NDAs And The “Cone Of Silence”

On September 24, 2008

It has more than a bit of irony to it-

On the day when the first Android phone and the Android Market (for the open distribution of apps) were revealed in all their glory, Apple took more steps to lock down, shut out and shut up many of the rumblings coming from developers who are unhappy with their approach.

On a micro-level…

TUAW posted today that Alex Sokirynsky, the developer behind Podcaster, has been shut down. Apparently Apple “rescinded his authority to provision new ad-hoc licenses for his software”. That means he can no longer sell his AMAZINGLY AWESOME FANTASTIC over-the-air podcasting program (to people like me) via the ad-hoc system. While it isn’t a surprise, it is a bit sad that an app as good as Podcaster is kept out of people’s hands. (Fortunately, according to the TUAW post, at least 1299 other iPhone-users got their hands on it too.)

Moving from the micro to the macro-level…

Alex’s blog post about Apple’s latest move was pulled shortly after it was posted.

HMMMMM, could this have anything to do with the fact that…

On a macro-level…

According to a post on MacRumors  Apple is now trying to keep developers whose apps are rejected from admission into the App Store from blabbing. It seems the rejection letters are now labeled with the words- “THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MESSAGE IS UNDER NON-DISCLOSURE”.

As the site notes, “Readers should note that Apple’s developer correspondence may have already been covered by the original NDA, but Apple is now making it clear.”

I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again, Apple has every right to determine which apps are allowed into the App Store and which aren’t. I just wish the determinations were done with openness and clarity instead of, at least the appearance of, arbitrary secrecy spread through a series of NDAs.