Great news for iPhone developers, and proof that Apple does listen to your complaints: The company is dropping the non-disclosure agreement that iPhone developers had to agree to in order to write apps for Apple’s (AAPL) app store.
We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software.
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. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.
However, 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. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released.
Thanks to everyone who provided us constructive feedback on this matter.
While we understand why Apple had the NDA in principle, especially before the iPhone app platform was publicly released, it’s become a burden to developers — who can’t publicly discuss iPhone development or share code without violating it — and the industry surrounding the iPhone. For example, publishers have had to delay (or cancel) iPhone developer books because they violate the NDA; now they’ll be able to sell them.
The to-be-dropped NDA already has its fruits: Twitterrific developer Craig Hockenberry has posted some code and ideas on his site that shows how developers could add a “Post to Twitter” function to their apps.
Next up in Apple’s battle with iPhone developers: A more transparent, public list of app guidelines and rules, so developers don’t waste time and money writing iPhone software that Apple then (seemingly arbitrarily) rejects from inclusion in its exclusive store. (Or as iPhone developer Fraser Spiers takes a step further, pre-approval of app concepts.)
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