Who said community pressure doesn’t work with big companies? Apple has announced in a note titled “To Our Developers” that it has removed the non-disclosure agreement for iPhone developers, stating it placed “too much of a burden” on iPhone developers. The NDA was one of the two major problem points among iPhone developers, so the community has responded in a way that can only be described as rejoicing.
The non-disclosure agreement was put in place when the software development kit for the iPhone was still in the developmental beta stages, something that is everything but uncommon. However, when the SDK went final, the NDA was still there, severely hindering a free exchange of information and experience among iPhone developers – which is not a good thing for a relatively young platform.
Apple is relatively direct when it explains why the NDA was put in place:
We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.”
iPhone developers appear to be quite happy with the removal of the NDA. Ars kept an eye on several of the developers’ Twitter feeds (someone has to do the dirty work) and the responses are positive.
However, the removal of the NDA doesn’t solve the other major problem with iPhone development, namely the fact that Apple rejects applications because of seemingly nonsense reasons. Only time will tell if the end of the NDA soothes the community enough so that the storm of criticism starts to lose steam.