iPhone

Electronic Frontier Foundation publishes iPhone developer licensing agreement

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published Apple's iPhone Developer Program Licensing Agreement, taking advantage of the Freedom of Information Act. What is your take on the agreement and EFF's criticism?

The EFF, which has already sparred with Apple over it's stance on "jailbreaking" iPhones, found a loophole through which it could legally obtain and publish the "iPhone Developer Program License Agreement" for the edification of the public. Because NASA has an iPhone app, the EFF was able to use the Freedom of Information Act to get their copy of the agreement, which includes prominently among its articles the prohibition against developers' discussing or making public the terms of the agreement.

Naturally, EFF takes a dim view of many of the agreement's items, which it highlights in summary form in the press release, such as:

Kill Your App Any Time: Section 8 makes it clear that Apple can "revoke the digital certificate of any of Your Applications at any time." Steve Jobs has confirmed that Apple can remotely disable apps, even after they have been installed by users. This contract provision would appear to allow that.

What do you think of the course Apple is charting regarding its products and the applications allowed to exist on them? Is it an example of "being evil" or just a savvy company taking full control of its products and assets?

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

10 comments
jkiernan
jkiernan

This is nothing new. If you jailbreak and install SBSettings, there is an option to disable Apple's ability to remotely kill apps on your iPhone.

charles.homsy
charles.homsy

Two things are coming to mind with this kind of thing. First, once a person purchases a software user license, remotely disabling the software without returning the money, or alerting the person who bought the software that it is being disabled so the program can be replaced with a comparable program, is theft. What if Chevrolet had a problem with your mother in law and every time she got in the car they would use On Star to disable it in an unsafe neighborhood? Second, I find it rather childish to allow a program to be put up for sale, then pull it down later just so you can "clean up" your image. Last time I checked Steve Jobs was a man, so the women's right to change her mind, doesn't fly in this case.

ryanqfleming
ryanqfleming

The apple company has all the rights in the world to discontinue any products that they make. But they Do not make all the Apps. If one of my Apps that I make Money From was taken off I could sue them for loss of profit. But if it where a none money making App, I really could not do much about it.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

Apple is evil, and has been for years. Duh. The only real difference between Apple and Microsoft is that Microsoft is better at it.

TCMcAteer
TCMcAteer

I'd love to read the Apple agreement, but I can't get onto any eff.org website. Either this item has taken off and they are overwhelmed, or . . .

jck
jck

I find it funny...people think Apple is "being evil" by making sure they can kill off apps remotely. But, Microsoft doesn't do this and viruses, pirating of their OS, etc., runs rampant. I think if Apple has no legitimate grounds for interrupting service, they can indeed be held liable no matter what the licensing says. Especially if their exercising the "kill switch" means a company loses money or is done irreparable harm.

bboyd
bboyd

Always glad to see the EFF on corp heels. They may be a chihuahua, all bark no bite, but they go a long way farther than government watchdogs do.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Many of those complain the loudest about Microsoft in the computer industry (Apple, Sun, Oracle, for instance), aren't really complaining about what Microsoft does, they are complaining because Microsoft does so much better than they can. In other words, somewhere between admiration and outright jealousy!!

kenmo
kenmo

It would be pretty hard to say who is more evil as they have somewhat different situations and thus different expressions of malice. Big difference is that Apple owns the hardware platform, where M$ never did. So where Apple's evilness was biased towards developers & users, M$ has been more focused on competitors & perceived outside threats. As a species we have managed to become fairly civilized, except in the area of business & commerce, where the "law of the jungle" mentality prevails. We certainly have a long way to go in this respect.

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