Apple drops iPhone NDA gag order

Apple hinted that the move came in response to critics.

Bending to criticism from iPhone developers, Apple Wednesday announced it is dropping the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for applications that have been released.

In a message posted to its developer site, Apple hinted that the move came in response to critics, who had blasted the company for continuing to muzzle developers long after they had wrapped up work on their software.

Last week, some took Apple to the woodshed after reports surfaced that the company had told developers that the NDA applied to all communication, including rejection notices sent when applications were turned down by the App Store, the only official outlet for third-party iPhone programs.

"We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software," said Apple in the message. "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."

But it acknowledged the recent negative publicity over its continued push for secrecy. "The NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone's success, so we are dropping it for released software," Apple said. "Thanks to everyone who provided us constructive feedback on this matter."

Not everyone is free to speak, however. Apple reminded developers that the NDA remains in force for "unreleased software and features."

Nor did Apple specify whether the new relaxed rules will apply to iPhone applications that have been submitted, but then rejected, for inclusion in the App Store. Apple did not respond to a request for clarification Wednesday morning.

That may be an important point to developers who have had their work rejected, but then are unsure of how much, if anything, they can say about why Apple declined to sell their software.

A week ago, for example, Alex Sokirynsky, an iPhone developer whose Podcaster application had been rejected, pulled a blog post that had hammered Apple for shutting down his developer account. Sokirynsky had said Apple took "the coward's way out" by barring him from selling Podcaster using the Ad Hoc distribution channel as an end-around the rejection.

Some suspected that Sokirynsky yanked the post because of the NDA.

Sokirynsky had become a minor iPhone celebrity after Podcaster was rejected. When Apple denied him access to the App Store, Sokirynsky published Apple's reason. "Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes," Apple told him.

Other developers railed at Apple for that rationale. Fraser Speirs, for instance, said he was done with the iPhone, and called on Apple to publish clear rules for what it would accept, and to add a pre-approval procedure to the App Store application process.

Wednesday, however, Speirs and others applauded Apple's NDA decision. "Now that's the Apple I know and love," said Speirs in a Twitter message. "Next stop: pre-approval of app concepts and the future is golden."

Apple said Wednesday that it would send developers a revised NDA in about a week.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?