off people who develop software for the iPhone. Apple history is poised to repeat itself once again: they get a few years of success, then competitors catch up and Apple eventually gets left in the dust because of their own arrogance.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Apple & developer support
by Tony Swash on Mon 9th Nov 2009 10:53 UTC in reply to "Apple & developer support"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

But Apple does everything in their power to piss off people who develop software for the iPhone.


That would be the reason that there are now over 100,000 apps for the iPhone - ten times as many as any other phone platform.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Apple & developer support
by dragossh on Mon 9th Nov 2009 11:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Apple & developer support"
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

And look at how many are fart apps...

As a Mac user, you should know very well that quantity doesn't mean quality. But I guess every Mac user forgot that when they saw the success of the iPhone. Because by your logic, Windows is better than OS X.

Reply Score: 4

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

That would be the reason that there are now over 100,000 apps for the iPhone - ten times as many as any other phone platform.


Is there some sort of mailing list that sends those Mac fanboy talking-points? Or are you just repeatedly copy-pasting that "OMG 100,000 apps" bit because you have real argument?

Reply Score: 3

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

" That would be the reason that there are now over 100,000 apps for the iPhone - ten times as many as any other phone platform.


Is there some sort of mailing list that sends those Mac fanboy talking-points? Or are you just repeatedly copy-pasting that "OMG 100,000 apps" bit because you have real argument?
"


I think if someone says "Apple does everything in their power to piss off people who develop software for the iPhone" its worth reminding them that currently the iPhone has the largest library of apps created by independent developers of any phone platform - heck they have more apps than all other phone platforms put together. This indicates to me that the iPhone platform is very attractive to developers which means Apple isn't doing too much that is wrong in that area.

Reply Score: 1

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

This indicates to me that the iPhone platform is very attractive to developers which means Apple isn't doing too much that is wrong in that area.


No... all it means is that developers haven't YET found a sufficiently compelling alternative to jump-ship to.

Even two years ago, the best that any objective user could say about the iPhone was that it sucked less than the existing alternatives (discarding all of the insane superlatives from fanbois who cream their shorts over any new Apple product).

Today, though? Apple has rested on the laurels of a product that was already barely-capable of competing 2 years ago. In 2009, the iPhone is the new smartphone "crap standard" - the device that most new hardware aspires to "suck less" than.

Reply Score: 2

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Even two years ago, the best that any objective user could say about the iPhone was that it sucked less than the existing alternatives (discarding all of the insane superlatives from fanbois who cream their shorts over any new Apple product).


Clearly you are suffering from what is known as "Inablility to Dig Cool Stuff Syndrome". There's an app for that ;)

Reply Score: 1

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

"Even two years ago, the best that any objective user could say about the iPhone was that it sucked less than the existing alternatives (discarding all of the insane superlatives from fanbois who cream their shorts over any new Apple product).


Clearly you are suffering from what is known as "Inablility to Dig Cool Stuff Syndrome". There's an app for that ;)
"

Let me see if I can guess that app's name: iOoohShinyShinyThing?

Reply Score: 2

RE: iOoohShinyThing
by BallmerKnowsBest on Thu 12th Nov 2009 14:38 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Apple & developer support"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

"Clearly you are suffering from what is known as "Inablility to Dig Cool Stuff Syndrome". There's an app for that ;)


Let me see if I can guess that app's name: iOoohShinyShinyThing?
"

I have officially begun work on iOoohShinyThing: an app targeted towards the many iPhone users who enjoy the iPhone's "shiny object" appeal, but find that whole "screen" thing distracts from the glorious shininess.

Enter iOoohShinyThing, which will make the iPhone screen appear to have the same metal finish as the rest of the device. So now Apple fans can enjoy hours of staring slack-jawed at their expensive toy, without any danger of distraction.

Edited 2009-11-12 14:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Apple & developer support
by polyex on Tue 10th Nov 2009 10:32 UTC in reply to "Apple & developer support"
polyex Member since:
2007-07-11

I would figure that giving a free copy of a full version of Xcode since the initial release of Mac OS X would be an indicator of that goal. A very $99.00 to release an app for the store VS how much is the full version of Visual Studio?

Reply Score: 1

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

I would figure that giving a free copy of a full version of Xcode since the initial release of Mac OS X would be an indicator of that goal.


Great. So after you've paid the exorbitant price of a Mac (and presumably an iPhone too), you get the development tools for free. How generous of Apple.

Of course, the reality is that even Apple is smart enough to realize that they have no choice in the matter. No one in their right mind would buy development tools for an OS with such a small userbase.

A very $99.00 to release an app for the store VS how much is the full version of Visual Studio?


Which version? But whatever the cost, it's a small price to pay for not being tied to development tools that only run on over-priced hardware from a single vendor. And the biggest value? Not having to deal with Apple's ridiculously arbitrary, draconian app store submission process and policies.

Oh, and a counter-question: how much does Microsoft charge you for the "privilege" of releasing software for their mobile platform? That would be $0? Interesting.

And while we're on the subject, how much does the Android SDK cost? How about the webOS SDK? And how much does it cost to release software developed with those tools? Unlike Apple, the answer to all three questions is $0. Amazing, no?

Thanks to Apple behaving like a short-sighted control freak when it comes to iPhone third-party development, Palm and Google look downright magnanimous just by providing a basic, common courtesy to developers. Maybe they should send Apple a "thank you" card.

Reply Score: 2

mrhasbean
Member since:
2006-04-03

In any case, don't let the number of applications in the App Store fool you. Popularity is not a measurement of quality - something Apple specifically should realise all too well.


Been saying that for years in relation to another OS and it's applications...

From another angle though, lets ask this question. As unlikely as it seems by the "evidence" put forward, if DishLoc was somehow legally found to impinge on IP contained in DishPointer and subsequently had to be withdrawn from sale, therefore negating any possibility of upgrades or bug fixes, who would those who have purchased it go to for their refund? The defunct developer, or Apple?

I can see where Apple are coming from on this, however I think the better solution would be to temporarily withdraw BOTH products from the App Store until it is determined where the facts lie. That way neither company is gaining any advantage over the other and more importantly customers wouldn't possibly be purchasing something that may have no future.

Reply Score: 3

kryogenix Member since:
2008-01-06

From another angle though, lets ask this question. As unlikely as it seems by the "evidence" put forward, if DishLoc was somehow legally found to impinge on IP contained in DishPointer and subsequently had to be withdrawn from sale, therefore negating any possibility of upgrades or bug fixes, who would those who have purchased it go to for their refund? The defunct developer, or Apple?


What makes you think you're ENTITLED to free upgrades/bug fixes much less a refund if they stop? If an app is withdrawn from sale, that doesn't mean it ceases to function or you have to destroy it.

The concept of automatic online updates is a fairly new one. One which I'm not too fond of because most software nowadays is perpertual beta quality because it's rushed out the door and they'll "just fix it later". Back when your home computer OS was burned into an EPROM, they were more inclined to get it right the first time. Doesn't mean there weren't bugs however.

Reply Score: 2

v This isn't rocket science folks
by tyrione on Sun 8th Nov 2009 21:26 UTC
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Apple is defaulting to one due to a filed Patent application with USPTO.


Did you read - at all?

There is no patent. Heck, there is no filed/pending patent. They are preparing to submit a patent.

If that is reason enough to kick someone out of the App Store, then I hereby state that I am preparing a patent on using the iPhone as a remote control. Apple, please remove all remote control applications - including your own - from the App Store.

Thank you.

Reply Score: 7

cadabra Member since:
2009-11-08

Thom, did they mention what part of their app exactly they plan on filing a patent on?

The original complaint isn't very clear. Is it displaying the clarke belt? Overlaying the satellites? Maybe just the fact that they're overlaying information onto the camera view? Using the accelerometers to calculate the angle of your iPhone? Drawing lines? The colour red?

Reply Score: 3

Chronology mistake?
by Mark Williamson on Mon 9th Nov 2009 00:08 UTC
Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

Thom, in the later part of your article you have:
"That forum posting was made 5 days after Fehr submitted his application, and six days after DP Technologies' application was approved and showed up in the App Store."

Doesn't this also need to be updated due to the change below:
"Update: Fehr pointed out that while the App Store states DishPointer arrived on September 22nd, there were problems with iTunes Connect (more here) and the servers at the time, meaning the application became visible later than the 22nd."

Since without that update being mentioned there too it sounds like Fehr could, in principle, have done the (unlikely) "24 hour copy" you alluded to in the article. As I understand it, this is completely ruled out now?

Reply Score: 2

Apple "refused to arbitrate"!?
by Mark Williamson on Mon 9th Nov 2009 00:11 UTC
Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

How bizarre. So what do they propose the developer do to prevent his app getting pulled? Persuade his competitors to write to Apple and withdraw their complaint? Doesn't sound like a great system. Seems like by threatening to remove the app unless something is done, Apple have *put* themselves into a position of arbitration. If they really wanted to stay out of this, surely they could tell the complaining developer to seek remedy against the alleged copycat?

Reply Score: 2

spam the process
by cycoj on Mon 9th Nov 2009 02:59 UTC
cycoj
Member since:
2007-11-04

Maybe it's time someone really spams the process, filing lots of different complaints against all sort of games. Maybe then people realize how shitty this process is. I also wonder if the people in question don't have a case here (unfair competition, trade practices...). I guess it's time for someone to stand up to the bullies.

Reply Score: 4

seems to me...
by ari-free on Mon 9th Nov 2009 03:28 UTC
ari-free
Member since:
2007-01-22

...that Apple wants to be like the old AOL. Everything nice and tidy and under control. Until it breaks down completely in the face of the open, decentralized internet.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Mon 9th Nov 2009 04:20 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

Which goes back to what I said about the iPod/iPhone - they should allow people to load on applications without needing to use AppStore where by the end user uses some weird key combination that unlocks it (thus they lose technical support as a result); that way the morons are protected from themselves, the network providers know their network isn't going to be clogged with excess traffic and those of us who know what we're doing have the freedom.

It would be a win-win-win situation but buggered if kow why Apple hasn't done it - control freaks or the mobile network providers have Apple by the balls? AT&T have denied it but for some reason I find it unconvincing that Apple would go to the extent that they have to stop unauthorised third software being loaded. The reason for that was a remark a few years of ago about AT&T not wanting their 'network bought down' by a misbehaving application.

It is the same issue of DRM; if Microsoft and Apple could get away with not having to provide DRM in their software - they would. It would be one less piece of technology they would have to write and maintain. As much as people like to label Apple and Steve Jobs as control freaks, I think there is a lot more at play behind the scenes which we aren't privy to.

Edited 2009-11-09 04:28 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by foobar9442
by foobar9442 on Mon 9th Nov 2009 06:18 UTC
foobar9442
Member since:
2009-11-09

Phloptical is right, and I believe Apple is concern in their growth and market penetration reaching a point where Antitrust lawsuits might have more weight.

It is a odd situation. Besides the fact these authors seem to be amateurs who probably have no problem using free open source software and tools to write this stuff but have a problem when other people does similar work, what or whom is exactly Apple trying to protect? a) themselves from lawsuits? b) watered down (and profit share) applications from clones?

I also have trouble with the idea of the mindeset Apple is instilling here.

I'm the CTO of one the early online hosting application servers that began with modems and later incorporated internet connectivity. 3rd party applets are written to work over modems, console or the web. Just recently, in answering a question, one popular applet is a caller id callback verification. I found over 100 of them from free to shareware to commercial listing in our support file library! I can't imagine ever comtemplating getting involved in picking and choosing which ones are worthy of staying in our applet download library or offering a policy where authors can issue a complaint. In 25+ of operations, I don't even recall such a complaint and if there was a copyright infringement complaint, we were never involved in disputes between 3rd party developers. Short of anyone actually stealing source code, infringing on a patent and/or "look and feel", complainting about the existence of similar applications was just unheard of.

That said, one thing we are doing different for a new pending release is including some 3rd party applets to fill in product features we don't have the time to do ourselves. For one feature, there were 4-5 applets available and I choose the best one and contacted the author of our intentions.

But I do remember wondering how the others will feel when they find out. Will they stop supporting us as 3rd party developers? Will it create a PR problem for us? What if the success of doing this for one, prompts a complaint that it infringes on someone else?

Currently, we make recommendations for customer to explore which similar applets works best for them so it was never an issue. Maybe we might begin to see what Apple is going thru by picking and choosing what qualifies for their iPhone. We don't charge or get an percentage (other than our compiler and SDK is not free), so maybe this is also a factor for apple and her developers. Apple is getting a piece of the pie so that might create the environment for exclusivity and pressure to remove duplicate work by lesser known developers.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by daedalus8
by daedalus8 on Mon 9th Nov 2009 09:22 UTC
daedalus8
Member since:
2008-03-10

DDDDDRRRRRRRAAAAAAMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply Score: 2

The app store situation
by darknexus on Mon 9th Nov 2009 14:42 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

To me, the app store is a double-edged blade. On one hand, if a developer doesn't have to go through a lot of hassle with Apple and gets their app in right away, it's a very efficient way for them to get their app out to as many people as possible. The only people on most other phone platforms (Symbian, WM, etc) who installed or bought apps were people who were specifically looking for them on the web. A good many people didn't, and still don't, realize that their smartphones can have additional programs installed. So on that level, it's good for some developers and very good for users who now have an easy way to find apps. In this respect, it's much like a *NIX package repository.
However, it almost seems to me as though Apple wasn't prepared for what they were trying to do, and they're struggling not only with themselves but with third parties such as the cel providers. They had all the technology in place, but the actual exercising of their store policies either was not laid out for the employees or the policies themselves are not clear enough and can be interpreted differently. Looking at the policies, I'd say it is some of both. I understand why they're trying to control the app store, even though I don't agree, but they weren't ready to handle that type of control and they're trying to find their feet so to speak, and all the while being badgered by cel providers and politics although they deny this. They simply weren't, and obviously still aren't, prepared to take on the role of gatekeeper/arbitrator for something this large.

Reply Score: 5

That'll show 'em!
by sbergman27 on Mon 9th Nov 2009 17:29 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

...I've been using my own iPhone for a few days now, and...

Yes. That is the only way that we will ever get Apple's attention regarding their attrocious App Store policies: By purchasing their phones.

Edited 2009-11-09 17:34 UTC

Reply Score: 6