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A Day When Apple Takes the Heat

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Remember Google's bad day last month? Whatever caused the multitude of bad press must be catching, because now it's Apple's turn.

 

In the midst of significant scrutiny because of its recently filed patent-infringement lawsuit against HTC, the Cupertino, Calif., company is also getting grief from the Electronic Frontier Foundation about its iPhone Developer Program license agreement, and former Sun Microsystem CEO Jonathan Schwartz is empathizing with Google in a recent blog post, noting Apple threatened Sun with lawsuits, too.

 

As for the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. PC Magazine's Brian Heater points out, just a few aspects of the agreement that trouble the EFF:

  • It prohibits those who sign it from making public statements about what it contains.
  • It prohibits those who participate in the developer program from distributing apps they create for the iPhone via any other app store or exchange.
  • It prohibits participants from "tinkering" with any other Apple software or device besides the iPhone.
  • It allows Apple to revoke an application's digital certificate at any time.

 

The EFF was a little more direct in its own statement about the agreement. The title says it all: All Your Apps Belong to Apple.

 

Then, of course, there's Schwartz's post, in which he details conversations with Apple CEO Steve Jobs regarding the intellectual property behind the graphical effects in Sun's (eventually abandoned) Looking Glass. Schwartz notes that "bluster and threats" are common in business, but concludes:

[F]or a technology company, going on offense with software patents seems like an act of desperation, relying on the courts instead of the marketplace....[S]uing a competitor typically makes them more relevant, not less. Developers I know aren't getting less interested in Google's Android platform, they're getting more interested.

He has a point.

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