The First Rule Of Developing For The iPhone Is: You Do Not Talk About Developing For The iPhone
from the one-sided-user-agreements dept
We’ve certainly covered many different practices by Apple that harm its developers, from arbitrarily choosing what gets approved to arbitrarily shutting down apps with little or no explanation. Now, the EFF has used a Freedom of Information Act request to NASA (who recently released an iPhone app) to get a look at the amazingly one-sided agreement that Apple forces developers to sign. The reason that the EFF was forced to file an FOIA request to see and post the document is that part of the agreement itself is that you won’t make any “public statements” about the agreement itself, a la fight club.
As the EFF notes, this is an incredibly one-sided document, which isn’t all that surprising, given Apple’s standard operating procedures. And while Apple remains a giant player in the market, many developers will just suck it up and accept it. But Apple may find, over the long term, that this comes back to bite them in some pretty serious ways. Treating your developers — the people who really make your platform valuable — like crap means that they’ll be ready to jump to other platforms as they become viable. Perhaps Steve Jobs believes that Apple can keep innovating ahead of the curve far enough that demand will remain ridiculously high for the iPhone and iPad, but it’s definitely a high wire act for the company, who could face serious developer defections if an alternative platform becomes really viable.