Apple Finally Realizes That NDAs For Developers Are A Bad Idea

from the took-'em-long-enough dept

It was definitely surprising to see Apple trying to enforce an NDA to stop iPhone developers from talking about their applications, so it’s nice to see Apple (for once!) respond to the backlash by dropping the NDA. However, the company’s explanation for why it had the NDA in the first place doesn’t make much sense:

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.

It’s unclear what “inventions and innovations” would be “stolen” (the company probably means infringed, not stolen, obviously) without such an NDA in place. Also, the patents are a separate issue. The whole explanation, frankly, is misleading. The NDA and the patents protect entirely different things in very different ways, and it’s difficult to see how the lack of an NDA allows anything to be “ripped off.”

Either way, it’s good that Apple has recognized that such NDA’s significantly limit its developers. It’s tough to have much of a developer “community” when said developers are barred from communicating.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: apple

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Apple Finally Realizes That NDAs For Developers Are A Bad Idea”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Michael Long (user link) says:

Ah... not quite.

Yes, developers are released from the NDA and are now free to discuss the SDK and their applications… but only for RELEASED products.

So if you’re the developer of the game Trism, which is available on the App Store, you can discuss it and its code. You can also discuss and write about the currently shipping iPhone OS and its SDK (2.1).

Unreleased applications and SDK API’s (2.2), however, are still bound under NDA, which basically works to prevent developers from disclosing new features and functionality before they’ve been officially announced.

Woadan says:

Re: Ah... not quite.

The real issue here is that for those who get rejected, the NDA still applies, and that means you can’t report on the reasons for the rejection without breaking the NDA.

So, for instance, the fellow whose podcasting app was rejected for competing with iTunes would be unable to disclose it because the NDA would apply.

Apple just keeps confirming for me why I don’t need or want their products.


Twinrova says:

FINALLY realizes?

Wrong. They knew ahead of time and were simply trying to prevent issues of others stealing work, another Techdirt conversation in which Mike believes the way to compete is to keep trying to “one up” the competition, without realizing there’s a ceiling on development without new components to put them.

After all, why the hell do you think new TVs, DVD players, PCs, browsers, game consoles, cell… ah, hell. You get the idea.

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

Mixing Apples and Oranges...

NDA – Non-Disclosure Agreement.
This is an agreement to not disclose some proprietary information about Apple (in this case).

This is silly, the developers get documentation on the API (which is what Apple claims they need to NDA). APIs are doorways into your InnerWorks.

Apple is effectively saying that the doors to their building are secret, only a few thousand developers (and anyone else who is willing to purchase the SDK) are allowed to know where those doors are.

Yes, it sounds silly because the Apple NDA argument is silly.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...