It’s bad enough that the Apple App Store has been having a few problems lately with regards to rejecting applications for a myriad of reasons. First was Podcaster, rejected for competing with Apple, then came the MailWrangler rejection:
“Your application duplicates the functionality of the built-in iPhone application Mail without providing sufficient differentiation or added functionality, which will lead to user confusion.”
Now, it seems that an awaited iPhone developer book is not going to be published, because of the iPhone SDK NDA. (Try saying that five times fast…)
“Normally, pre-release NDA’s such as this one are lifted when the product finally ships. We expected that this NDA would be lifted when the iPhone 2.0 software shipped, but it wasn’t. The September announcement came and went, and still the NDA remains in place.
It now appears that Apple does not intend to lift the NDA any time soon. Regrettably, this means we are pulling our iPhone book out of production.”
And now, it only looks like that NDA is getting more restrictive, as Apple has decided to make the rejection notices NDAed.
“Every time a user now gets a rejection, the message: THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MESSAGE IS UNDER NON-DISCLOSURE is displayed clearly in the letter.”
This is just bizarre. Apple goes out of their way to create an incredible product, and then makes developers jump through flaming, constricting hoops if they want to create anything other than games & to-do lists for it. No applications that extend iTunes functionality, no service-specific email clients, and now, in a move that is blissfully ignorant of the Streisand Effect, you’re not allowed to post your rejection notices either.
All of these restrictions would be bad enough on their own, but they’re even more singular when viewed in comparison to Google’s Android.
It seems that Apple here is effectively pulling a Microsoft:
“Based on raw market share alone, the iPhone seems likely to remain the smartphone developer’s platform of choice — especially when ISVs can translate that market share into application sales.
Sound familiar? In this race, Apple is taking a page from Microsoft’s book, while Google looks suspiciously like Linux.”
When faced with the competition of an open-source platform (Android, Linux, etc.), proprietary companies need to be more open, not less. The HTC dream might not be as slick looking as an iPhone, but it’s going to be a damn sight easier to develop for. No Objective-C, open APIs that anyone can download, no membership requirements, no obtuse rules for what can & can’t be developed, and no rejections from the sole distribution channel at the last minute.
Apple is acting overly-confident in their platform, and it could wind up biting them in the rear down the road.