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Developers Looking to Set Up Alternatives To Apple's App Store

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the start-digging-your-legal-foxholes-now dept.

The Internet 192

TechDirt is reporting that in response to the frustrations with Apple's app store dictatorship, a few developers are looking to set up their own alternative app stores. Alternate app stores would only work on jailbroken phones, making their adoption scope limited, so the question is whether Apple will go after these start ups on the legal battlefield. "Apple, which collects a 30% commission from sellers on its store, doesn't break out the site's revenue. Brokerage firm Piper Jaffray estimates the site generated about $150 million in sales last year and projects total sales will grow to $800 million this year. Apple did not respond to requests for comment. But it has said in the past that with the iPhone it was trying to strike a balance between a closed device like the iPod and an open device like the PC."

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192 comments

Legal Issues (2, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126781)

Well, of course Apple will go after them. They don't have a history of laying down.

Re:Legal Issues (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127025)

Steve Jobs has a history of lying down for anonymous gay sex.

Re:Legal Issues (0, Flamebait)

JudgeFurious (455868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127409)

I could see how it might look that way to someone if they spent all their time like you downloading gay porn and spanking the monkey raw. The rest of us don't see that. Sorry.

Re:Legal Issues (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127531)

Well, of course Apple will go after them.

On what basis?
It isn't illegal to sell or offer gratis software for a platform.
It isn't illegal to setup a website.

Apple can claim whatever they want about jailbreaking, but the only people they can sue over it are the people developing jailbreak tools and the people using them. What does this online store have to do with either of those groups?

Re:Legal Issues (2)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127735)

At least until someone posts a link, or the jailbreaking application itself.

Sure, they can delete those posts/users... but that pisses off the users and frustrates the n00bs "how do i do this???"... the store dies, a new one opens, community withers, ideas lose momentum, people go back to the 'Apple' store because "it's always there"... open-stores fail.

Re:Legal Issues (4, Interesting)

risk one (1013529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127765)

Actually, if these stores can be set up as legitimate for-profit businesses, I wouldn't be surprised if this could lead to an antitrust case, forcing Apple to open up the iPhone.

Or rather, another antitrust case.

Moreover why bother? (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127817)

One has to ask what the market sector is here since it is inconvenient for both developers and users. And it seems to me it is, perhaps obviously, only going to be people who have to have contracts with companies that don't use iphones.

That is to say, as a user there is the problem that I can't update my iphone easily. Each time I try there's a high likelihood my jailbreak will bust. And it's also possible my non-apple approved applications will also break. So there's no assured path forward when there is a pressing need to update the phone comes along. even trivial issues could become strong motivations to update: for example perhaps I need a new verison of quiktime to view some new content I want to see.

And for developers. Well why bother when there is the android market beckoning. Surely that market is going to swamp the jailbroken iphone market shortly.

So my feeling is that this ecosystem is going to shrink not grow with time as android takes over and apple issues enough annoying needful updates.

Re:Legal Issues (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127945)

All that may be true but it doesn't matter if what you are doing is legal. Apple will destroy them financially by tying everything up in court.

It will definitely attract Apple's attention. As the OP said, Apple has a long history of getting in people's faces about the silliest things.

I would love for someone to stand up and smack them down but it's going to take a bunch of money.

Re:Legal Issues (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127951)

Apple has to be in control of EVERYTHING, which I must admit gives them a great opportunity to make some great stuff, but the iPhone OS is a platform and I think that it should be allowed to create apps for it, also it would be a Godsend if someone made it so you could drag and drop and get rid of iTunes.

Anti-competitive behavior? (4, Insightful)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126783)

Surely a case could be made against Apple's anti-competitive behaviour?

In Australia, what Apple is doing is against the law, under our anti-third-line forcing legislation.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (3, Informative)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126839)

nope, because you dont have to buy a iPhone, same argument as always. If the iPhone where the ONLY phone on the market, yes a case can be made, but its not nor is it the only phone to offer apps, and Apple doesnt do anything to prevent other players from having the same Apps AS the iPhone has, and thus doesnt do anything all that monopolistic.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (4, Informative)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126931)

That argument doesn't work. eBay was not the only online auction system on the Internet, but they got done like a dinner for third-line forcing when they tried to make everyone in Australia only use PayPal.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126991)

Well, arguably Ebay is the most popular auction site. The iPhone is by far not the most popular phone. I think I have seen more Samsung Propels in use then iPhones. Sure, most everyone wants an iPhone and it is rather popular for its limitations (one carrier, expensive plan, etc), but compare the iPhone's marketshare in phones to Ebay's in online auctions and you will see that Ebay is very, very, popular, the iPhone... Not so much.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127445)

I'm going to go out on a limb and bet the "service/product is really really really popular" clause isn't in the law. if the law didn't apply because there were alternatives, ebay's lawyers would have handled that no problem.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (2, Interesting)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127599)

A fairer comparison would be the iPhone's market share for smartphones. Not all phones play in this space. Your point could still hold, I have no idea what these numbers are but to equate the market for mobile talking with the market for all mobile computing because the iPhone is also a phone is a bit over simplistic.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (1)

wish bot (265150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127273)

I understand your frustration, but the two things aren't even remotely similar. When Apple makes you pay for your apps at the Ap store with Apple dollars issued by the Apple bank, you might have a case.

Monopoly's in the Market Power (2, Insightful)

weston (16146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127309)

eBay was not the only online auction system on the Internet

While this is true, there's a much stronger argument that eBay has monopoly-like market power when it comes to online auctions than exists for the iPhone.

If you want a phone or PDA or convergence device, there's nothing about the *market* that would compel you to buy an iPhone. If you need to auction something online, there are definitely pretty powerful market reasons to go for eBay. It doesn't really matter much if Apple suddenly forbids all third-party apps of any kind and changes all their phones so you have to shake them in order to dial or something equally silly. There's enough competition that the market will route away from their products soon enough. eBay... not so much.

There's really only one place Apple's had anything close to monopoly power, and that's if you wanted to buy or sell music online, which is why you heard labels complaining a few years ago when they realized the DRM they'd insisted on was accidentally giving Apple tremendous power as a retailer. Given that the barrier to entry into the online music marketplace is actually pretty low (dealing with the labels over ownership issues is probably the most difficult part) that's not even a particularly strong complaint.

Apple's desire for control is sometimes a major pain, but it's not a monopoly.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127055)

Who needs to make a case? Android, when the time comes, is either going to force them to open up, and lay them waste.

Why anyone would spend hundreds of dollars and sign up for data/voice contracts just to be part of Jobs's Napoleon complex is beyond me.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127499)

Because to date, the only android phone I see is powered by T-mobile. T-mobile isn't even offered in this area. People keep speaking about how great Android will be. The problem is the "will be" part. The iPhone is here today, works, and has some 12 million users. If in two years someone has a better offering powered by Android, I'll look at it.

We've been looking at mobile platforms to develop for, and our top two is Blackberry and iPhone. We had to make sure our sites and apps worked on those two platforms. At this point, android isn't even a blip on the radar.

The problem with Android is the all the talk about what it will be. It maybe nice, but by the time we start seeing a number of phones with the platform, we'll be seeing the 3rd generation iPhone, maybe 4th. And Blackberry isn't standing still.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127779)

Android is shaping up to be TWICE the platform that the OpenMoko ended up being. You can take that to the bank.

--
"Linux" is an old Finnish word, which roughly translates to "failure."

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127431)

The worst thing about the Microsoft antitrust trial is that it has conditioned Slashdotters into thinking that any perceived slight against competitors (In a capitalist system? You don't say!) is just cause for a government lawsuit.

Re:Anti-competitive behavior? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127543)

Oh, I don't think there's any cause for a lawsuit. Let Apple continue the old game of restricting the blood supply to one of its better products. It's the reason why nine out of ten personal computers to this day are PCs. Apple is still the navel-gazing Napoleon-complex control-freak company it ever was.

Try the new Ninnle store! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126807)

Inside, you'll find everything Ninnle, from free copies of Ninnle Linux and NinnleBSD to Ninnle routers, Ninnle systems and even the new INinnle media player!

Re:Try the new Ninnle store! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127159)

How the FUCK is this offtopic!

screw it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126815)

I'm tired of apple after only two years of using my macbook pro for development. I don't care how good Xcode is for general programming nor do I care about iLife. Bye Apple, I'm going back to Linux and Windows. "Hi, I'm a mac, I'm here to be friendly to the user but a suck arse prick to every developer out there. We don't want backwards compatibility, bye carbon. We'll screw every developer out there in to thinking they actually control their own products." *windows moron, linux geek, bsd chick come out* "(Windows - Ballmer) Now the great Messiah Steve is dying, we can continue with our plans for world domination. (Linux Geek) Finally, I was tired of there being a second OS which could actually run Photoshop. (BSD chick) Mmmm now there isn't anyone to molest our source code in to their own closed product."

Re:screw it (5, Funny)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126911)

I can't find a real moderation for this, so I'll settle for a virtual moderation of "-1 Huh?"

Striking a balance (5, Insightful)

dmoen (88623) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126831)

"the iPhone ... was trying to strike a balance between a closed device like the iPod and an open device like the PC"

The correct "balance" between open and closed is *open*.

Re:Striking a balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126901)

bullshit. look at all the open source apps out there. Now how many do people use because the app is actually good, and not because the app is free or because of philosophical requirements (it must be open source)?

Re:Striking a balance (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127029)

I don't think we're discussing open vs closed source here. I think we're talking open vs closed market. The problem is Apple is a giant filter that limits what is allowed to be sold in the App Store. These people want to be able to write and sell anything they like. The trouble is that Apple just won't let them do it.

Re:Striking a balance (2, Interesting)

wish bot (265150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127495)

The problem I have is that they can write/develop anything they want, and they can even sell it for any price they want, they just can't do it through Apple's store.

So who the hell cares? Just because you write a great book doesn't oblige Dymocks to sell it. You may have trouble getting anyone to sell it. You might - gasp - have to resort to selling it on the Internet.

Just like the guys in the article are doing. Big deal, grow up, and stop waiting for the world to solve you problems for you.

Re:Striking a balance (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127629)

True. But according to Apple, jailbreaking your phone is illegal (under the DMCA or other such nonsense), so any sales that aren't going through Apple's own app store are all occurring on a black market of sorts.

Of course, that's something you know going into it, unlike your example of a book which you have no way of knowing whether people will carry it or not.

Re:Striking a balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127289)

> Now how many do people use because the app is actually good, and not because the app is free or because of philosophical requirements (it must be open source)?

25% of people who browse the web?

Re:Striking a balance (0)

paimin (656338) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127169)

And I should be able to walk into Macy's and set up a booth to sell the beer I brew in my basement...right?

Re:Striking a balance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127215)

What? That makes no sense as an argument here.

No, you shouldn't be able to do that. But what you should be able to do (and what these guys are trying to do) is setting up a clothing tailoring store and telling customers "Hey, if you have clothes from Macy's we can tailor them for you!"

Perfectly legal, so far as I know.

Re:Striking a balance (1)

Chrono11901 (901948) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127279)

I think its more like you buying a cup that sais Coke on it. You can fill this cup up with any liquid you want... unless its a liquid that coke also makes, then said liquid is banned from the cup. If pepsi attempts to fill my cup, coke may sue them.

Re:Striking a balance (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127303)

Mr BadAnalogyGuy, is that you?

You can buy any truck you want.

But if you buy a Ford, you have to by Exxon Gas only, and you can only carry people and things in your truck which have been approved by Ford, and you can only use Ford parts, and you can only use Ford windshield washer fluid, and the radio will only tune in the Ford Station.

If you put any item not approved by Ford and sold by Ford in the truckbed your warranty is void and you committed a DCMA violation.

Re:Striking a balance (0)

paimin (656338) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127473)

My point is that Apple has designed the phone and the store that they want to design, and that's their business. As soon as Apple sues someone under the DMCA for making a product available for the iPhone or for installing a product on their iPhone, then your analogy has some bearing.

Re:Striking a balance (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127671)

But it's not like Apple isn't very upfront about their policies, both for users and developers. What we have here, per your analogy, is people knowing these Ford limitations and buying them* anyways after deciding that the benefits of buying Ford outweigh the negatives you've just listed.

*Ignoring that whole bailout thing.

Re:Striking a balance (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127833)

Apple is not UP Front with their application denial policy. It has never been explicitly publicized, and it is enforced with whimsy and capacious inconsistency. They disallow one app but allow another that does the exact same thing. They disallow competent email apps because they would "compete" with the built in Email app. Compete? (They mean "show up".)

Some apps they refuse to give because Steve Jobs says NO. No other reason. The Iphone Camera can take movies. (Most cell cameras can). Steve says NO. If you jailbreak you can take movies.

If you live in Apple's world, have a Mac at home, you probably think this is just the way it is. But if you come from a Linux or Windows environment you can not conceive of why one Fart app is denied while another is approved. Why you can't send MMS on the device.

And because you are from the Mac world this is ok by you, you are so used to being told exactly what you can and can't do by Apple you know no other way.

Re:Striking a balance (1, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127551)

Apple wants to regulate the quality of third-party software for their platform. So, you're wrong--the correct balance is between. However, your post plays into typical goofy Slashdotter ideals and so will achieve an instant +5.

Define for me please. (2, Interesting)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126859)

How does creating a device tied to your store not meet the definition of an unfair monopoly?

Re:Define for me please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126885)

When nobody, except a fringe of queers and poseurs owns such a device.

Unix in your hand... dumbass. (1, Flamebait)

diggitzz (615742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127491)

A jailbroken iPhone with Cydia installed is 1 app away from being a fully functional Unix box.

And if you don't already know which app it is, I'm not going to tell you (because you wouldn't want advice from queers and poseurs anyway).

Re:Define for me please. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127031)

Um, because the iPhone is simply not that popular. I'm sure there are more closed phones out there that are more popular than the iPhone (a lot of Samsung phones come to mind...)

Re:Define for me please. (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127111)

That's quite funny. Slashdot has story after story saying the iphone is the most popular on the planet, and then you get a post like that.

Re:Define for me please. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127185)

Even if the iPhone was the most popular phone on the planet, that doesn't mean it has a monopoly. For example, if the iPhone say, has about 5% marketshare of all phones (which, I doubt they do), there are still 95% of phones that aren't iPhones that might not have the individual sales to make up to 5% but when put together easily overwhelm the iPhone in terms of sales and use.

Re:Define for me please. (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127295)

You're right that Slashdot has story after story on the Iphone, although none of them AFAICR claim that - instead we get pointless spam/trivia such as "You can now read this webpage on an Iphone" (as if reading a website on a phone was something new or interesting). Even if there was such a story, that doesn't make such an absurd claim true.

Apple are not a monopoly (or even remotely close), so they don't have to play by monopoly rules.

Re:Define for me please. (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127529)

Apple are not a monopoly (or even remotely close), so they don't have to play by monopoly rules.

That remains to be seen.

Apple can not invite third party developers to their store and then impose arbitrary and inconsistent restrictions on one application which do not apply to all. Once you open your lunch counter for business you can no longer choose to let in Baptists but not Catholics, Whites but not Blacks and hide behind the fact that there are other lunch counters in town.

You would be first in line if Microsoft prevented you from running OpenOffice, or Apple locked Firefox off of the Mac. Yet for some reason you think Apple gets veto power over applications based on whimsy?!?

Good apps are denied for no reason at all, the "pocket denial": http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/03/09/steve-jobs-please-approve-the-missing-children-app/?source=yahoo_quote [cnn.com]

If the playing field were level there would be no reason for a third party store. But when Google can break the rules of iPhone development and other programmers can't there is something seriously wrong.

Re:Define for me please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127037)

Can you buy a different phone?

Re:Define for me please. (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127141)

How does creating a device tied to your store not meet the definition of an unfair monopoly?

Well - because it's not a monopoly at all. To clarify, suppose Apple NEVER released a development kit at all - and so, there were NO additional apps. Would the iPhone constitute a monopoly then? No. So extending its capability, and providing an outlet for that extended capability does not suddenly put it in the monopoly category.

Now, having said that, I agree with the colloquial statement that the App Store is a monopoly - note, colloquial.

NAPA creates a lot of devices tied to their store - doesn't make them a monopoly at all. Ditto all sorts of other manufacturers.

I have a Helio Ocean. Very hard to get apps for without going through Helio - doesn't make them a monopoly.

The iPhone isn't a monopoly because AT&T isn't a monopoly and because the iPhone isn't the only phone you can use with AT&T (speaking strictly for the USA, apologies to my non-American buds).

You want an open phone? Me too. I'm still waiting for this to be all that I need - http://openmoko.com/product.html [openmoko.com] Wish I had the skills or time to develop the skills to help those cats.

Re:Define for me please. (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127411)

Wait, is this Apple or Verizon now?

Seriously, if you think Apple saying "Our apps only work on iPhones" is a problem, try spending half an hour getting your phone to connect to your laptop via Bluetooth because your carrier decided it was a feature they'd rather "give you" after the cost of some $40 "Media Kit".

BitPim FTW, incidentally.

Bundling does NOT automatically mean monopoly (5, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127507)

In US law, for any company to be a monopoly, it has to be the only player in the market, or have a dominant market share in the US market. Microsoft owns 90% of the desktop operating system market. That's a monopoly. Apple isn't even the #1 phone manufacturer in the US yet. It's getting there, but not yet. It's far from dominant in the cell phone industry.

If you are a monopoly, you can't "bundle" basically, because that means you are using your leverage in one market to take advantage of another. If you aren't a monopoly, then it's up to the market to decide if the bundle you created is a buoy for greater sales, or an anchor that sinks you to the bottom. Microsoft has tied IE to it's OS. It used it's OS dominance to edge out Netscape and not allow anyone to preinstall it on PCs, and edge AOL off PC desktops in preinstalls and forced them to put MSN installs on them instead. That's anticompetitive, because AOL and netscape (no matter how they sucked at the time) could not compete by going to a PC manufacture and offering a better deal. That's not the sole reason for their collapse, but by denying consumers choice, you damaged both these company's businesses.

There are no US laws that explicitly state that bundling is across the board illegal. There are no US laws that state bundling itself is a monopoly practice. There are laws that state bundling is illegal for true monopolies. Once you lesser Slashdot peons who don't understand antitrust law get that thru your thick heads, the sooner the elite of this site will allow you to join our ranks, and be allowed to use the abbreviation /.er and be cool like us ;)

Re:Bundling does NOT automatically mean monopoly (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127691)

I want to flag this as insightful or interesting, but I have already posted. FLAGGED> Insightful

NO. NOT NOW. NOT EVER. I'M COMING FOR ALL OF YOU! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126865)

Why jail-break an iPhone and use software that isn't signed by Apple on the AT&T network in violation of your contract when you can just buy a competitive device?

What part of "I'm carrying a unique serial number that's pinging its current GPS location to AT&T and Apple every few seconds" do you not understand? You break their contract, maybe they start going through your photos, call logs and other private information...

Re:NO. NOT NOW. NOT EVER. I'M COMING FOR ALL OF YO (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126897)

What part of "I'm carrying a unique serial number that's pinging its current GPS location to AT&T and Apple every few seconds" do you not understand? You break their contract, maybe they start going through your photos, call logs and other private information...

How do you know that won't happen either way?

Re:NO. NOT NOW. NOT EVER. I'M COMING FOR ALL OF YO (3, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127091)

You break their contract, maybe they start going through your photos, call logs and other private information...

Well, this is AT&T we are talking about who illegally assisted the NSA with warrant-less wiretaps... So I imagine that they don't care how your contract status is, they might be doing it right now, all in the name of fighting "terrorists".

OPEN?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126889)

..."trying to strike a balance between a closed device like the iPod and an open device like the PC."

That is outright LAUGHABLE. I can DO things to my PC. And guess what? The manufacturer doesn't want to take me to court, sue me, or accuse me of violating my EULA. They're probably not planning to complain to the FCC or the FTC, either...

Why do companies always do this? (2, Insightful)

Wahesh (1492161) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126891)

Apple has a good product with a popular app store, and attempts to over control both. This is only going to inhibit the growth of the app store. If Apple allowed jail broken phones to use the app store, apple would make more money, the developers would be happier, and most importantly the users would be happier.

Re:Why do companies always do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126977)

Jailbroken phones can use the app store.

Actually... (5, Informative)

Jon.Laslow (809215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127011)

"If Apple allowed jail broken phones to use the app store..." They do - I frequent the Apple App Store and Cydia on my jailbroken iPhone 3G. The issue is about developers being able to sell apps that aren't permitted on the Apple App Store because they use undocumented APIs, compete with Apple apps, etc...

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127775)

... or because they steal user's data and mail it back to the developer, use the phone for DoS attacks against the phone network, redirect phone calls via expensive per-minute out-of-country numbers, etc.

We may not agree with Apple's choices of which applications to approve, but allowing a free-for-all is not best for everyone.

Re:Why do companies always do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127359)

Jailbroken phones do use the app store, infact I've purchased many a paid app despite the fact my phone is jailbroken.

Deep insight on iPhone app usage (2, Funny)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27126921)

http://www.theonion.com/content/amvo/iphone_app_usage_drops_off [theonion.com]

Yeah, I stopped using the 'Dial Phone Numbers and Talk' application like two days after getting it.

Cloning the signature. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127297)

It would be interesting to see what contract language (if any) and/or legal regime would apply if the developer of an app that HAD made it to Apple's store cloned the signature and sold it through other outlets. (And if something changed besides the signature between the release and what comes out of the store there are other issues to address.)

It might be hard to bring even the DMCA's "circumvention" provision into play if the app was identical except for the signature and was sold by the author or other rights-holder.

(It would be a one-shot, though. Anybody who tried this would almost certainly have any future products or releases, at a minimum, "mysteriously delayed forever".)

= = = =

Adding the signature alone would not qualify as "creative work" to allow copyright itself to apply to the signing. If something changed other than the signature between the release to the apple store and what comes out of the store there are other issues to address.

How can you even ask if Apple will go after them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27126955)

Of course Apple will go after them.... it's Apple, in case you missed that.

This is a real fatal flaw of the iPhone. It's not open, no matter what they say -- 30% of the sale goes to them, and if Apple decides they don't like your app (for whatever reason they come up with), then you're totally out of luck since you can't distribute apps on your own.

GOOOOOOOO Android!

Write a web application (3, Interesting)

johnthuss (1495677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127039)

I'm working on a GWT framework for the iphone that will allow you to write a web application that looks and behaves just look a native application. A web app can get surprisingly close to being indistinguishable for native thanks to a few features in MobileSafari like:

1) Offline application support
2) Hardware-accelerated animations
3) Chrome-less UI
4) Custom application icon

Since it is a web app you avoid the stranglehold of the app store and the LONG processing time of applications (I know, I have applied and been accepted). You also get the freedom to update your app immediately at any time without needing apple's approval.

Re:Write a web application (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127145)

There are a few bottlenecks. For one, cell phone internet just plain sucks. Even 3G is rather slow, add this with the fact that iPod Touches don't have always-on internet (having to rely on Wi-Fi), the lack of certain API functions (I don't believe you can use the accelerometer, and if you can, it certainly isn't great), and the fact you are at the mercy of Safari which, compared to the core OS, gets updated quite frequently without and guarantees that the tricks you are using will be supported in the next version.

Web Application Kits (1)

weston (16146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127165)

I'm working on a GWT framework for the iphone that will allow you to write a web application

Perhaps something like SproutCore [sproutcore.com] or Cappuccino [cappuccino.org] or PhoneGap [phonegap.com] ?

(Not that there's anything wrong with a new project. :) Just wanted to make sure you knew. )

A web app can get surprisingly close to being indistinguishable for native thanks to a few features in MobileSafari like:

This is true, and it's one of the reasons Apple tried to get people to swallow the "The Web is your Dev Kit" line.

It's also funny how people overlook this when they start griping about how venal and/or controlling Apple is.

Re:Write a web application (2, Funny)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127187)

I'm working on a GWT framework for the iphone ...

GWT == Global War on Terror?

Re:Write a web application (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127277)

Or "George W. Tush", which I do not want to picture.

Greedy Developers. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127107)

If they are really complaining about the 30% that apple is charging they they are just being greedy.
You would pay a lot more than that if you sold it through a brick and mortar store. And setting up a good secure website with an online store isn't that cheap and easy.
Between the marketing value and infrastructure the app store is worth what they charge.
If you don't want to go through the apple approval process then just sell apps for people that have jailbroken phones.

Re:Greedy Developers. (1)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127209)

umm isn't this exactly what they are doing? They are setting up their own app store that will sell apps that will work only on jailbroken phones... exactly what you suggest they do.

They aren't demanding Apple change anything, only that Apple not sue them for setting up this alternative app store for jailbroken phones.

Re:Greedy Developers. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127235)

No one can tell me that Apple's overhead is so high that it justifies taking 30%.

But hey, Apple has no lack of mentally retarded fanbois that would probably defend Steve "Napoleon" Jobs and his band of freedom-haters if they went around cutting off one testicle from each iPhone owner.

"Well, greedy people don't need two balls, so hard are they complain that General Jobs came in and lopped one off."

Re:Greedy Developers. (1, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127387)

Oh I am sure that Apple is making a profit. So are the developers.
I have no illusion that Apple is just covering their costs. But I have worked in the software industry long enough that I think their iTunes app store is well worth what they take.
Freedom haters? Dude I write code on Linux and have contributed to the Kernel. It was small but it is in there.
Nobody MAKES you buy an iPhone. The iPhone and Touch are very nice devices. OS/X is a really nice development system. I don't own a Mac and only own a Touch which yes is a great little device. I use it mostly for free podcasts and for music I have ripped from my CDs. I have bought very little from the App store myself but I really do see the value in it. Just as I see the value in Steam.
So please take your silly little fan boy rants someplace else.
There is NO need to set up your own app store if you want to provide jailbroken apps. All you have to do is put them on a website. Which is fine by me. But complaining about the % Apple takes is just greed. Complaining about the approval process I can understand.

Re:Greedy Developers. (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127611)

Try selling a Windows Mobile application through Handango. They'll take 50-60%. Or try selling a DVD through WalMart. They'll take a whopping 70-80%.

Besides, the App Store is not just a store, but a sales AND marketing channel, with the potential to feature your application and drive hundreds, thousands, or even millions of customers to your door. It's worth the money.

And I bet that Apple's overhead _is_ that high in many cases. Buy a single $0.99 app and Apple gets 33 cents... of which most (if not all) goes to pay the bank's credit card processing fees.

Re:Greedy Developers. (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127887)

Besides, the App Store is not just a store, but a sales AND marketing channel, with the potential to feature your application and drive hundreds, thousands, or even millions of customers to your door. It's worth the money.

This message brought to you by Apple, Astroturfing since 1977!

Re:Greedy Developers. (1)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127419)

If you don't want to go through the apple approval process then just sell apps for people that have jailbroken phones.

That's kind of what the whole article is about these people wanting to do...

They're not complaining (much) about Apple's cut. (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127519)

If they are really complaining about the 30% that apple is charging they they are just being greedy.

As I read TFA they're not complaining about Apple's cut. They're complaining about the process of becoming a developer and releasing products being slowed to a crawl and/or stonewalled entirely by Apple's bureaucracy.

Apple's cut has been mentioned mainly as the likely downside for itself of Apple's intransigence and a motivation for Apple to go after the alternative distributor(s) in the courts and otherwise.

what day is it? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127189)

Is it anti-AppStore-ranting day? Must've missed that in the calender, but this is the second story of this kind that takes a non-story, blows it out of proportion, and doesn't even mention the really interesting parts (like the fact that such a store already exists, oops).

Did a /. editor break his iPhone and feels like he must vent or what's going on? :-)

Re:what day is it? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127567)

The previous story must've generated a lot of ad revenue for Slashdot, so we got another one. I'm guessing it'll be a trend now, and Slashdotters will be tricked into thinking this is actually an issue and that anyone outside of Slashdot cares about it.

Old news.... move along... (5, Insightful)

diggitzz (615742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127435)

This is old news -- Cydia and associated apps have been available on jailbroken iPhones for at least a couple of years now! The most awesome apps I downloaded through Cydia and its Installer App were the BSD Subsystem, OpenSSH Server (0_o!), and Terminal! With those three in hand, the iPhone became just another node on my network, capable of scripted rsync backups and other automated shell customizations! I think that the realization that the iPhone is a fully functional handheld machine is the primary knowledge that Apple seeks to keep out of the hands/heads of the general public. Perhaps the goal is to sell more Macs... or maybe the goal is to soon "open up" the platform to all developers/apps and topple the monopolistic/racketeering practices of phone cos and rival closed-platform phone/handheld manufacturers, similar to what they did with iTunes and DRM? One can only hope...

but in the meantime, one can just jailbreak the iPhone ;-)

Re:Old news.... move along... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127537)

This is old news -- Cydia and associated apps have been available on jailbroken iPhones for at least a couple of years now!

Very impressive of the Cydia people, considering that the iPhone was released less than twenty-one months ago. I'm willing to believe that Steve Jobs can distort time along with other facets of reality, but for independent developers to do this is astounding.

Re:Old news.... move along... (1)

diggitzz (615742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127631)

Well, I've never claimed to be good at simple things. Apparently basic counting eludes me sometimes... it just seems like it's been so long without fanfare! =P

Re:Old news.... move along... (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127707)

Clearly you are not aware of the Flux Capacitor app also available to jailbroken iPhones!

Actually, this is NEW news (1)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127783)

What's new is that there are now true "stores" for apps... it's no longer just installer programs that let you download and install apps. CydiaStore launched just two days ago, and has a grand total of one app for sale (Cyntact, selling at $1.00, modifies the contacts app to display the contact's profile picture next to their name, when you're in the view where you scroll through contacts). The point is that there are private enterprises now hoping to make money off of this. At the moment Cydia is fairly limited -- only working with Amazon Payments -- but promises PayPal support soon, and you can bet there will be a number of new paid apps on the way.

Anonymous Coward (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27127459)

I honestly don't want unapproved code going on my phone. I don't want code written by some unaccountable company or worse--individual developer. If my phone crashes because of an app I put on there, I want it to be someone's fault from a consumer standpoint. If it makes me lose data, I want it to be someone's fault. Having an approval process makes perfect sense from a consumer standpoint, and even better sense from a business standpoint. I don't get what all the whining is about. You can always jailbreak your phone if that's what you really prefer. Just don't expect Apple to support any problems you encounter while using unapproved applications.

The problem with windows mobile for the longest time isn't that they restricted what you could put on the phone, but rather that there was no good way of telling which applications were worth downloading, finding a central place that hosted and sold them, and a review system to let you know that the apps didn't just crash your phone.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127477)

Translation: Choice scares me. I like someone else to hold my hand and take all the effort and risk out of things.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

jbb1003 (514899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127571)

Wait - if an app loses your data, do you seriously expect Apple to do anything more for you than give you a refund for the app? If you do, you're dreaming. The backup process is there for a reason.

As far is the developer is concerned, Apple may pull their app - or even cancel their developer agreement. But that doesn't help you. The only accountability that exists is in knowing whose fault it is. That doesn't get you your data back - or compensation for it.

Why not make an app... (1)

flogger (524072) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127461)

Why not make an app to allow you to go to a different store? Is there something in Apple's TOS for developers that prohibits this?

Re:Why not make an app... (1)

diggitzz (615742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127565)

No, they're just letting the App Store submissions lie around unapproved for inordinate amounts of time, besides explicitly denying entry for such "competitive" content.

Re:Why not make an app... (1)

jbb1003 (514899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127581)

Lemme see...

a) Prohibition against downloading code
b) Inability to download and install an app using the legal APIs
c) Prohibition against doing anything that bypasses Apple's 30% cut.

Love Amazon's MP3 Store. Transferrable Anywhere. (0, Offtopic)

John3k (1489761) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127641)

Amazon has an awesome MP3 store that is DRM-free with a large selection and often good prices. Competing with iTune is one thing, but anyone wanting to get into this space need to think about Amazon.

On the note about Amazon, I recently came across an interesting table that details the discounts on Amazon.

It is at http://www.uberi.com [uberi.com]

Maybe someone will find it useful too.

Haven't We Been Down This Road Already? (1)

BlindSpot (512363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127753)

Years ago Nintendo tried to enforce strict control over the creation and distribution of games for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Tengen (aka Atari) found a way to develop cartridges for the NES (probably by reverse engineering) then successfully sued Nintendo when they tried to uphold their "exclusive distribution rights".

To me that sounds exactly the same as the AppStore situation. So why can't someone do the same to Apple?

Re:Haven't We Been Down This Road Already? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27127913)

Years ago Nintendo tried to enforce strict control over the creation and distribution of games for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Tengen (aka Atari) found a way to develop cartridges for the NES (probably by reverse engineering) then successfully sued Nintendo when they tried to uphold their "exclusive distribution rights".

To me that sounds exactly the same as the AppStore situation. So why can't someone do the same to Apple?

They didn't have the DMCA, and Congress and the Courts hadn't yet found out how pleasing it could be to be unabashed whores to media companies back then.

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