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Why Apple Denied the Google Latitude App

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-a-coincidence dept.

Patents 308

awyeah writes "A recently revealed Apple patent looks remarkably similar to the functionality of Google Latitude, which Apple relegated to WebApp status earlier this year. Obviously if Apple is working on their own version of Google Latitude (or owns the IP rights to this functionality), they'd be hesitant to put an app with the same functionality on their devices from another company."

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I Smell Patent War (3, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623718)

This begs the question, if Google already had an app out, who did it first?

Obviously the patent process takes years.

Re:I Smell Patent War (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30623976)

Either way, this is a pretty clear example of why no company should be allowed to have control over what software consumers can put on devices that they own. It was wrong when the phone companies tried to be sole arbiter, and it is just as wrong for Apple to play that role. It is guaranteed to be abused sooner or later in a way that prevents competition in the marketplace and harms consumers. It was only a matter of time.

I so badly want to see the FTC slap Apple with fines every day until they open the iPhone up to apps sold outside the app store without Apple vetting. That is the only action that sets a strong enough precedent that consumers are in charge of devices that they paid for and have a right to tinker.

Re:I Smell Patent War (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624334)

While I agree that it is in the consumer's best interest to have Apple open the store to all comers I don't agree that the FTC has legal grounds to slap them with fines (I know you didn't SAY that they had it - just sort of implied that maybe they could). Anyway, the lack of open access to the store is why I don't have an iPhone and instead waited and waited and waited and finally got a Droid (which I am thrilled with). It's also why anyone who cares about this type of issue shouldn't get an iPhone. We all talk about voting with our wallets. Some even practice it. But I sure see a lot of iPhones in the hands of folks who really (if they practiced what they preached) should have known better.

Re:I Smell Patent War (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624452)

Oh, shut up. If Apple want to keep the iPhone in a sandbox, they can. It's their product. They don't have some monopoly on phones. If you don't like it, buy something else and get on with your useless life.

Re:I Smell Patent War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624512)

Don't ever do a corporation's bidding unless you're getting paid to do it, in which case you shouldn't do it on public forums without disclosing your affiliation. As consumers, our interest is choice and if we don't demand it, we won't get it.

Re:I Smell Patent War (3, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624564)

No. It is not. When they sell it to you, it stops being their product and becomes your product. If Apple wants it to remain theirs, then they should not sell it. They should rent it, or just keep it for themselves.

Re:I Smell Patent War (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625064)

It doesn't become your product, it becomes your piece of hardware - owning the "product" is an entirely different thing. Semantics aside, you can hack it, and install whatever you want on it. But why is Apple under any obligation to sell everyone's applications in the App Store? When developers sign up for the store, they sign contracts that explicitly state that their applications might be rejected.

Because monopolies are bad (-1, Troll)

Rix (54095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625232)

And we have no good reason to allow them to persist.

Re:Because monopolies are bad (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625324)

What does this have to do with monopolies? It's not like Apple controls the market for mobile phone software. There are plenty of alternative choices.

Re:I Smell Patent War (0)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625038)

The would would be a much different place if Compaq had listed to you and not started making PC Compatibles.

Re:I Smell Patent War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30625344)

I so badly want to see the FTC slap Apple with fines every day until they open the iPhone up to apps sold outside the app store without Apple vetting. That is the only action that sets a strong enough precedent that consumers are in charge of devices that they paid for and have a right to tinker.

That's probably not necessary. A few more of these sorts of stories get out and more people are just going to jump ship to Android.

Case in point, I didn't buy an iPhone for precisely this reason. I heard about the Project Gutenberg reader app getting blocked and I decided I didn't want any company telling me what software I can run on my phone, let alone one that has demonstrated such deeply flawed judgement.

I waited for an Android phone that I liked, and now I have a HTC Hero. It rules.

Re:I Smell Patent War (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624028)

You mean raises the question. Begging the question is a form of logical fallacy which basically means that you are assuming something is true/false in order to prove that it's true/false.

Non-misusers of "begs the question" (-1, Offtopic)

i0lanthe (198512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624206)

YES! I am not alone!

Re:Non-misusers of "begs the question" (0, Offtopic)

Smurf (7981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624372)

I agree that that is what "beg the question" meant originally, and that is what it should mean. Unfortunately the incorrect use has become so widespread that it is even mentioned in the dictionaries. From the New Oxford American Dictionary:

beg the question:
1 (of a fact or action) raise a question or point that has not been dealt with; invite an obvious question.
2 avoid the question; evade the issue.
3 assume the truth of an argument or proposition to be proved, without arguing it.

It is sad, but to the "incorrect" use appears first and the original use appears last.

Re:Non-misusers of "begs the question" (0, Offtopic)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624632)

Words and phrases change meaning over time. It's a fact of life. Just look at the phrase "The exception that proves the rule". People today take that to mean that an exception to a rule somehow makes it even stronger, which is nonsensical. The meaning of "proves" in that phrase was "to test". You showed something was true by proving it, but you could also show something as false by proving it. The word "prove" itself hasn't changed a whole lot, but it did not have the automatic affermative conotation it has in modern usage. I.e. if you said you proved something, it did not automatically mean you proved it true, you could just have easily proved it false. In other words, the phrase meant something like "The exception that tests the valididity of the rule". Obviously that means something much different than what people take it to mean today.

Re:Non-misusers of "begs the question" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624928)

I am interested in your thoughts and ideas and I would like to subscribe to your ... facebook group.

Re:I Smell Patent War (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624276)

Yes, my mistake. It's so often misused sometimes it's hard not to.

Re:I Smell Patent War (1)

drgruney (1077007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624322)

if I had mod points I would give them all to you testify!

Re:I Smell Patent War (4, Funny)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624594)

This just begs the question "Who the hell cares?"

Re:I Smell Patent War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624820)

You mean "This raises the question?"

Re:I Smell Patent War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624968)

+1 funny

Re:I Smell Patent War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30625188)

Surely you mean that you "could care less".

Re:I Smell Patent War (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624104)

Yep, it's been about five minutes. Time for another Apple story! Yay!

Oh, and I'm not surprised some pompous fool has corrected your use of "begging the question." Saying the words "begs the question" begs some pedantic jackass to tell you that you didn't use it correctly. It's like a meta-beg.

Re:I Smell Patent War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624426)

This begs the question

It raises the question. Begging the question is something else.

Re:I Smell Patent War (4, Insightful)

toppavak (943659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624440)

The patent application [uspto.gov] was filed on June 30th 2008. Google released Latitude February 4th, 2009. This would seem to indicate Apple was first, but there's a key difference between the products. The Apple patent specifically deals with sharing location information by text message and only by text message, Google Latitude makes use of mobile internet connections. There's no patent dispute here, merely Apple acting like Apple and rejecting apps which may compete with current or planned functionality that Apple wants to deliver over their platform.

I am by no means a big fan of Apple or Apple products in general, but for those screaming "anti-trust" Apple is entirely within their right to do this (although whether its the "right" thing to do is questionable) considering A) Apple has nothing near a monopoly over the smartphone market B) A monopoly over one's own product is hardly a monopoly and C) Even if Apple were able to completely supplant Google Latitude among iPhone users, they're not going to be selling their software on the other 90% of smartphones out there anytime soon.

Re:I Smell Patent War (1)

mjihad (686196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624508)

This begs the question, if Google already had an app out, who did it first?

Obviously the patent process takes years.

It's not as if broadcasting your location is something new or innovative coming from Google. For example, Helio had Buddy Beacon [entangledparticles.com] back in 2006, which allowed you to find your friends.

Get ready for fanboys (-1, Troll)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623742)

Here they come, ready to defend Apple's move with all sorts of excuses.

Re:Get ready for fanboys (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624918)

That's alright. They probably balance out those who come to bash Apple with no excuses at all.

Prior art (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30623754)

Of course, if someone had prior art to my IP, i'd bury it too.

single good thing? (5, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623798)

Has there been a single good thing to come out of software patents? It seems like every single day there is a story posted about a patent that has clear prior art or is trivial and doesn't innovate or invent anything. The US needs to stop software patents if they want to let technology innovate.

Re:single good thing? (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623912)

Considering that it generally costs $30-$40k to file a reasonable software patent, even if you're only filing it for potential defensive purposes (which is wise, these days... believe me... BTDT)... its a pretty damn good thing for the patent attorneys.

Not so much for the rest of us.

Re:single good thing? (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623926)

Looking at the actual patent language (not just the abstract) I cannot find one little bit where a) it's not obvious and b) there is any real creativity or difficulty in the overall concept. The hardware and programming end of it of course can be difficult but that is not what is covered here.

How did this stinker end up as a patent rather than having the actual implementation of said obvious idea?

Re:single good thing? (4, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624338)

That's my biggest beef with most software patents - the whole idea of the patent is to lay down HOW to do some revolutionary new idea. That's supposed to be the cost of getting your limited monopoly. Software patents usually only give you the what, not the how, and in my opinion should be null. How can I be violating his patent if he never describes how he does it? Or, if it's so simple that they did not need to describe how it is done, how the hell did they get a patent in the first place?

These patents should be loaded with pseudo-code to achieve the stated goals, and if someone comes along who can significantly improve the design of the pseudo-code then they should get a patent too, just like with physical inventions.

That's my opinion. I wouldn't mind software patents if they were treated the same as hardware patents, but they aren't.

Re:single good thing? (1)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624672)

How did this stinker end up as a patent...

Because companies can afford much more expensive IP lawyers than the Patent Office can.

Re:single good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624880)

I didn't end up as a patent. It is a patent application, it has not been granted yet.

Anybody can file an application for anything. For example, the Resurrection Burial Tomb, with artificial muscle robot (Fig 22). http://news.google.com/patents/about?id=ArOWAAAAEBAJ&dq=resurrection+burial+tomb [google.com]

Times change (4, Insightful)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623844)

Back in the day we (including myself) used to get mad at MS for all the anti-competitive things they did.

Now Apple comes along with stuff that MS never dreamed of (or could have got away with) and everybody loves them. Now I get to listen to my friends talk about what a wonderful and cool company Apple is and how they invented everything.

What is going on here?

Re:Times change (0)

thePsychologist (1062886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623940)

I think there is much less hate against Apple, but the difference (and this seems to be said on Slashdot much these days) is that MS has a monopoly and Apple doesn't. The world is also much different now than it was ten years ago. Now there is a thriving and working alternative free OS (in fact more than one) that can be used fairly easily compared to then. We enjoy comparative virtual freedom compared to the days when MS was far more dominant. Of course, we still dislike MS because we remember, but personally I've found that I hardly care about MS any more because it's not as though they can squash Linux like they did for say, Netscape back in the day.

Re:Times change (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624088)

>> MS has a monopoly and Apple doesn't.

That is a piss poor excuse for any corporate to get away with anti-competitive behavior. But that's the only thing apple fanbois can come up with.

MS - I have to use it at work and I let it be that way. But I have never own an apple product and never will. They are so much worse than MS.

Re:Times change (2, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624510)

The big difference is really that Apple does pretty much everything on its own turf - its own OS, running on its own hardware. Microsoft's empire, on the other hand relies on third-party 'partners' and OEMs. And Microsoft has abused those relationships time and time again - and has had the power to destroy companies if they don't behave the way Microsoft tells them to.

Apple does shitty things, but isn't in a position of direct power over other companies - Apple plays with its own toys.

Re:Times change (5, Insightful)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625148)

Apple does shitty things, but isn't in a position of direct power over other companies

What was the topic of this story again? Oh yes, that Apple denied Google's app from the app store because it would compete with Apple's own offering. Sounds like power over other companies to me.

But the whole "Microsoft is a monopoly" argument never really worked for me. If both Microsoft and Apple do something that is morally wrong, then more people will be affected by Microsoft. But this doesn't make it less morally wrong for Apple. Not being the monopoly is not a "get out of jail free" card.

Re:Times change (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625300)

Oh yes, that Apple denied Google's app from the app store because it would compete with Apple's own offering. Sounds like power over other companies to me.

I said direct power. You're chasing a red herring, because Google knew exactly what it was getting into when it signed up to sell applications in the App Store. Every developer that signs up knows that their application may be rejected, and there is no guarantee that their app will ever get sold in the store.

Any company who is betting their livelihood on a guarantee that their apps will not be rejected by Apple is making a foolish business decision.

Compare with the Microsoft situation, where an entire industry - the selling of computer hardware - basically existed at the whim of Microsoft. If you were a PC OEM, it was almost impossible to survive if you didn't sell Windows. And Microsoft wanted to make sure that you ONLY sold Windows with your hardware, and punished those who didn't.

If both Microsoft and Apple do something that is morally wrong, then more people will be affected by Microsoft. But this doesn't make it less morally wrong for Apple. Not being the monopoly is not a "get out of jail free" card.

I don't see where morality comes into it in either case. What do you think that Apple did which was morally wrong? For that matter, what did Microsoft do that was morally wrong? Anti-trust laws aren't about morality as far as I can see, they are about the economy and marketplaces.

Not everybody (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30623962)

There are many of us who view this stuff poorly. I have not, do not, and will not own any Apple products. I simply do not like their closed platforms and anti-competitive nature, and I certainly won't pay more for the privilege of being restricted. Yes they have some nice hardware, but that in itself cannot overcome their approach to doing business.

Re:Times change (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623998)

I've got an iPhone. I generally like Apple. I'll admit some of this stuff seems a little ridiculous. I'm not that mad at this, here's why.

Apple tends to make good interfaces, so the Apple app will probably be good. It's not like Google's app is being denied to be replaced with some horrible piece of junk. It could be worse.

But the real thing is while Apple is doing this, it's WAY better than the pre-Apple cell phone world. I can buy a game (like Bejewelled) that connects to Facebook for $3. Games used to cost $3 per month. And it wasn't full featured, it was one little mode. Google Maps is free. Cell companies used to have terrible programs for an extra $10 a month.

Compared to desktops, the situation is poor. Compared to where cellphones were, it's great; so I'm willing to accept it. As more competition comes around (Android gaining steam) Apple will be forced to improve.

Apple has been in the cell phone market for 3 years now. Apps have been available for 2 years.

Basically I'm not impatient yet. If nothing changes in the next year or two, I will be. But for now, my cell situation is so much better than it was 2 years ago, I'm happy enough.

Re:Times change (4, Insightful)

Burdell (228580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624342)

My crappy little free phone can run Google Maps and any of a half-dozen or so other GPS mapping programs that I can download for free. The people that write them don't need my phone manufacturer or cell provider's permission. They can compete with the GPS app that came with the phone. The same is true for web browsers and so many other things. Why is it that when Apple is afraid of the slightest bit of competition and locks it out at every opportunity, people accept it (even for one minute, much less for two years)? Apple's app may be the best thing every made, but if that is the case, it'll be more widely used than Google's on its own merits, not because Apple is afraid to let Google compete with them.

Re:Times change (1)

bhunter736 (1283362) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624132)

I've noticed the same thing. I love that they are the only company with "Time Machine" because MS uses "System Restore" which is clearly a different name. However, if you try and explain to an Apple fan that they are essentially the same only "System Restore" has been around a lot longer, they just move right along with conversation like you didn't say anything. It is amazing. If you try and point out that Apple is basically selling them an expensive UI on a free OS platform, they insist that Apple invented it. If you point out that all the hardware is now PC compatible components, they again insist that they are not the same. The only difference I see is the blessing and Apple logo on the box. I figure it just takes a few years for a cult to really gain momentum. Now, I don't think Apple is evil. Lots of companies charge extra for their label. Car companies have entire divisions that are the added frills for twice the price - Honda and Acura, Toyota and Lexus come to mind. You do get a little more for the extra money, but not enough to justify designer prices for standard components in a shiny box. IMHO.

Re:Times change (2, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624826)

They're not even close to the same thing. For one thing, if your hard drive crashes, you can restore from a Time Machine backup drive, but your System Restore checkpoint was destroyed along with the rest of your data. For another, because SR uses the same disk, it is very limited in terms of how far back the backups go.

Yes, the concept of rolling back to a previous version is the same, but then again, the concept of checkpoints/snapshots/restore points has been around for at least a couple of decades in the database world. The way that these tools provide that functionality is pretty radically different.

Re:Times change (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624378)

Not everyone is ok with this. I have been an apple fan since day 3, ( since i wasn't out on the west coast back then to have heard of them, it wasn't on day 1 ) and I'm appalled by what is going on.

Re:Times change (1)

maccam (967469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624534)

The facts of this charge of anti-competitiveness against Apple are hardly clear, yet you have tried and convicted Apple of the crimes of MS? Shouldn't we wait for the whole story, before condemning Apple?

Re:Times change (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624728)

Apple is clearly working to limit certain competition on the iPhone. It just isn't illegal.

Re:Times change (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624848)

That is exactly what happens with most designer brands, they have cheap productions in the third world and then charge premium prices for their goods. I recently saw a doc that the customs office has harder and harder times to identify falsely branded designer stuff, guess why, because in many cases it is the same junk even from the same factories which run night inofficial night shifts.

As for Apple, sometimes maybe even often they have a higher build quality for their products even if they use run of the mill stuff, but the times they have not and you are stuck with a problem it can take ages for them to acknowledge their mistake if you are lucky if you are unlucky they wont even react.

Re:Times change (0)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624690)

Actually this is exactly the reason why I did not went for an iPhone for my current generation phone, apple has become over the last years worse and worse, with dictator Stevey Boy at the helm getting more and more like Mao Tse Tung....
Anyway, I still love their computers but given that Apple is more and more reluctant to repair machines under Apple care, and given their worse and worse track record regarding trying to fix manufacturing bugs (it took for instance one and a half years and the start of a class action lawsuits to get Apple to the point to officially acknowledge that the first gen Macbook Airs had hinge problems which made them break over time, a friend of mines machine was refused to be repaired under Applecare due to the machine having been dropped (the damage was absolutely unrelated)) of their machines, I am currently in the phase of slowly phasing them out.

My Mac Mini chugs along for now nicely once it breaks, I will move to an ION or Tegra based solution for its replacement, and once my Apple laptop breaks I will opt for another solution with Linux underneath. For the phone I already went for a HTC Hero, excellent built quality and half the price of an iPhone.

Re:Times change (-1, Troll)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624704)

The simple answer is this: Apple makes good products, and Microsoft makes lousy products. If Windows or IE or Office were good enough to justify their market share, hardly anyone would complain. The problem is that they're not; they're inferior to competing products, and yet they continue to dominate the market, to the point where in many working environments people are forced to use MS products even when there are clearly better tools for the job at hand. In some market segments, this is finally starting to change, but it's been a long hard road.

For a lot of people, Apple's offerings just work better than competing offerings from other companies. As long as that's the case, people will continue to buy from Apple and put up with their Stupid Corporation Tricks. YMMV, of course -- if you don't like OS X or the iPod or the iPhone, then nobody will make you use them. But for the many people who generally like the way Apple products work, the productivity and enjoyment they gain with those products outweigh the problems Apple's behavior creates.

This shouldn't be hard to figure out, but unfortunately there's a substantial portion of the /. population who start shouting "fanboi fanatic!" every time the word "Apple" is mentioned, and refuse to accept that in many cases buying a Mac, or anything else from Apple, might possibly be a rational choice.

Re:Times change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624756)

That's how good Apple's marketing is, and for me its another reason to hate them. I can't even talk to my friends about the company because they are so blindly in love with them... its really sad.

Obviously? (4, Insightful)

mliu (85608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623876)

"Obviously if Apple is working on their own version of Google Latitude (or owns the IP rights to this functionality), they'd be hesitant to put an app with the same functionality on their devices from another company."

That's not obvious at all to me. It harms the vibrancy of their marketplace, it harms the goodwill of the developer community, and ultimately, it would appear to harm the competitiveness of the device by hindering competition for improved functionality. The only reason they can get away with this BS is because they're Apple, the 900 lb gorilla of the new generation smartphone market at the moment.

Re:Obviously? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624062)

... the 900 lb gorilla of the new generation smartphone market at the moment.

If Apple is a 900 lb gorilla, then Google is a 2 ton elephant. Aren't there already apps on the store that do this kind of thing? I think this is more of a "We can't let Google win" thing. Would they deny Joe Bob Software's "Find-My-Friend" app?

We'll see how this all sorts out, especially with competitive pressure from others companies. People keep saber rattling about getting investigations into this (and we saw that start with Google Voice). Something will have to change.

Re:Obviously? (1)

stilldead (233429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624350)

Apple is valued at ~190 Billion and Google at ~196.5 Billion

1900/1965 != 900/2000 last I checked.

Maybe if a 100 billion dollars ~= a ton in weight then we have two 2 ton elephants in the same (hopefully well built) room.

Re:Obviously? (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624718)

Maybe in the US but they are not really the 900lb Gorilla not even remotely worldwide, the Gorilla still is Nokia... They just have the most press coverage with Android currently being close second!

The evil of a closed platform (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623882)

I have an iPhone, and it's a wonderful device, but as soon as my contract runs out (maybe sooner), I'll be moving to a different platform, and this is exactly why.

As long as the iPhone is a closed platform with the only way to get apps through the app store, you will be dealing with this. Apple isn't going to allow competing applications on the device because they simply don't have to. They give a good song and dance about how closed the device is being about the "user experience," but the simple truth is that they don't want competition from other sources. That's their business model, it's how they work.

It's a crying shame, because Apple really is a good company when it comes to style and design, and especially in figuring out exactly what scratches consumers' itches. But this is almost historically identical to what happened with the Macintosh a couple of decades ago. They kept it so closely-held and closed that when the PC came along, which allowed users to shrug off proprietary and use it how they wanted to instead of how some company told them to, Apple damn near went out of business.

I really do hate to see them rebuild their reputation (and market value) again, just to throw it all away like they did last time, but damned if it doesn't look like that's exactly what they're trying to do.

Same as a computer (0, Troll)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623936)

* Jailbreak
* Install apps
* If you ever need warranty service, reflash with original OS before sending in

Re:Same as a computer (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624080)

You have to jailbreak a computer??

Re:Same as a computer (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624176)

More like reflash to factory condition before returning. Jailbreak analogy is to installing linux.

Re:Same as a computer (1)

Pederson (1431413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624268)

uhh you don't have to 'jail break' a computer. Also, this is quiet extreme for most people to accomplish simply because they want something like Latitude on their phones. Not to mention I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Apple figures out how to catch people on warranty matters like this (think about the 'tobacco smoking' thing a few months ago). I have yet to buy anything Apple (besides an old iPod Shuffle when they had the 'square' form factor, unbeatable in terms of a gym device) and yeah, I certainly recommend Apple products to the less than tech-savvy people that come to me for purchasing help. But all in all, Apple is sad.

Re:The evil of a closed platform (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624226)

I really do hate to see them rebuild their reputation (and market value) again, just to throw it all away like they did last time, but damned if it doesn't look like that's exactly what they're trying to do.

Actually, you've got it exactly backwards. Apple nearly went out of business because they went more open and allowed Mac clones. Now that they are (arguably) more closed in that respect, they are extremely successful.

Re:The evil of a closed platform (2, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624932)

No, by the time they went to clones, that damage was already done. The Mac was this very expensive solution that didnt do much more than a PC that cost $1,000 less. They couldnt compete and decided to sell clones.

Re:The evil of a closed platform (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625174)

Actually, I think it was the success of the iPod that revived them more then the switch back to a closed hardware platform.

But either way, I would argue against the implication that Apple MUST maintain such a closed platform in order to be profitable. I think we all accept that Apple is very good at marketing and execution and that they have the most valuable/cool brand in technology. Yes, the ways that they keep their platform closed and under tight control produce a little extra gravy for the bottom line, but I think they could still be very profitable without out all of the negative stuff.

Otherwise, it seems to imply that all of the companies that implement the open and fair business and technology practices that we espouse here will fail. That they have to be nasty to win. I hope not.

Re:The evil of a closed platform (2, Interesting)

Strange Attractor (18957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624250)

Right! The last Apple product that i bought was an early Mac. Writing code for it was unnecessarily difficult because Apple was protecting the secrets of the "OS". I used SUN products for a while after that, but since really open systems became available I've used them exclusively. I will do the same thing with phones.

Re:The evil of a closed platform (5, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624394)

yes. Many people just don't know this about Apple. In the mid to late 80's Apple was well known for being extremely obtuse about low level programming information and tools for the Mac. Not only did they refuse to give out development tools for free, but they also refused to allow others to have enough information to develop their own .. at any price.

Apple has been asshats since the first Mac, but somehow in the 90's they managed to turn popular opinion around while remaining asshats.

Re:The evil of a closed platform (2, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624760)

The assheadness always had a lot to do with the CEO... Apple was open when the designes came from Wozniak he always opted for open system, they then closed everything with the Mac, guess who was at the helm.
Apple again became more open when the CEO was ousted, and now they have become more and more closed again.
As much as I love their OS and their computers, but their attitude becomes worse and worse every year :-(

Re:The evil of a closed platform (1)

aftk2 (556992) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624860)

What a ridiculous argument. You seem to forget that this CEO –the one so supposedly hateful of all things open –helmed a software company based significantly on open source technology, and brought it back to the Mac when he took over again!

Re:The evil of a closed platform (1)

Suffering Bastard (194752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624260)

I think you're overreaching here. While I agree that having a closed App Store is another manifestation of Apple's control freakiness, and that this does some disservice to its customers and developers, I don't see this as anywhere near the bumbling that got them to death's door in the 80s and early 90s. Steve has mellowed out a bit (just a bit), enough to be flexible when it counts. I'll very likely join you in the chorus of anti-Apple's-anti-user policies, but it's quite clear that Apple has the ingenuity to create great computing products while being a benevolent dictator of their platform, very much unlike MS, which has been a raging bully from day 0.

It's been pointed out before that Apple doesn't crackdown on jailbreakers, which would not be the case if they were the self-imploding Big Brother some accuse them of being. I also greatly appreciate the way they allow me to control my OS X Macs, whether it's working with plist files, easy containment of apps and app resources, using Automator/folder actions for basic customized behaviors, or using the ever-lovin' command line to access a plethora of open source apps all eager and ready for my input. This is all very different from the early days of the Mac OS, when we had to use ResEdit and a bunch of cheesy shareware apps to get anything to work outside the Apple-defined paradigm.

So long as Apple continues to produce truly elegant technology for the masses, and continues to support it well (this point may be debatable), they will thrive despite any user-unfriendly policies, due precisely to their stated reason of controlling the user experience for the better. Look at Windows to see what a mess can happen when you allow mob rule to infest your platform. While I don't agree on principle with many of Apple's policy choices, I think they are doing exactly what they should do to remain a vibrant and successful technology company.

Re:The evil of a closed platform (4, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624448)

It's been pointed out before that Apple doesn't crackdown on jailbreakers

You mean besides bricking jailbroken phones?

Re:The evil of a closed platform (3, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624466)

It's been pointed out before that Apple doesn't crackdown on jailbreakers

Other than occasionally pushing out updates with little purpose other than to brick jailbroken phones, you mean.

Besides that, you're right...

Re:The evil of a closed platform (4, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624908)

>I have an iPhone, and it's a wonderful device, but as soon as my contract runs out (maybe sooner), I'll be moving to a different platform, and this is exactly why.

Same here. Im leaning towards an android phone bought without subsidy and getting on T-mobile's non-subsidized plan for 59.99 unlimited text/data and 500 minutes. Thats about 30 dollars less a month than the equivalent plan on ATT and Im only going to pay an extra 200 dollars down, which pays for itself in less than one year.

>They give a good song and dance about how closed the device is being about the "user experience," but the simple truth is that they don't want competition from other sources.

Turns out history was right: There's no such thing as a benevolent dictator. Turns out centralization from an unaccountable group leads to abuse. Apple is just a thug in the market and with its controlled devices, its helping no one but its bottom line.

All these apps and no water (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30623952)

But what if I am thirsty and there is a latitoad on my phone that makes me thirsty and it spats at me with electric shocks???? Then what will G$$GLE do???? FUCK!

Fundamental principle (4, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624004)

No manufacturer has the right to prohibit person A from installing on a device he owns software written by person B: any legal or technological measures to this end are immoral, and ought to be barred by consumer protection laws.

Re:Fundamental principle (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624428)

any legal or technological measures to this end are immoral, and ought to be barred by consumer protection laws.

Or just let the free market take care of it. Unfortunately (in my opinion) this is what the market/consumers want, or at least will tolerate.

Re:Fundamental principle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624434)

It is so easy to say this, and easy for some to believe it, however, this isn't true legally, and morality is not a constant thing around the world.

Also, installing *any* software on a device is extreme. *Any* software could potentially allow the "user" to reverse engineer some of Apple's multi-touch programming etc. I'm sure you'd love it if someone managed to do this, and there was an actual iPhone clone out there that could be had for $50 without a 2 year commitment, but that's still IP theft.

Re:Fundamental principle (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624490)

Also, installing *any* software on a device is extreme.

Desktop computers have been "extreme" for 25 years then?

*Any* software could potentially allow the "user" to reverse engineer some of Apple's multi-touch programming etc

There's nothing stopping them now. When you outlaw debuggers, only crackers will have debuggers.

I'm sure you'd love it if someone managed to do this

Jailbreak. The world hasn't ended.

and there was an actual iPhone clone out there that could be had for $50 without a 2 year commitment

There are plenty of touchscreen devices out there now. Competition is a good thing. If Apple really has something unique, it can work within the patent and copyright system. Restricting software installation doesn't help defend Apple's works, and hurts users. All it does is pad Apple's bottom line.

but that's still IP theft.

"Intellectual property" isn't property, and violating copyright and patent law isn't "theft".

Re:Fundamental principle (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624994)

Desktop computers have been "extreme" for 25 years then?

Since when has every desktop computer OS been able to run every piece of software written for every other OS? Since when has every desktop computer been able to run every OS?

There are plenty of touchscreen devices out there now. Competition is a good thing. If Apple really has something unique, it can work within the patent and copyright system. Restricting software installation doesn't help defend Apple's works, and hurts users.

That may well be, but how is it not within Apple's rights to decide what software to sell in its own store? The terms and conditions of selling in the App Store are well known to developers up-front when they sign the contracts.

"Intellectual property" isn't property, and violating copyright and patent law isn't "theft".

How is intellectual property not property?

Re:Fundamental principle (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625070)

Since when has every desktop computer OS been able to run every piece of software written for every other OS? Since when has every desktop computer been able to run every OS?

You're engaging in semantic shifting. There's a difference between being able to run third party programs written for your operating system and being able to run programs written for other operating systems.

Also, intellectual property really isn't property [guardian.co.uk] .

Re:Fundamental principle (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625214)

You're engaging in semantic shifting. There's a difference between being able to run third party programs written for your operating system and being able to run programs written for other operating systems.

But you said that preventing software from running via technological measures was immoral. You did not specify that it only applied to software that would otherwise run.

You have to be very careful when proposing things to be codified into law/morality. Because if there was a law or moral code written the way you wrote your proposal, you can bet your bottom dollar that there's a lawyer out there who will argue that not making your OS compatible with his clients software, is a technological measure designed to prevent his software from running.

I'm sure you mean well, but you have to be more precise. It's similar to the whole "net neutrality" issue - if you aren't very precise about your definitions, you end up with people turning things upside-down.

Also, intellectual property really isn't property [guardian.co.uk].

What, because Cory Doctorow says so? This position is stupid. You may not want intellectual property not to property, but the fact is that it is.

is it not possible to own a patent or copyright? Is it not possible to sell a copyright or patent to someone else? Of course it is. So how is that not property? Anything else that can be bought, sold or have ownership transferred is considered property.

The problem Cory's argument has is that he's getting the property part wrong. The property is the exclusive right to distribute (or in the case of patents, manufacture), not necessarily the content itself.

Re:Fundamental principle (1)

Ectospheno (724239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624580)

I'm not sure what exactly is "Insightful" about your post. It is a nice dream and perhaps the world would be a better place if things worked that way.

But it doesn't, never has, and never will. It is an ideological dream that won't exist in our current reality no matter how much you wish for it or try to legislate it. Sad but true.

Re:Fundamental principle (-1, Troll)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624622)

No manufacturer has the right to prohibit person A from installing on a device he owns software written by person B: any legal or technological measures to this end are immoral,

Hmmm, so it's immoral that Windows software can't natively run on Linux? Should the developers of Linux be forced to make Windows .EXE applications compatible, and vice versa?

Re:Fundamental principle (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624794)

No manufacturer has the right to prohibit person A from installing on a device he owns software written by person B: any legal or technological measures to this end are immoral,

Hmmm, so it's immoral that Windows software can't natively run on Linux? Should the developers of Linux be forced to make Windows .EXE applications compatible, and vice versa?

Fail troll is fail.

The parent was talking about purposefully prohibiting the running of software that would otherwise run. Obviously if there are technical limitation (such as the fact that the software was designed for a different OS) that's an entirely different situation.

The issue here is not that there's a technical limitation stopping the software from being run, but rather, there's an arbitrary block put in place by the developers of the OS.

Re:Fundamental principle (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624934)

The parent was talking about purposefully prohibiting the running of software that would otherwise run.

That's not what the post said.

Obviously if there are technical limitation (such as the fact that the software was designed for a different OS) that's an entirely different situation.

The post specifically called out technological means as being unacceptable - so how is it a different situation?

The issue here is not that there's a technical limitation stopping the software from being run, but rather, there's an arbitrary block put in place by the developers of the OS.

There's a block being put on the software being distributed by Apple in its own online store. Do you think that stores should be forced to carry whatever product any vendor wants them to carry?

Re:Fundamental principle (1)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624748)

No manufacturer has the right to prohibit person A from installing on a device he owns software written by person B: any legal or technological measures to this end are immoral, and ought to be barred by consumer protection laws.

No-one is preventing you doing anything. You can do exactly what you like with it. You just void your warranty. That is exactly the same as if you modify your car (put, say, an induction kit on a new car then try to get it fixed under warranty).

Re:Fundamental principle (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625086)

Don't like it, don't buy it, nobody's forcing you - Apple doesn't have anything close to a monopoly.

That's my fundamental principle.

The problem with this particular conspiracy theory (2, Insightful)

kithrup (778358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624034)

is that it requires that the app approvers know what patents Apple has in the process.

This is of course a possibility; it's also a possibility that there's an IP lawyer looking over every submitted (or even ever just-about-to-be-approved) app, for just that kind of thing. But that doesn't really fit with the workflow descriptions that have come out into the open, so I don't think it's very likely.

(It's also possible that he reviewers are given general directions occasionally, such as, "All Google-submitted apps must be sent to such-and-such for review" or "Any app that uses location services in a social network context must be approved by upper management." Obviously, I made those up :).)

Re:The problem with this particular conspiracy the (2, Insightful)

RattFink (93631) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624602)

is that it requires that the app approvers know what patents Apple has in the process.

...or far more likely it could mean that approves have a list of gidelines in which they refer to when approving apps, and those gidelines forbid certain kinds of apps, such as those that allow tethering or ones that show the presence of friends on a map that Latitude offers. I don't see why it would require anyone to be in the know of internal app development there.

Re:The problem with this particular conspiracy the (1)

mliu (85608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624642)

I don't think it necessarily has to be the way you're describing.

Seems to me the easiest way to implement such a policy at Apple would be to draw up a set of rules for reviewers to follow, something like this:
1. If an app is a dialer, deny it because it duplicates dialer functionality
2. If the app contains Apple logos, deny it because it infringes our trademarks
etc.
with an entry for
X. If the app contains a way to place the user's friends on a map, deny it because it duplicates functionality.

No need for reviewers to know about about patents, no need for lawyers to look at each submission.

Google Maps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624368)

It probably conflicts with the built-in functionality of "Google Maps". That is actually a violation of Apple's rules. Google should know this.

That said: They should probably just approve it.

Get off your high horses. (1)

Spazed (1013981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624404)

Apple doesn't have to provide a way for you to put apps onto any of their products. They have a product with some restrictions to help protect their image/brand. They have never said that they would allow any application written to be put in the app store. They also don't have to worry about antitrust because there are other devices that you can buy with its own set of restrictions and apps. I would go as far as to say that Apple is being pretty kind about people circumventing their software restrictions, jailbreaking is against the TOS you sign when you buy the phone and they haven't bothered any Hackintosh builders unless they were selling them.

Apple isn't being deceptive, stop acting like this is the biggest human rights violation since slavery.

Nokia Friend View (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624472)

DidnMt Nokia have such a product long before Google?

Apple denied Google Voice app, not Latitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624546)

Wow someone's memory is utter shit; it was the Google Voice app that got rejected, not Latitude.

Sensationalism FAIL!!!

Looks Like APRS (1)

DrTime (838124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30624604)

This looks like an application specific front end (with compass) like APRS works for ham radio.

See aprs.fi and enter the call sign of a ham radio equipped with a GPS (like the Yaesu VX-8R).

It just opens the door to anyone and maybe adds a friends list.

Apple Stinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30624802)

This is a perfect example of why I won't buy Apple products and why I won't own an iPhone.

Long live Android.

My device (4, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625072)

"they'd be hesitant to put an app with the same functionality on their devices"

But, you see, it's my device. I bought it. I'd like to be able to choose between the Google product and the Apple product and use the best one.

Re:My device (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30625386)

But it's their store. And if everything that you want on your device has to come from their store, just maybe you should have thought of that first.

Creepy & patriot act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30625374)

Doesn't anyone find this creepy where you allow some company to find your location and see how you associate with anyone at any given time. Of course throw in the Patriot Act.

FBI Audit Exposes Widespread Abuse Of Patriot Act Powers
http://www.aclu.org/national-security/fbi-audit-exposes-widespread-abuse-patriot-act-powers [aclu.org]

FOIA: National Security Letters (NSLs)
http://www.eff.org/issues/foia/07656JDB [eff.org]

FBI Employees Face Criminal Probe Over Patriot Act Abuse
http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2007/07/exigentinvestigation [wired.com]

FBI Admits More Privacy Violations
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/03/06/2310206 [slashdot.org]

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