Do You Really Feel Controlled? Let’s Talk About Control

| Editorial

There’s a lot of fuzzy thinking and whining going on about Apple, Steve Jobs, and control. Let’s look at things in a new light.

Here are the facts:

1. A very small number of Apple iPhone developers don’t like the constraints Apple has placed on them. Let’s remember who they are: businessmen.

2. In an era of instant communication and blog-mania, they complain about it bitterly. Businessmen and women never want restrictions of any kind. It’s in their blood.

3. News sites, always on the lookout for something to write about that has the potential for both agitation and getting under Apple’s skin, pick it up and then start to editorialize on top of that. The result is questionable editorial opinion material like: “Is Steve Jobs Big Brother?

It’s a simple and deceptive editorial sleight of hand to move from Apple’s policies that are restrictive for iPhone/iPad development to being Big Brother for consumers. I really doubt that the average iPad or iPhone consumer feels very restricted. Let’s do a test:

Fire up Safari on an iPad. Where is it you can’t go because of Apple? (Adobe Flash is not a location, it’s a feature.)

Fire up Mail on an iPhone. Who is it you can’t e-mail? (You can even e-mail Mr. Jobs.)

It’s only when we get into the Wild, Wild West of applications that choices are restricted. Like Porn.

One of the things that developers overlook is that by doing business with Apple, they are partners. Partners that reflect on Apple. Apple, being large and responsible, is looking out for its own customers, the same way the government (tries to) look out for citizens. Both want to succeed. When the government caves in to business special interests and fails to protect its citizens, all hell breaks loose.

Being more specific, it’s similar to zoning. When a city says I can’t build a liquor store or a bar on property zoned for residences and schools, is the city being authoritarian? Big Brother? Or is the city setting a community standard for the benefit of all, not just a greedy businessman who wants no restrictions at all.

Lest we forget, the zoning restriction against bars in a school zone is what gives children the safety and freedom to play on the playground without fear. It cuts both ways.

When Steve Jobs points to 200,000 apps, he’s essentially saying that the restrictions aren’t, in effect, all that onerous. Lots of imaginative developers are making good money. I know; I hear from them every day. In many cases, developers get too imaginative and come up with apps that would circumvent something new and exciting that Apple can’t yet talk about. Explaining why the app is rejected would give away an Apple competitive secret.

Lately, we’ve all come to realize how much harm can come from businessmen who want every restriction relaxed and who want total freedom to sell or do anything (or drill for oil at sea in any fashion they chose). Restrictions on businessmen for the general good are nothing new.

There has been altogether too much fuzzy thinking about all this — needlessly at Apple’s expense.

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54 Comments Leave Your Own

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Yesterday, we got news of Apple purging “widgetty” apps. One of these apps which Ted pointed to was a result of an iPhone/iPad champion within a company getting management to buy into it, specifically to fund development of a picture frame app that showed Twitter and Facebook feeds (among other things) superimposed on the pictures.

Also yesterday, Steve Jobs called developers liars. And then today, you turn this into a discussion about zoning. At least with zoning squabbles and things like eminent domain, the property owner can take the zoning body to court. And in the case of Kelo, all the way to the Supreme Court.

You shouldn’t apologize for a guy who calls people who criticize him “liars” without producing evidence that they lied. Especially when the evidence, taken as a whole over more than a year and half, points to a company that just makes sh*t up as it goes vis a vis App Store policies.

rd

Just like Google asked certain websites to
defend admob purchase.
This is another one of those deals.  Apple will have
to fight Google a little harder.

ibuck

Well put, John. Too much “news” and analysis about Apple and Jobs seem based on assumptions, fears and doubts. One can make quite a mess of things by attributing motivations to others’ actions, especially if failing to discuss those actions with the other person(s). If we are honest and a bit introspective, we find it’s usually ourselves that “makes stuff up.”

Often we find, when faced with the same goals and challenges of the other person, we would act similarly, or at least, understand their reasoning. Jobs explained quite a bit of Apple’s goals and motivations at the D8 conference last night. But for those predisposed to dislike Apple or Jobs, it seems to have little effect. Being controversial or “right” is often to important to them.

Nemo

Bosco:  I saw Jobs’ entire D8 interview, but I don’t remember him calling anyone a liar.  Perhaps, you would deign to provide a quote or reference for Mr. Jobs calling developers liars at D8 or anywhere else.

b0wz3r

The only problem I have with Apple’s control of apps is that ones that can access Mail’s accounts and messages, and the iCal database aren’t allowed. 

Both iCal and Mail on the iPhone really stink.  No week view in iCal, no way to collapse nested folders in Mail, just to name a few issues I have with them…

Week view in a calendar is a make or break feature for me, and in order to get it I had to buy a $13 app with functionality I don’t need (tasks, as I already have/use OmniFocus) and then had to buy other software to get it to sync with iCal on my MacBook Pro through Google Calendar.

This is the one thing that really chaps my hide, and it seems completely unnecessary.  I never thought I’d understand why people want to jailbreak until I ran into this issue.

Don’t get me wrong, my 3GS is the best PDA, phone, whatever you want to call it, I’ve ever had.  But, when people ask me for advice on getting one, because I’m a big Apple proponent (not a fan-boy!), I tell them up front that if they want to do calendaring and email with any level of competence on a mobile device, the iPhone is not yet there, even after 3 years on the market.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Nemo: Engadget’s transcript hilites (perhaps not word for word, but the gist was right) has this:

But we approve 95 percent of all the apps that are submitted every week… We’re doing the best we can, we’re fixing mistakes. But what happens is—people lie. And then they run to the press and tell people about this oppression, and they get their 15 minutes of fame. We don’t run to the press and say ‘this guy is a son of a bitch liar!’—we don’t do that.”

Please square that against the purge of widget apps and tell me who the liar is. Thanks Nemo!

geoduck

Very well stated.
If a developer or a customer doesn’t like it, then get outta’ the pool. There’s lots of other phones, and OSs, and systems, and developers, and customers out there.
BigBrother was a dictator, not one of many.
SJ is one of many not a dictator.

The comparison I make is with Shopping Malls. Growing up in Eugene Oregon there were a number of people I knew that decried how restrictive Malls were. You couldn’t open any store you wanted. You couldn’t sell anything you wanted. You couldn’t hand out leaflets, or protest or panhandle or busker (that being what I think most of them really wanted). It was a closed restrictive environment. Downtown on the public street was open and you could do and sell nearly anything. Well you know what? People flocked from the city centre and to the Mall because of the restrictions, not in spite of them. People wanted to spend a day shopping somewhere they wouldn’t be hit up for change, have to put up with smoking, fight their way through the save the western salamander protestors, or have to explain the leather-feather-and-chain outfit in the window to their kids. It was a tradeoff but a tradeoff most people, including myself had no problem with.

You don’t like the iPhone/iPad environment go somewhere else. The rest of us will have a good time without you. If enough people leave then Apple will have to change the model. I suspect though that for all but the Buskers out there it’s really just fine.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

If a developer or a customer doesn?t like it, then get outta? the pool.

Many users and developers got into the pool with expectations that were subsequently changed by Apple. Many made investments and commitments under one set of rules, only to be forced to recoup their investments and honor their commitments under another set.

Besides, “get outta the pool” is not a “get out of being seen as a d-bag free” card. You want critics “outta the pool”? Sue us. Please.

skipaq

I’ve been in business and anyone in business who doesn’t expect rules changes is in the wrong?well business. Being in business requires a lot of things and being able to adapt to changing rules, markets and regulations are among those. Complain; business people will. It is their right. But it won’t make them one whit better at business.

Mark Hernandez

No one will acknowledge this in a comment but I think most everyone agrees…

Human beings have trouble with complexity, made worse by the surprising lack of adequate critical thinking skills to sort out that complexity (even more surprising when it’s tech people). One also needs to be able to strip away emotion and personal insecurities to understand a vendor or a marketplace. 

As a result we hear from way too many people who have trouble understanding the simple fact that, because of the complexity, we live in a world of NOTHING BUT TRADEOFFS. Each vendor and developer gets to deal with those tradeoffs and find a balance between them that works for them.

Thankfully, here in America, if you don’t like the balance of tradeoffs, you can go somewhere more accommodating, or create your own world to live, play and work in, but just with fewer tradeoffs you find disagreeable.

It couldn’t be simpler to understand, really.  Apple’s tradeoff balance is so different than Google’s or Microsoft’s.

So when I read comments by people who get bent out of shape about something that’s a tired, well-understood subject, I’m immediately suspicious of their inability to sort their way out of a paper bag. 

This whole subject of “openness” and curated control is very tired, extremely well understood, and doesn’t need to be constantly re-opened, unless you are perhaps a blog site looking for pageviews, attracting those who have trouble dealing with complexity and tradeoffs.

But I think most people understand, shake their head and just move on. 

I’m not sure why I posted this, maybe because there’s a remote chance it might help.

Mark Hernandez
Information Workshop

geoduck

I?ve been in business and anyone in business who doesn?t expect rules changes is in the wrong?well business.

Exactly right. When I was a kid my folks ran a FBO at the Eugene Airport. Every year fees from the city would change. FAA rules would change. Vendors would change their terms.
One year one of the companies decided that we had to buy Avionics in packages of at least a particular dollar amount, not one radio at a time.
One time The FAA came in and said that a third of our test equipment did not meet their new ‘standards”.
Another time a vendor announced that we could only swap systems, not repair them, they had to go back to the factory.
Another vendor suddenly announced that we could not sell radios without installing them (OTC sales to homebuilders was a huge part of our income).
And on and on.
Did we complain? Yes. Did we whine and b**** and such. No, we got on with doing what we needed to do to keep the company going. In one case we figured out how to come up with that much money up front. In another we dropped that manufacturer and pushed the other lines. In the case of the FAA we scrounged up the cash to have all of out equipment ‘certified” (something we had been doing internally for years but without the gold star the outside company put on the paperwork.)

It’s called being in business and if you aren’t willing to put up with a constantly changing landscape then do something else.

{For reference eventually my folks sold the company and retired. Within 6 months the new owners were broke and it was closed. They weren’t willing to do whatever they needed to do to keep the place going.}

Lancashire-Witch

One of the things that developers overlook is that by doing business with Apple, they are partners. Partners that reflect on Apple.

  .....

Lately, we?ve all come to realize how much harm can come from businessmen who want every restriction relaxed and who want total freedom to sell or do anything (or drill for oil at sea in any fashion they chose).

Interesting reference to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  Although the inference that businessmen caused the disaster may not be entirely accurate; it does demonstrate that the actions of partners or contractors (e.g. Transocean Ltd) do indeed reflect on the client (e.g. BP).

When things go wrong it doesn’t make the slightest difference who’s fault it is, or who changed the rules, or who lied - (if oil is sloshing around the Gulf then businessmen must be to blame)  ...  and any problems on the iPhone/iPad will be Apple’s fault.

(With respect for the loss of life and livelihood in the Gulf)

Nemo

Bosco:  I can tell you who the liars are and who the defamer is.  The liars, based on the quote that you provided, are not developers.  They are a certain small group of developers, who, apparently, Mr. Jobs is accusing of lying or misrepresenting the truth about the App Store’s approval process.  That is certainly not all developers, since 95% of developers get their apps approved, and it is lying to say that the comment that you provided is directed at all developers.  However, it is sophisticated, Dick Cheney style lying, that is, take a kernel of truth—Jobs saying that some developers, who had their apps rejected, told lies about the App Store to the press—and utterly misrepresent its meaning so that it has no more resemblance to the truth than night has to day.

Which leads us to the defamer.  That is you.  You misrepresented the facts of an event to lie about what Mr. Jobs said.  To wit:  You said that Mr. Jobs called all developers liars, when the quote that you provided makes it clear that he was referring to only a subset of the developers who complained to the press about the process whereby their respective apps were rejected from the App Store. 

Shame on you.  Yet it is so typical of your posting on these pages regarding Apple and its position on Flash.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

You said that Mr. Jobs called all developers liars

Wow, even for an attorney, you have a real reading comprehension problem! I didn’t use the word “all”, which is one crux of your argument. Nor did Jobs use the word “some”, which is the other crux.

And you call me a defamer? Child, please!

Now, d*ck waving aside, would you care to comment on whether developers of widgetty apps are liars?

Nemo

Bosco:  And, while any particular developer may or may not have legally cognizable claim for the App Store rejecting his app, defamation is clearly actionable.  However, I am sure that you don’t have anything to fear from Steve Jobs for two reasons:  (1) Mr. Jobs wouldn’t even notice you:  you simply aren’t significant; and (2) your rants fail to satisfy one of the prima facie elements of defamation:  injury to the victim’s reputation for which remedy can be had in money damages or an order in equity, but your disrespectful, scurrilous rants have absolutely no chance of damaging either Steve Jobs or Apple’s reputations, because no reasonable and fair person would give your rants any credit.

Nemo

I quote:  “Also yesterday, Steve Jobs called developers liars.”  You used the word “developers” without qualification or limitation of any kind.  “Developers,” therefore, means all developers.  If you meant something less than “developers,” you did not say so.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

So, I quote Steve Jobs: But what happens is?people lie.

And by Nemo’s reasoning, Jobs uses “people” without qualification or limitation of any kind. In context, Jobs was talking about rejected developers. If he meant anything but “all”, he did not say so. Again, that’s Nemo’s reasoning.

I happen to believe that the English language can express things without qualification or limitation and that they can be reasonably inferred. So, I don’t believe (unlike Nemo apparently) that Jobs was calling “all” developers whose apps were rejected “liars”. Nor do I believe that I implied that he said it.

Jobs was oblique, and that calls into question which developers he was calling “liars”. I pointed to an example from yesterday and asked Nemo if he thought that example fell under the “liars” category, or if perhaps, a developer might have a reasonable beef with Apple’s ever-changing policies.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

You said that Mr. Jobs called all developers liars, when the quote that you provided makes it clear that he was referring to only a subset of the developers who complained to the press about the process whereby their respective apps were rejected from the App Store.?

I’m going to expand on this further, Nemo. Let’s posit that what you write there is strictly and wholly correct. Then we can conclude that Jobs meant that any and all developers who complained to the press (or on their blogs) about being rejected are liars. The first prominent example of liars was South Park Studios. Subsequent “liars” include a store that sells swimsuits and the developer of My Frame.

BTW, the developer of My Frame is an excellent example of someone who stood up for Apple’s random policies until he got his ass handed to him. And you know what? I’m OK with that and supportive of him now nonetheless. Just like when Apple finds a way to really disappoint you, I’ll understand your plight. It’ll happen to all of you given enough time (i.e. 18 months). Count on it.

Nemo

But Steve Jobs did qualify his remarks so that any reasonable person would know that “people” meant those certain developers who lied to the press about the process whereby their apps were rejected from the App Store.

Bosco, this is your quote of Mr. Jobs:  “But we approve 95 percent of all the apps that are submitted every week? We?re doing the best we can, we?re fixing mistakes. But what happens is?people lie. And then they run to the press and tell people about this oppression, and they get their 15 minutes of fame. We don?t run to the press and say ?this guy is a son of a bitch liar!??we don?t do that.?

Clearly, the “people,” who Mr. Jobs said lied are only the ones that ran to the press to complain about oppression the App Store’s approval process that Mr. Jobs apparently believes is a false invention.  Taking the context of your quote, Mr. Jobs is clearly not referring to all people or even all developers.  Your quote, on the other hand, lacks any such qualifying language or context; your language comprehends the entire class of developers and, thus, implies that Steve Jobs was speaking about all developers, which is clearly false.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Oh geez Nemo. So Jobs was talking about a Pulitzer prize winning cartoonist, then?

You don’t need to apologize, although if you had any honor, you would. Please just answer my question about widget apps. And tell me what you’re smoking today!

computerbandgeek

I am still restricted as a user because Apple does not allow me to use Google Voice properly on my iPhone. In what way would me using Google Voice make Apple look bad?

I am still restricted as a developer because I am afraid of spending weeks/months of my time and all the dollars associated with that developing an app like the photo frame/widget app that was magically deemed not good enough by Apple, after being approved several times.

So yes, I think it is safe to conclude that Apple is trying to control me.

[edit]I would also like to add:

Let?s remember who they are: businessmen.

I’m not a businessman, I’m a teenager. I am doing a zillion things with my life and deciding what platforms to learn and who to develop for. I am afraid of Apples control, and therefore their platform. As an unestablished individual, I cannot afford to spend the hundreds of hours involved with learning how to develop for the iPhone and developing an app without being guaranteed that I can at least bring it to market and let people decide weather or not it is useful to them.

Every single computer science student that I have spoken with on this topic at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shares the same sentiment. As a result, none of us are even bothering to learn how to develop for iPhone. [/edit]

xmattingly

When a city says I can?t build a liquor store or a bar on property zoned for residences and schools, is the city being authoritarian? Big Brother? Or is the city setting a community standard for the benefit of all, not just a greedy businessman who wants no restrictions at all.

Zoning issues aside, the issues that your average small businessman faces with excess regulation is a Big Government issue, not a Big Brother issue. Big Brother is when they install closed-circuit cameras in your store to watch your foot traffic (and you) like a hawk. Big Government is when your business license has to pass through ten layers of bureaucracy (and as many weeks) just so you can sell your stuff.

Following that analogy, is the iPhone/App ecosystem Big Government? Apple’s guidelines for App approval are not so stringent that, for any businessman who genuinely wants to produce something useful and marketable should worry about having their App approved. Beyond that, a developer is free to market their goods as they wish, and set their own prices. Apple is even further supporting the ecosystem by introducing iAds. Bureaucracy? Basically nonexistent here.

Nemo

As for the App Store’s policy for approving apps, I don’t know what they are, so I can’t tell whether or to what extent they change or are applied consistently.  However, having had some experience with trying to develop rules for a new venture that will both make business sense and keep a client on the right side of the law and based on what is known from open source intelligence, the App Store’s policies are an evolving work in progress.  The success of the App Store exceeded even Apple’s expectations both in its size and the scope and type of apps submitted to it.  Apple simply wasn’t prepared, which is understandable because the both the App Store and its success were unheralded in the annuls of technology.  So just to deal with the logistics, Apple had to ramp up on the App Store’s infrastructure and employees.  And Apple’s executives and lawyers were faced with new and very difficult legal questions.

So, yes I am sure that the App Store’s policies are evolving, but they appear to be evolving in a rational and deliberate way, guided by Apple’s values and business interests and constrained by what Apple’s lawyers view as the mandates of applicable law. 

Now, I expect that the App Store will always be evolving.  Lawyers and judges constantly have before them new cases that involve legal principles that are hundreds of years old, yet those new cases keep coming and occasionally those new cases require that those ancient principles be applied or even expanded to so that they can be applied to new facts.  For the App Store, right now, all the facts are new, applicable law and business considerations have to, therefore, be applied in new contexts, and that means that the App Store’s policies must of necessity evolve. 

That evolution will inevitably result in some mistakes, some infelicities, and some inconvenience, if not misery, for the parties involved But given that the App Store approves 95% of the great quantity of apps submitted to it, I’d say that Apple is doing a damn good job with the App Store’s policies.  And that going forward, developers will see even great consistency with the App Store’s approval process, but 95% is fantastic.  I wish that courts had as much consistency in applying settled legal doctrines.

Nemo

As for the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Mr. Jobs has publicly said that was a mistake, so no, Mr. Jobs wasn’t talking about that cartoonist.

Widget CEO

Why do you refer to businessmen as “Greedy”?  Are you not paid by a businessman? Is Steve Jobs not a businessman.

As a businessman, I take great exception with your language and tone.  As CEO of Apple, Jobs has the right to create any restrictions or guidelines to his company’s products and services that he desires.  As consumers, we decide whether to purchase his products.  If as consumers we feel that Apple no longer meets are needs and desires, Apple sees erosion of sales and profits and as any “Greedy Businessman” Jobs would refocus to bring his company back to profitability.

Don’t be naive, Apple is a business just like BP, Exxon Mobile and Microsoft and we need all of them.

Without businesses and greedy businessmen, you would be sitting on a street corner begging for nickels.

iJack

“The result is questionable editorial opinion material like: ‘Is Steve Jobs Big Brother?’”

Whoa, John!  Did you read the article?  It wasn’t anti-Jobs or anti-Apple.  In fact, there was a point in reading it this morning, that I thought, “this guy has been reading John Martellaro.”

Steve W

One lie is that Apple is trying to keep porn off the iPhone. Apple doesn’t care about porn on the iPhone; Apple cares about porn in the App Store.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he proposed an open standard of HTML, CSS, and Javascript for applications and content. Apple created mobile Safari to implement that standard; and Apple created WebKit to make that standard open and cross-platform.

Developers and Publishers complained, the unstated reason being that this proposed standard was too open. Flash isn’t popular with developers and publishers because it is an open standard; it is popular because it is a closed standard. CLOSED in the sense that it hides content from standard web tools like “Copy”, “Print”, “Save Page As”, “View Page Source”, etc. They want a standard that provides Digital Rights Management (DRM).

They forced Apple to rethink its app model for the iPhone. The HTML-CSS-JavaScript web app model is implemented in the browser. Both Performance and Security are the responsibility of Safari/Webkit. This is appropriate for a single tasking environment like the iPhone. Native apps require a different approach.

Apple came up with a distributed computing model for native apps, and divided the work between the iPhone, iTunes on a the users client computer, and the “curated” App Store on Apple’s internet servers. Apple had three choices: leave the iPhone completely open and let the user beware, implement security on the iPhone and let performance suffer; or provide performance and security “curation” as a service. Apple chose the third option.

It is standard business policy that no product or service provided by a corporation should embarass the stockholders. “Curating” porn would be one such embarrassment (whereas the name “Sports Illustrated” provides a “halo effect” that extends to its swimsuit edition). Apple can block porn (and other embarrasing content) from its STORE without censoring the iPhone because Apple provides an alternative distribution method: SAFARI!

THAT IS THE IRONY: Every developer that complains that Apple rejected their app, and whines that the App Store is closed with no alternative, is a developer who rejected Apple’s Open alternative: HTML-CSS-Javascript via Safari! Every publisher whining about the lack of a cross-platform e-pub standard, is a publisher who has rejected Apple’s proposed e-pub standard: HTML-CSS-Javascript!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

As for the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Mr. Jobs has publicly said that was a mistake, so no, Mr. Jobs wasn?t talking about that cartoonist.

Ah, but do you know the timeline of this? The app was rejected in December, 2009, before Fiore was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist. Then he gets the prize and does an interview in April, where he mentions the rejection. And then Jobs called the rejection a “mistake”.

Without the Pulitzer, is Mr. Fiore one of the “liars”? After all, he showed the rejection letter from Apple, likely violating the confidentiality term of the iPhone Developer License. And isn’t it just rich that while developers must agree not to discuss communications from Apple concerning their apps, the CEO of Apple goes on stage and call an unspecified subset of them “liars”?

You guys want them to be immune from criticism. Steve Jobs wants immunity from criticism. That’s like wearing a giant “kick me” sign. It makes it sport. So why so sensitive?

computerbandgeek

Every developer that complains that Apple rejected their app, and whines that the App Store is closed with no alternative, is a developer who rejected Apple?s Open alternative: HTML-CSS-Javascript via Safari!

This statement is completely removed from reality. For example, Sean Kovacs, the developer of GV Mobile had his app pulled after it being on teh app store, approved, for quite some time. His app does things such as playing voicemails through the earpiece (not possible with a web app). It also starts up in less than a second, unlike the Google Voice website. It also supports the swipe to delete gesture, and has access to the Address Book. Not one of these things is possible without a native app, and for REASONS THAT ARE STILL UNEXPLAINED A YEAR LATER, his app is not allowed on the app store. Tell me, what is the reason for this?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@computerbandgeek… That’s an easy question. Because if iPhone users had access to Google Voice and transcribed voicemail, they’d realize that Apple’s Visual Voicemail is a useless toy. They might start questioning their religion. Not good for profits.

On the other hand, if an Android user has to show an iPhone user how transcribed voicemail works, the typical iPhone user should be able to resist temptation because it does not arrive on an device with an Apple logo.

computerbandgeek

They might start questioning their religion. Not good for profits.

Sometimes you and I agree too much wink

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Heh. In their FCC response to a question on this very issue, Apple said it would be confusing for users and not integrate with their Visual Voicemail. Which is totally freaking hilarious if you’ve used both Visual Voicemail on iPhone and Google Voice on Android. Like comparing a Fisher Price toy watch to a TAG Heuer.

Steve W

Sean Kovacs, the developer of GV Mobile had his app pulled after it being on teh app store… Tell me, what is the reason for this?

I don’t know. I did not even know this app existed.

I did a web search and came up with one possible reason: the domain gvmovile.com belongs to GV Mobile, a Win Mobile App developer. Maybe GV Mobile complained about the name of Sean Kovacs App.

computerbandgeek

the domain gvmovile.com belongs to GV Mobile, a Win Mobile App developer

Same guy, same app. Check out Seankovacs.com if you’re interested.

vsp

Let’s face the fact: whether we like it or not, we are all living in one form of walled garden or another, from the time we were born until the time when we kicked the bucket. Control is the universal law of nature. Control has a duality: it is good when it is used wisely, but becomes bad when it skirts on the boundary of abuse. So is freedom. Freedom is good when it can be controlled; it becomes bad when it is abused. Think of the case of substance abuses such as narcotic, alcoholic intemperance and sexual incontinence. A drug addict, a sexual miscreant or an alcoholic have no capacity to control their behavior and choose to have the freedom to abuse themselves and thus self-destruct.  These are all freedoms that have gone haywire and have turned into bondage instead.

Remember when you were a baby? Your parents surrounded you with a walled garden; you were protected, loved, taught and disciplined. Do your parents abandoned you to the freedom of the street urchins? When you attended school, worked for an organization or you run your own business, aren’t wall gardens being erected so that it is protected and safe? Do Google or Microsoft allow any Dick, Jane or Harry to wander into their premises without having to check themselves at the guardhouse? Going further, when you walk out of your house, workplace or a shop into the street, aren’t you in the walled garden of a civilised country where there are laws and regulations to protect you from being knocked down by an errant motorist, being robbed or being raped? This is the freedom enjoyed for being in a wall garden environment. Or do you prefer the freedom of the jungle found on the streets of Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia where the notion of the walled garden is absent?

It is very sad to see that many American firms has fallen for the rhetoric of “freedom” as expounded by Wall Street. Qualities that have made America great were slowly been adulterated. The recent economic meltdown caused by the greed of Wall Street was the result of regulators removing the wall-garden of prudence, control and responsibility. Banks were given the freedom to self-regulate themselves and to sell toxic products to the American public without any control from the regulators. This freedom leads to self-destruction of the financial fabric of the nation.

Many companies were led astray by Wall Street into short-termism where mediocrity is celebrated. Apple, to its credit, has not succumbed to Wall Street’s wisdom and seduction and has thus escaped from the mediocrities of the PC commodity producers. Apple has followed the traditional control of thrift, innovation and long-termism and thus enjoyed the freedom from the shackles of indebtedness, lack of focus and mediocrity of the PC world. The PC world are saddled with the freedom of being lackluster, me-too imitators, dog-eat-dog behavior and are overwhelmed by the resourcefulness of Asian competitors.

I prefer the freedom and security of a walled garden than to the freedom and chaos of the jungle.

Burnin'

According to Jason Snell at Macworld.com (article “Steve Jobs holds court at D8 conference”), the actual quote was:

“What happens is, some people lie. They use undocumented APIs or try to do something different than as advertised and they run to the press.”

I’m not going to listen to the video now to see which version is right, but I trust Jason Snell over Bosco who actually said “perhaps not word for word, but the gist was right)”.

Burnin'

According to Jason Snell over at Macworld.com (article “Steve Jobs holds court at D8 conference”), the actual quote was:

“What happens is, some people lie. They use undocumented APIs or try to do something different than as advertised and they run to the press.”

I’m not going to listen to the video now to see which version is right, but I trust Jason Snell over Bosco who actually said “perhaps not word for word, but the gist was right)”. If Snell is right, Bosco replaced “some” with “—”.

Hmm…

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I took my quote straight from Engadget. Since this makes a difference, I am going to listen to it today. I’ll get back to you with a word for word transcript of the relevant section.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

FYI, Burnin’, Snell’s “transcript” is verbatim from the D8 live blog:

http://d8.allthingsd.com/20100601/steve-jobs-session/

“We are doing the best we can, changing the rules when it makes sense. What happens sometimes is that some people lie, we find it, and reject it, and they run to the press, and get their 15 minutes of fame and hope it will get us to change our minds. We take it on the chin, and we move on.?

Now, Engadget’s had “son of a bitch” at the end, and the d8 version had “take it on the chin”. So we are definitely going to the tape on this. BTW, the d8 live blog has this disclaimer:

A note about our coverage: This liveblog is not an official transcript of the conversation that occurred onstage. Rather, it is a compilation of quotes, paraphrased statements and ad-lib observations written and posted to the Web as quickly as possible. It is not intended as a transcript and should not be interpreted as one.

ibuck

@ Bosco:  Do you want us to believe, as you seem to, that every mistake or omission that Apple makes, corrected or not, is a despicable sign of evil, and that we should all shun Apple and their products? To me, it seems that you frequently misquote, mischaracterize and misunderstand events surrounding Apple, sometimes like you don’t want to know what really happened.

I like some Apple products and their approach, as Jobs said, “figuring out how to invent cool technology but making it wonderfully easy to use.” I like that it just works, even if it doesn’t have all the features something else might. But that doesn’t mean I am an undiscerning, unsophisticated consumer. (And I’d bet that applies to many, if not most,  MacObserver readers.) I’ve been using Macs since 1984, iPods since 2003. I don’t have an iPhone: too expensive for my tastes. I bought and returned an iPad because I found it too heavy and unwieldy. But others seem to feel it is fabulous. That doesn’t make them wrong. My needs and desires are just different than theirs. If I think I’m a smarter, more sophisticated tech consumer than they are, that’s just ego.

On balance, I like Apple’s “walled garden” with both it’s freedoms and restrictions, (even if I occasionally wish something was different). It’s obvious, from many posts in many MacObserver columns that you don’t.  Your needs are obviously different, and there are other tech companies you can explore. For me, your willingness to believe the worst about Apple and it’s products has vastly diminished your credibility.

Nemo

Bosco:  That Apple would not have reversed its decision Mr. Fiore cartoon but for his winning the Pulitzer Prize is nothing but your baseless speculation.  Apple has reversed itself on other decisions to reject apps, after reconsidering the issue, without the developer/author winning any notable award, and it may have done so with Mr. Fiore.  You, Bosco, are certainly not in a position to know why Apple reverse its decision on Mr. Fiore’s cartoon.

Bosco and Computerbandgeek, you are both misinformed on Google Voice.  Apple rejected Google Voice for two reasons that easy withstood government scrutiny.  First, Google Voice altered the iPhone OS’s code in ways that transformed an iPhone’s phone function into a type of Android phone.  No applicable law of the United States or of any of the several states obliges Apple to let a competitor, here Google, modify the iPhone OS to offer a competing service.  So that was a slam dunk for Apple with the FCC and was sufficient to justify Apple’s decision to reject Google Voice.

But Google Voice had another major problem.  Google Voice, as is Google’s usual practice, acquired and pimped its user’s private information.  See http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html.  After modifying the iPhone OS to replace its phone function with one designed by Google, Google had access to a user’s private information, and the agreement that a user had to accept gave Google permission to use that information to create targeted ads and convey that private information to third parties.  Apple does not permit itself to use private information, as Google would have used it.  Apple then gave Google a choice:  Rewrite Google Voice so that it conforms to our guidelines, that is, it doesn’t use private API and does not alter the iPhone OS’s underling code (as is true for other phone service, such as Vonage and Skype, that are offered on the iPhone OS) and so that it only has access to and uses a user’s private information in a way that conforms to what is now, I believe, Section 3.3.8 of the iPhone OS’s SDK Agreement.  Google declined, for without being having access to and being able to pimp a user’s private information, Google’s business model of providing services for free doesn’t work. 

Google apparently isn’t even willing to provide Google Voice were a user an opt-in with respect to his personal/private information, which makes sense because Google doesn’t provide an opt-in right for any of its services.  You either agree to Google’s terms for using its service or you, as customer, must go elsewhere.  Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar.  But this time it is the customer, the end user, instead of developers.

Apple has a privacy policy which is much more protective of its customers’ privacy than is true of Google.  With Apple certain information is off limits; the uses of private information without the customer’s opt-in consent is greatly limited; and once the customer notifies a business that he is ending its business relationship, the business must either destroy the customer’s personal information or, if law prohibits that, at the very least, stop using personal/private information, don’t convey it to third parties, and permanently secure the information.  As you can see from the reference to Google’s privacy policy, supra, Google takes typical approach that privacy is accommodated to its commercial use and interests.

jecrawford

@Bosco

Still banging on about your favourite evil targets.
What is your mission?
Do you think you are being effective?

John

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Nemo, The “changes” Google Voice made to the iPhone’s code are actually really simple and can be done manually by you with the phone dialer on your iPhone. They involve sending the network a series of digits (defined by the ITU, a standards body) that change how the network (not the phone) redirects missed and busy calls.

And you’ll never hear me ask for government intervention of any kind. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be critical of how certain businesses behave in the marketplace.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@jecrawford… I get paid by the reply. Thanks for doing your part!

Nemo

Bosco:  When I get a moment, I will review both Apple and Google’s responses to the FCC’s inquiries.  However, my recollection is that Google admitted that Google Voice altered the iPhone OS’s code in a way that was much more than anything that could be accomplished with the iPhone’s dialer.

But in any event, Google Voice wouldn’t be on the iPhone OS, because of Apple’s privacy policy.  Google can only afford to give away services for free, if it can pretty much have its way with its customers’ privacy, as set forth in its Privacy Policy.  Apple does not permit anyone, including itself, to use its customers’ private information in that way, so, on the iPhone, Google Voice does not have a viable, much less profitable, business model.

But using Google Voice through Safari is fine, because on the Web you use Google Voice subject to Google’ Privacy Policy, where your personal information becomes the commodity that Google’s uses to generate revenue from third parties.  And, if you don’t like Google’s Privacy Policy, you must go elsewhere. 

What about that Bosco, Google telling its customers that they must accept its Privacy Policy or go elsewhere?  It seems to me that, if that kind of take it or leave it approach is fine for Google, then it also should be fine for Apple to tell developers to either comply with the iPhone OS SDK Agreement or go elsewhere.  You apparently, as a user of the Nexus One, accept Google’s take it or leave us approach with its Terms of Use, which includes its Privacy Policy.  Why does Google earn your tolerance but not Apple?  Google gives you free services but in exchanges store your private information in its cloud, controls your information according to its Privacy Policy, and use your private information according to its Privacy Policy.  Apple allows you on the App Store to make money but in exchange you must comply with the iPhone OS’s SDK Agreement that mandates how apps must developed, work on the iPhone, and protect its customers privacy.  With both Apple and Google, you either comply or you go elsewhere.  What’s the difference?  Other than the fact that Google restricts customers, while Apple restrict developers, I don’t see a difference.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Go review the FCC filings again Nemo. One of Apple’s claims is that GV doesn’t integrate with Visual Voicemail (duh) and could confuse users (whatever). Above, I tried to offer you a technical explanation of what they do, based on my hands-on experience with GV on Android and my passing knowledge of programming the phone network (which anyone can pick up from their phone company’s White Pages and/or cursory Google searches). Apple has banned a whole class of apps from Google and independent developers that use publicly available Google API’s and publicly available dialing codes to add Google Voice to the iPhone. The “private API” issue you suggest is just plain horseshit.

Why do I give Google a pass on privacy? Because all I’ve seen so far is a small, theoretical problem. Meanwhile, they make some great products that have made me more effective.

Why don’t I give Apple a pass on the App Store? Same reason nobody is giving BP a pass on the oil spill. Apple is polluting the space with a stupid, unenforceable set of policies that raise costs for developers. Polluters need to be beat up as an example to would-be polluters.

And again, neither of these are “take it or go elsewhere”. We are free to discuss and criticize. Rhetorically. when you pull that card, you’re just saying “kick me more”.

Since Jason Snell got a mention before, he has the perfect take on the App Store. If Apple opens up a legitimate app side-loading back door, all the criticism goes away. Steve Jobs is no longer a giant d-bag. I could even envision me rocking an iPhone again and buying an iPad. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Jobs is way too happy with the attention.

Chandra Coomar

Bosco Honey.
Mummy’s home.
It’s feeding time at the titty.
Awww, have you been bitchin at everyone cos you’re hungry baby?
Come to Mamma, there’s a good boy.

computerbandgeek

First, Google Voice altered the iPhone OS?s code in ways that transformed an iPhone?s phone function into a type of Android phone.

This is an outright lie. GV Mobile installs a .app, with the EXACT SAME permissions and behavior as every other app on the app store. I would be happy to dissect the installer and demonstrate this to you if you’d like.

ut Google Voice had another major problem.? Google Voice, as is Google?s usual practice, acquired and pimped its user?s private information.? See http://www.google.com/privacypolicy.html.? After modifying the iPhone OS to replace its phone function with one designed by Google, Google had access to a user?s private information, and the agreement that a user had to accept gave Google permission to use that information to create targeted ads and convey that private information to third parties.

Again, this is an outright lie. I am using GV mobile right now on my Jailbroken iPhone. The only “personal information” that it has access to is my address book. And it doesn’t send it anywhere, it is only used so that you can call contacts from your address book.

Also, the dialer thing that Bosco is talking about is for Google Voice’s offline dialing feature as well as the voicemail feature. The “voicemail” button in the phone app can be programmed to call any number you would like it to. I believe this is a phone standard, and you can type in the appropriate command (A string of numbers and * and #) followed by the phone number you want to call, and the phone will learn that as your “voicemail” number. Also, and this is where Google DID violate the SDK, Google wanted to enable the “offline dialing” feature. Normally when one initiates a Google Voice call, the app initiates a data connection and tells google’s server to call you and the person that you wanted to call, and you both have to answer. However to dial without an internet connection, you can dial your own GV number, dial the number that you want to call, and press #. However, for some odd reason, the apple API disallows the use of the # key when you call phone numbers, so Apple managed to spin the use of the # key into some kind of horrible hacking.


What then, is Apple “protecting” me from? If i was simply allowed to run 3rd party programs at my own discretion, this whole thing would be a complete non-issue.

Nemo

So you don’t dispute that what Google is doing with its Privacy Policy is in principle the same as what Apple is doing with Section 3.3.1.  Therefore, your criticism of Apple’s Section 3.3.1 is not based on the principle of regulating the App Store but is a practical objection, because you view Apple’s regulation of apps on the App Store—unlike your view of Google’s Privacy Policy’s elimination of privacy rights as being a minor theoretical problem—as being stupid, unenforceable, and raising the costs for developers of developing apps.  So the principle of regulation is okay, as long as it doesn’t gore any of your oxen.

Well, now we have it, for those who hadn’t previously grasped it.  Bosco is upset with Apple because it has injured his interests, not because it is regulating the App Store and how apps for the App Store are produced.

Well, Bosco, while some people have the same or some of the same oxen as you and, thus, share some or all of your criticisms of Section 3.3.1, apparently the vast majority of developers and of Apple’s customers don’t concur with your view of Section 3.3.1.  Perhaps, that is because they have different oxen than you.

I personally find Google’s Privacy Policy appalling and that none of its applications is worth Google’s breach of my privacy.  It is certainly not a small thing for me, nor is it a small thing for Google, for many millions, if not billions, of dollars of Google’s revenues depend on its Privacy Policy.  But I am, unlike, you not insisting that my personal taste be imposed on the rest of the world and that the rest of world take my side.  I would be content with just two things so that my privacy and the privacy of all like minded persons is protected:  (1) That the market provide alternative privacy policies that adequately protect my privacy, but where the market is inadequate or the bargaining power is unconscionably in Google or any company’s favor, government must regulate to protect my privacy, and (2) that Google and all companies must provide an opt-in to its Privacy Policy, as Apple requires in Section 3.3.8, so that customers’ consent to the Google’s use of their private information isn’t a fiction but is real, knowing consent, rather than people being subject to Privacy Policy whenever they use a Google app.

Bosco, you, of course, have the right to complain about Apple’s policies because they injure your interests, but please don’t dishonestly couch those complaints in terms of Apple doing something that is evil in principle, which the whole world should oppose as bad thing.  Admit your objections for what they are:  You are pissed because Apple’s policy injures your interests, and Jobs and Apple won’t do what you want them to do. 

That is the true basis for you to complaint, but your being upset with Apple because it increased your costs and won’t let you write apps however you wish is not what lawyers call malum in se, that is, a thing which is evil, nor do I think that it is any violation of antitrust law.  It is just Bosco not getting everything that he wants from Apple and having to decide whether, given Section 3.3.1 and Bosco’s interests and his offended sense of what’s right, it is still worth it to develop for the iPhone OS.  I am sure that Apple hopes that you will continue to develop for the iPhone OS, but if you don’t, Apple will just have to bear the loss and soldier on without you.

I am grateful, however, to know that no matter whether you continue to develop for the iPhone OS or use Apple’s products, all of us at TMO will continue to have the benefit of your opinion of Steve Jobs and Apple.

Thanks.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I could just see Nemo defending BP in court. “Your Honor, these fisherman are just pissed because oil got on their fish. These beach goers are pissed because oil got on their beach. These bird lovers are pissed because the oil tarred the feathers of their birds.”

I have never advocated sending in lawyers to rectify Apple’s stupid policy, nor have I suggested it was any violation of anti-trust law. Nor would I. Keeping your brethren employed is something Steve Jobs enjoys grin. But you’re arguing that whole point with the wrong guy. Duking this out in court might make for an interesting spectacle, but that’s pretty much where the utility of that ends.

@computerbandgeek: I was unaware that the public API prevented dialing the “#” digit. Oh my. But to be clear, when you dial (either manually or programatically), you program the network, not the phone.

ibuck

I was unaware that the public API prevented dialing the ?#? digit.

This is precisely the point of all the consternation with your posts.  You missed a word, believed a paraphrase was a verbatim quote, or “weren’t aware.” An opinion based on an erroneous assumption is a house of cards that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. When you do this, your posts are not only valueless, but time-wasting as well.

Can’t you rein in your emotions enough to reserve judgment until you have some facts? If you’re going to jump to conclusions and shoot with the least provocation, can’t you at least just post on your own website?

Lancashire-Witch

... defending BP in court.

Why BP?  Why not Transocean?  John said in his piece “Partners reflect on Apple”

Now - I’m not saying BP or Transocean should or should not be in court or held accountable; I’m certainly not giving any legal opinion. I’m simply pointing out how T.C Mits reacts to things that go wrong. He thinks any oil in the Gulf must be BP’s fault. Similarly, he will readily assume any problems with Apps on the iPhone or iPad must be Apple’s fault. Which brings us right back to the issues about “Control”. My neighbour’s iPhone works fine. His partner has a different smartphone. Thankfully she can remove the battery in order to reset it when it freezes or crashes. She doesn’t blame anyone but LG.

As for Google’s privacy policies - the rest of the world doesn’t appear to be impressed.
This from the BBC.

Keep ‘em coming Bosco. These comments would be a dull place without you.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

So block me. It’s easy. Mouse over the gear and choose “ignore member”.

Seriously, I can tell from your post that you have no idea what we’re talking about here and have no idea why I would write “Oh my” after noting that computerbandgeek brought an interesting factoid into the discussion. You can certainly dial the network codes from the dialer, and can apparently dial them from a web page without interference. The point of the restriction seems to be to prevent Google Voice or other apps that would assist users in using network features. Strange indeed. And petty. Why do you support the policies of a company that turns a phone you’ll spend $3K on over its life into a Fisher Price toy?

zewazir

Looking at the whole thing from the CONSUMER level, (Who is it, again, that Apple sells the most stuff to?) I don’t see the “control” issue bothering me one bit.

Not long ago I went out looking for a new refrigerator. There was a nice model that I liked, but it did not have an ice maker. Another model had an ice maker, but I did not like its design as well. So I had to decide: “do I want the ice maker, or do I want the design I like?

Now, is the maker of brand A with out the ice maker trying to “control” me with the lack of an ice maker?  I think not.

So how is it when Apple decides to not include Flash, and in so doing also refuses apps in their store that uses flash, “controlling” me? I do not own either an iPhone nor an iPad - I do not have a use for one.  But the idea that Apple deciding to leave off a feature or capability is “controlling” is a complete load of ma nature’s fertilizer.

I’ve said this before: the only ones actually affected by the flassh issue, and Apple’s app approval procedure are the developers. If a developer wants to write an iPhone/iPad app, then, since they are, in effect, USING Apple’s popularity plus Apple’s outlet to sell their product, the idea of being constrained to Apple’s app requirements is not in the least unusual, or unfair.

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