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Apple Censors App Store Rejection Notices 477

isBandGeek() writes "After a few reasonable App Store bans, such as the ones on I Am Rich and NetShare, developers started complaining about excessive restrictions on applications like Podcaster and MailWrangler, supposedly because they provided 'duplicate functionality.' In response, Apple rubbed salt in their wounds by slapping non-disclosure agreements on application rejection notices. Now developers are not even allowed to tell their fanbase that Apple decided to withhold approval for an application. Is Apple confident that Google's open platform Android won't be much of a threat?"
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Apple Censors App Store Rejection Notices

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  • well (Score:4, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @08:34AM (#25149617) Homepage Journal
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @08:39AM (#25149685)

    You agreed to take it up the ass from apple the moment you accepted the SDK.

    AC for obvious reasons.

  • Re:well (Score:5, Informative)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @08:44AM (#25149733) Journal
    You sign the NDA by default if you download & install the developer tools.
  • Re:Reasonable? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @08:48AM (#25149767) Journal

    I don't have the AT&T user agreement in front of me, but I believe when you sign the contract with them, you agree not to use their data plan with a tethered computer. It's possible that Apple is using that as a way of helping AT&T enforce compliance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @09:07AM (#25149959)

    You agree to an NDA and that NDA says words to the effect of "if we send you something, we just say 'this is confidential' and it means it's covered by this NDA". Simple as that. Thus they cover the case of emails they send to you in the same way they cover the SDK stuff.

    So breaking the NDA on that email is no different to breaking the NDA on their SDK or breaking any other NDA you ever sign.

    The threat outside the US is the same as any other time a non-US entity breaks contract with a US entity. The contract specifies jurisdiction of a US court and the case is tried there usually with the non-US entity in absentia. A US court may well have trouble penalizing a non-US individual, but that individual may later have trouble if they ever come to the US personally.

    IANAL either but that's what our lawyers said last time this came up.

  • Re:well (Score:5, Informative)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @09:13AM (#25150021) Journal
    In order to get rejected (or accepted) from the apple store, you need to pay $99 to join the iphone developer progeam, which involves accepting the terms. While there is no pen and ink signature, you need to unambiguously accept the terms.
  • Re:irrational... (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrEkted ( 764569 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @09:20AM (#25150121)
    Strangely, your personal opinion doesn't matter as much to me as my own. I drive Toyotas because I find them to be infinitely more reliable than German cars (read - VW's). I use Apple products because I hate unnecessary reboots, bad user interfaces, and bloated software - all of which I find in MS products.
    From Consumer Reports [consumerreports.org] (this is not a slam dunk, but you get my point, I'm sure).

    "European makes account for 17 models on the Least reliable list. This includes six each from Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen/Audi."

    "Reliability remains a forte for most Japanese brands. Twenty-three of the 33 models in our âoemost reliableâ list are from Japanese automakers. Moreover, weâ(TM)ve predicted average reliability or better for all Honda and Subaru models based on our most recent survey. This yearâ(TM)s forecast shows that domestic models, led by Ford, continue to improve and that there are small improvements in European makes as well."
  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @09:26AM (#25150211)

    What's that? It doesn't have a headphone jack, it can't play movies, it also cannot tether and is locked in to a carrier? Wow.. sounds like a real iPhone killer to me.

    What's that?

    1. No replaceable battery?
    2. Proprietary charging/data connector?
    3. Restrictive "mono" bluetooth support?
    4. Can't use non-Apple headsets?
    5. Doesn't sync to Linux?
    6. Have to jailbreak it to return function other handsets have by default?
    7. Ridiculously-restrictive AppStore?
    8. Can't install my own applications without a signed NDA and key?
    9. Fragile glass face?
    10. No proper keyboard?
    11. Camera can't record video?
    12. No memory card support?
    13. Capacitive touchscreen (not resistive)?

    Sounds like a Star-Tac killer to me, but my 5 year old PalmOS-based Treo trumps the iPhone in almost every single feature. The iPhone does not provide any new functionality, not revolutionary in any way, and there were plenty of full-screen, touch handsets out before the iPhone hit the market.

    The one, the ONLY thing Apple has going for them is marketing. That's it.

  • Re:well (Score:1, Informative)

    by samkass ( 174571 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @09:29AM (#25150269) Homepage Journal

    1. You agree to the NDA when you pay your $99 bill and join the program. If they accept your electronic "signature" for charging $99 to your credit card, it's hard to argue that that same agreement doesn't apply to the other contract involved in the same transaction. And taking away the ability to charge a credit card online would kind of put a damper on ecommerce.

    2. From what I understand, these correspondences were ALWAYS covered by that same NDA. It's just that developers, either through ignorance or anger, violated the NDA and posted the rejection letters in the past. This is simply Apple reminding the developers what they agreed to. If you don't like it, don't join the program... there are alternatives (none good ones, but they're there.)

    3. So 4 out of about 4000 apps have been rejected so far. 0.4%. I don't think it's time to panic yet.

  • Re:well (Score:4, Informative)

    by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @09:43AM (#25150481) Journal

    The suggestion was the reverse of that transaction.

    1. Download SDK
    2. Develop application
    3. Transfer app to 3rd party who *IS* under the NDA.

    My guess is that they would be the one rejected and they would be NDA'ed from telling you why your app was rejected. If you were told, then the 3rd party would be up the brown river with Apple.


  • Re:well (Score:2, Informative)

    by PolarBearFire ( 1176791 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @10:05AM (#25150787)
    Not worried? History is full of examples where Apple is the first comer and gets overtaken due to their sheer retardability(it's a real word, look it up) The iPhone has 2-3% of the market, and everyone treats it as it owned 97-98% of the market. Apple prides itself on controlling it's products, the iPhone in all likelyhood will not see double digit market share due to increased competition. I'm not comvinced that Google has created a strong competitor but the potential is there. PS Not crapping on the iPhone at all, it's probably the most fun phone in North America(not saying much tho)
  • by SenseiLeNoir ( 699164 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @10:17AM (#25150963)

    This is not informative to the context of the discussion. Fault MS all you like, but one thing, its Windows Mobile OS does not have half the draconian measures Apple has on its iPhone OS. It is possible to make and run any application, even where they duplicate existing functionality.

    As for compatiblity, even if Active Sync does NOT support third party plug-ins easily, you are free to develop your own sync platform, such as ones utilizing SynchML.

    the iPhone doesnt even allow you to replace iTunes as the music Sync application. Most Windows Mobile phones on the other hand can either support USB mass storage (or a wrapper that simulates it) on the device, or at the very least allow you to put your Memory card into a reader, to copy your songs. The in-built Media Player, will automatically search for and add songs to the library on first run, and can be requested to search there after.

    The Windows Media Player sync is optional (only required if you have some DRM songs).

    Otherwise, nothing stopping you from adding some MP3s,MIDIs etc onto the device. And if you want to support other formats, there are many free and commercial media players (TCPMP is one such free one, Nero Mobile is a commercial one, which also provides support for DNLA).

  • Re:irrational... (Score:2, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @10:29AM (#25151179) Homepage Journal

    As I said above, BMW 1-series is price-competitive with mid-range Toyotas, and VW is price-competitive across the board. McDonald's is not popular because of its pricing -- their pricing is actually the same or higher than most of its competition.

  • Re:well (Score:5, Informative)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @11:38AM (#25152263)

    And to be honest, even if I was legally-bound to the NDA, I'd still disclose the whys and wherefores of my application rejection. From time-to-time, liberty must be protected with a little civil disobedience in order to protect one's rights, privileges, and freedoms.

    Its not even civil disobedience to "violate" a contract. Its just breaking a contract that might expose you to being sued for damages or other remedies specified in the contract.

    There's nothing ILLEGAL about breaking a contract.

    Citizens really need to learn this.

    So if someone decides to break the NDA and publish their rejection letters, Apple will probably terminate their membership and that's about it. Apple's going to have a hell of a time showing that they were materially damaged by someone saying that their app got rejected.

  • Re:well (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @12:17PM (#25152829)

    So 4 out of about 4000 apps have been rejected so far. 0.4%. I don't think it's time to panic yet.

    That's so wrong. Forget about the unknown ones, there's many more than 4 known ones. There's atleast 2 or 3 more mentioned in this firehouse article. [slashdot.org]

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser