Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NASA appeal exposes iPhone app fine print

Apple's iPhone is worse for modernization and competition than the PC ever was, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has published the iPhone developer contract in full.

The deal, which all utilizes of the iPhone SDK must sign, has been roundly criticized for being “one-sided”, giving Apple absolute control over an app's chance of success.

The contract says developers may only sell their apps via Apple's App Store, and that Apple can pull the plug on them at any instant, removing the app from sale and remotely disabling it in user devices.

The contract limit's Apple's liability to a measly $50. If Apple's mobile devices are the future of computing, you can expect that future to be one with more limits on modernization and competition than the PC era that came before, the EFF said.

The contract forbids publication or public debate of itself, so the EFF was forced to file a Freedom of Information Act request against an app-making US agency, in this case NASA, in order to have the deal pierced into the public record.

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