"Taken together, particularly with the exclusive control over distribution, and these are the characteristics of a publisher. Apple has effectively become the only publisher for iOS, except it has done it in a way where the developers, who clearly do all of their work on speculation, are responsible if Apple’s customers return products of it there are legal issues. It’s all the upside of publishing someone else’s software with virtually none of the downside."...
Excerpt from Erik Sherman's article on CBS Business Network (http://www.bnet.com).
Apple, it appears, is beginning to act like traditional publishing...Taking advantage of the creators of software apps, taking their products for their own through restrictive contracts, paying little or nothing and then holding them responsible if end-users are unhappy or legal issues arise. As the following article says, "It’s all the upside of publishing someone else’s software with virtually none of the downside."

Sounds like a company to stay away from RE apps, iOS apps or whatever! Software writers, you have been warned!

Erik Sherman writes for CBS Business Network:

An Apple (AAPL) patent for a slick concept —
automatically generating a book describing a user’s videogame performance— came to light yesterday. Record the performance and turn the highlights into illustrated panels in a book, ebook, or comic book.

However, take this patent application in the context of other recent ones and of Apple’s long-documented strategy and practices regarding iOS apps, and it’s easy to conclude that the company is interested not in being just a platform, or even the source of software, but of being the effectively sole publisher and main driver of what would otherwise be third party applications. It’s a clever and bold strategy, but one that will increasingly become an issue for software companies that want to go into mobile but see conflict with Apple.

Most people, including myself, have seen Apple as a software reseller, when it comes to iPhones and iPads. A restrictive one, to be sure — you only have Apple as a choice if you publish iOS-based apps. But as I looked through a list of application areas that Apple is trying to nail down via patents, I realized that the company isn’t reselling apps. It is the world’s only app publisher.

Given the number of businesses and individuals writing iOS apps and selling them, that may seem a ridiculous statement. But consider the following conditions that Apple’s developer license enforces:

  • You can only sell through Apple.
  • Apple can stop selling or get rid of your app at any time for any reason — and can do so remotely, even after installation.
  • You must agree to the contract before even downloading any of the development tools. That means you can’t change your mind and sell apps through one of the Apple app store competitors.

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