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Old 03-May-2010, 15:54   #1
Scott_Arm
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Default Apple going up against antitrust attack?

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/busines...jFoLD5vBSkguGO

To be honest, as much as I really like using apple hardware and software, I hate the company more and more every day. It was an outrageously stupid move to disallow third party tools and APIs in the name of ensuring quality.

What do you guys think of this move? Did Apple do wrong, and is it worth an antitrust suit?
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Old 03-May-2010, 16:32   #2
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My take is that Apple is streamlining and automating reviewing App Store submissions, which are growing every day. The easiest way to do so is by being strict in what's allowed. The reason for wanting to do so is clear: the quality of the apps has a strong impact on the user experience, in terms of ease of use, battery life, and stability. Another good reason for tightening up on this now is that with the iPad and iPhone OS 4.0 around the corner bringing more multi-tasking features things are getting even more complex when it comes to testing.

I think it is not illegal to have a 'closed' platform in this regard, or where would for instance Nintendo and Sony be with the DS and PSP?

So in the strictest sense, I don't know that Apple did wrong. What I dislike most is that I have to buy a Mac in order to be able to develop for the system, but even that I think would hold up in a court of law (again look at Nintendo or Sony).

In a less strict sense, the market will prove who's right or wrong. There are enough viable competitors that do things differently so that if they go too far in closing things down, they'll suffer the consequences.

What I think will be interesting, is whether we'll see third party tools that simply generate XCode project files for multi-platform projects. Impossible for Apple to check or to outlaw, and could still be pretty eas to do.
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Old 03-May-2010, 19:20   #3
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Maybe I'm misunderstanding what Apple is banning. My understanding was 3rd party APIs and cross-platform development tools were being nixed, so everyone had to write using native API directly.

Wouldn't it be incorrect to say that is the situation with game consoles? Yes, they are closed platforms, but companies can write middleware and API wrapping tools to simply development and/or cross-platform development.
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Old 03-May-2010, 21:49   #4
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The specific topic seems like they could have chosen a better tact to tread, but either way it is good that Apple doesn't get a free pass anymore.
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Old 03-May-2010, 22:22   #5
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Anything that can discipline Jobs' mob is welcome.

I doubt though, FTC/DoJ would get anywhere in this regard.
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Old 04-May-2010, 00:02   #6
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I can think of a few things that are harmful to the industry and consumers alike and might deserve scrutiny when it comes to Apple, like the iTunes/iPod tie-in (both sit at what, 80%+ of their respective markets?), not licensing encrypted AAC files to third party music device makers, turning off the WMA support which is in the iPod hardware, using their music store business to boost their App Store, their exclusive telecom deals for the iPhone (and related simlocking), and the damn proprietary connectors on all sorts of devices.

This though? I don't know. If they had like a majority marketshare with their iPhone OS, maybe..
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Old 04-May-2010, 00:05   #7
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as we thought apple invented the computer with the restrictions of a console, now it's worse than a console.
they obviously don't care, as their target, the mass consumer, is oblivious of all that.

I hope adobe releases a linux version of Photoshop, supported on red hat, suse and ubuntu LTS. With distros becoming good-looking, easier to use than Windows and OSX (at least they keep a taskbar), and potentially game-changing ubuntu 10.04 releases, such a move would make OSX and Macs less useful.
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Old 04-May-2010, 00:23   #8
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Originally Posted by Arwin View Post
What I think will be interesting, is whether we'll see third party tools that simply generate XCode project files for multi-platform projects. Impossible for Apple to check or to outlaw, and could still be pretty eas to do.
That's exactly the type of stuff that Apple is banning/prohibiting. For example, Flash applications directly ported to XCode will be banned/not approved from now on. Applications must be written natively in XCode. Any application that uses an automated tool, for example, to generate XCode from a cross platform application will be disallowed/not approved.

Apple is basically seeking vendor/hardware/application/consumer lock-in. So it's a step beyond consoles where cross platform applications are still welcome.

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Old 04-May-2010, 00:42   #9
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That's exactly the type of stuff that Apple is banning/prohibiting. For example, Flash applications directly ported to XCode will be banned/not approved from now on.
No I don't think so? What Apple is banning is a flash application that runs on a version of the Flash runtime for the iPhone.

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Applications must be written natively in XCode. Any application that uses an automated tool, for example, to generate XCode from a cross platform application will be disallowed/not approved.
Again, no. Anything that is able to interpret code at runtime or through an API is banned. Not tools that actually generate native XCode that is then compiled. So if I write libraries for instance that work exactly like Microsoft's .NET Framework (Mono), and I have my programs in C# or VB.Net using .NET Framework libraries that interpret these programs so that they can run on the iPhone, or if I write a C64 emulator that can read and execute C64 native binaries, or if I write a Python or even Basic interpreter, all these things are outlawed.

But if I wrote an application in .NET and I have a framework that translates my .NET sourcefiles to actual XCode files, then Apple can neither ban nor even see that. There is no difference to be seen between this and an application that was actually developed in the XCode environment.

Quote:
Apple is basically seeking vendor/hardware/application/consumer lock-in. So it's a step beyond consoles where cross platform applications are still welcome.

Regards,
SB
Yes, I can see your point here.
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Old 04-May-2010, 01:45   #10
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I'm glad this is finally happening. I never understood why the goverment and people were up in arms that windows came with IE and yet osx comes with Ithis and Ithat. When you buy an apple computer there really is no reason to go out and lookfor anyone else's software.

I hope the goverment probes all of thier busniess dealings and not just this iphone suff
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:02   #11
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I'm glad this is finally happening. I never understood why the goverment and people were up in arms that windows came with IE and yet osx comes with Ithis and Ithat.
Now now, you make it sound as if this is somehow a complicated issue. But Apple does not have a monopoly position in operating systems to abuse to push their browser/web portal/search engine. So wonder no more.

Oh and by the way, this investigation doesn't even relate to OSX, and/or the bundling of applications for that matter.

So yeah, the funny thing about antitrust. Not everybody qualifies. I can see you don't like it, but that's the law.
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:04   #12
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Originally Posted by Arwin View Post
No I don't think so? What Apple is banning is a flash application that runs on a version of the Flash runtime for the iPhone.
I can't directly comment on the rest as I haven't read much beyond the current head to head with Adobe.

But Adobe has an application that generates native XCode for Flash applications. Apple is banning/not approving all applications from this.

Thus Adobe has stopped all developement on that application.

Regards,
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:07   #13
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Now now, you make it sound as if this is somehow a complicated issue. But Apple does not have a monopoly position in operating systems to abuse to push their browser/web portal/search engine. So wonder no more.

Oh and by the way, this investigation doesn't even relate to OSX, and/or the bundling of applications for that matter.

So yeah, the funny thing about antitrust. Not everybody qualifies. I can see you don't like it, but that's the law.
Apple does have a monopoly.

If you want to run OSX you have to buy from apple. If you want to develop for OSX , Iphone , Ipad you have to buy from apple. If you want to use apple products you have to buy apple hardware.

I know it doesn't relate , i hope its something they explore when they are investigating this case
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:10   #14
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Originally Posted by Florin View Post
Now now, you make it sound as if this is somehow a complicated issue. But Apple does not have a monopoly position in operating systems to abuse to push their browser/web portal/search engine. So wonder no more.

Oh and by the way, this investigation doesn't even relate to OSX, and/or the bundling of applications for that matter.

So yeah, the funny thing about antitrust. Not everybody qualifies. I can see you don't like it, but that's the law.
Yeah I love how the law punishes those that do a good job. And encourages those that can't do a good job. In the case of MS, forcing MS to foot the marketing bill for it's competition. Since evidently anyone other than MS, Firefox, Apple, and Google can't figure out a way to get people to use their browsers en mass.

And from MS continuing to bleed marketshare at a fairly rapid pace to it's largest rivals, that so called OS monopoly isn't much of an advantage.

Anyway, off topic, but BS is still BS whether it's covered up by anti-success laws or not. Back in the mid-90's you certainly had a case with MS using leverage (but even then it was Netscape screwing the pooch rather than MS pushing them out). In the 2000's that just doesn't exist.

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Old 04-May-2010, 02:16   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent_Buddha View Post
I can't directly comment on the rest as I haven't read much beyond the current head to head with Adobe.

But Adobe has an application that generates native XCode for Flash applications. Apple is banning/not approving all applications from this.

Thus Adobe has stopped all developement on that application.

Regards,
SB
Surely it must still come with an accent? If it was truly indistinguishable like a Russian spy with a perfect Georgian accent then it can be accepted into the ecosystem in spite of the fact that its really an unwanted interloper. How many Russian spies successfully operated without the proper understanding of the linguistics and vice versa, how many American CIA agents operated within Russia without a perfect accent and back-story match? If it was truly as native as they claim then Apple wouldn't have a hope in keeping the applications at bay which are cross platform.
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:19   #16
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Apple does have a monopoly.

If you want to run OSX you have to buy from apple. If you want to develop for OSX , Iphone , Ipad you have to buy from apple. If you want to use apple products you have to buy apple hardware.

I know it doesn't relate , i hope its something they explore when they are investigating this case
A monopoly is about market share though. So it may well apply to say, iPods and iTunes. But for personal computers? Not anywhere close. If you don't want to pay Apple you can easily live with something else.

On the other hand, just try running some serious business without being able to deal with Excel and Word files. Or for that matter try finding staff trained on anything but Windows and Outlook.

Not illegal by itself, but they keep trying to leverage the existing monoculture to push into new areas. Like servers, and smartphones, and online services, and content delivery etc etc. Bad boys.
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:28   #17
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Yeah I love how the law punishes those that do a good job.
Well, if you consider illegal activity a good job, sure. Fortunately not everyone thinks that crime should be rewarded.

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And from MS continuing to bleed marketshare at a fairly rapid pace to it's largest rivals, that so called OS monopoly isn't much of an advantage.
Eh, which rivals are that? All other OSs combined don't make up for 10% of marketshare. How is that bleeding?

The only serious rivals that MS has are their own products. XP is bleeding to Win7. Office 2003 is losing to 2007. Either way you stay comfortably in the fold
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:29   #18
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No I don't think so? What Apple is banning is a flash application that runs on a version of the Flash runtime for the iPhone.

Again, no. Anything that is able to interpret code at runtime or through an API is banned. Not tools that actually generate native XCode that is then compiled. So if I write libraries for instance that work exactly like Microsoft's .NET Framework (Mono), and I have my programs in C# or VB.Net using .NET Framework libraries that interpret these programs so that they can run on the iPhone, or if I write a C64 emulator that can read and execute C64 native binaries, or if I write a Python or even Basic interpreter, all these things are outlawed.

But if I wrote an application in .NET and I have a framework that translates my .NET sourcefiles to actual XCode files, then Apple can neither ban nor even see that. There is no difference to be seen between this and an application that was actually developed in the XCode environment.


Yes, I can see your point here.
Reading up on this more, it seems you are right. I misunderstood the changes to the developer agreement.
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:36   #19
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Florin MS is bleeding market share in other areas. Their search obviously isn't doing great. And lots of people are using open office, google docs, and so on when in the past they were not.

I personally think the anti-trust laws are somewhat misinterpreted. Of course at least now OSX no longer has 100% marketshare on macs thanks to boot camp
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Old 04-May-2010, 02:47   #20
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Originally Posted by Silent_Buddha View Post
I can't directly comment on the rest as I haven't read much beyond the current head to head with Adobe.

But Adobe has an application that generates native XCode for Flash applications. Apple is banning/not approving all applications from this.

Thus Adobe has stopped all developement on that application.

Regards,
SB
exactly. the limitation on scripting languages was an old story, but now they're explicitly banning any translation layer, or wrapper. You have to directly use Apple's APIs and not an API that will use their API, even if it results in native code.

Let's imagine you write a function that warns the user of an error, using maybe Makefiles and the C preprocessor ( #ifdef, #ifndef ). on the Unix console, it will write to stderr, using printf. on windows, it will pop up a dialog, using the win32 API. on the iphone it uses Apple's API.
That's banned by Apple as far as I can understand.
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Old 04-May-2010, 08:51   #21
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exactly. the limitation on scripting languages was an old story, but now they're explicitly banning any translation layer, or wrapper. You have to directly use Apple's APIs and not an API that will use their API, even if it results in native code.
Yes - no translation layer either at runtime or through an included API.

Quote:
Let's imagine you write a function that warns the user of an error, using maybe Makefiles and the C preprocessor ( #ifdef, #ifndef ). on the Unix console, it will write to stderr, using printf. on windows, it will pop up a dialog, using the win32 API. on the iphone it uses Apple's API.
That's banned by Apple as far as I can understand.
No. But say an API exists that accepts DirectX function calls from your iPhone application and translates them to the OpenGL commands you can use on the iPhone, that is an example of something that is now being explicitly denied I think.

SDL is another interesting example - SDL uses documented C libraries that are accepted by Apple, but that does not mean it is going to be accepted itself per se. It's not really perfect for iPhone development, granted, but it will be interesting to see if it can stay or if it has to go.
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Old 04-May-2010, 11:53   #22
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The EULA is stating that you are NOT allowed to use any source code that wasn't originally written in C, C++ or Objective C, regadless of whether they can detect what you've coded in or not.

This is killing Mono touch, that uses ahead of time compilation to convert from C# into an ARM binary.

Even if another language was used, say pascal and you used a pascal to C++ source converter, it would still be against the EULA because the source wasn't originally one of the allowed languages.

Of course this will screw up anyone using something like Flex or yacc in their project. Those create C code from source files that aren't C.... OMG RUN!

...
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Old 04-May-2010, 11:59   #23
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Other slight issue is that Apple wants end to end control of the platform.

You need to use an Apple computer to make applications for the Apple IPhone (no technical reason for this)
You need to use the Apple development tools to make applications (no technical reason for this)
You need to use one of the Apple approved languages to make applications (no technical reason for this)
You need to use the Apple approved APIs to make applications (acceptable for quality control standards)
You need to sell your applications using the Apple store (no technical reaons for this)

That is a list of things that would could get you into trouble. It is similar to the way console development works, but you don't need to use only the prescribed language, nor are you forced to sell through platform owner.
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Old 04-May-2010, 14:10   #24
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Other slight issue is that Apple wants end to end control of the platform.

You need to use an Apple computer to make applications for the Apple IPhone (no technical reason for this)
Although this one bugs me the most so far (I bought a Mac Mini for this reason alone), there is a clear technical reason for this, rooted in the same reason for not having OS/X available outside of Macs - Apple has chosen to only but thoroughly test specific hardware. This has advantages and disadvantages. I think Apple would gain a lot now if they started supporting other hardware with OS/X, more than they could ever gain from just selling Apple hardware.

Even then, now that I have a Mac it is clear to me that there are various more hidden technical aspects, like issues with Font rendering on non-Mac screens.

Quote:
You need to use the Apple development tools to make applications (no technical reason for this)
What do you mean with this? You can write programs in C, C++ or Objective-C and you can do that with any editor? Or do you mean building your applications specifically? XCode does not even appear in the EULA.

The reality though is, at least from what I've experienced and am reading from other Mac and iPhone developers, that XCode is simply rather good.

Quote:
You need to use one of the Apple approved languages to make applications (no technical reason for this)
But on the other hand they are C, C++ and Objective C. They are not some kind of weird outlandish custom languages! For an embedded platform, this does not seem to me to be a stupid limitation.

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You need to use the Apple approved APIs to make applications (acceptable for quality control standards)
This is basically the same on Android though!

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You need to sell your applications using the Apple store (no technical reaons for this)
This is true, but the consoles don't currently allow alternative online stores (although they are experimenting with some form of sale through Amazon I think).

In a more limited scale, you can develop apps that are only available to specific iphones (my basic development licence allows 100 devices, higher numbers are available) that you can authorize for your own software. This way you can in fact provide software in other ways than through the App-Store. A company can purchase this licence, then purchase software from me directly, and then distribute custom (bought) software to these devices it manages.

Not ideal or completely free of course, but worth mentioning as its often overlooked.

Quote:
That is a list of things that would could get you into trouble. It is similar to the way console development works, but you don't need to use only the prescribed language, nor are you forced to sell through platform owner.
All combined they can get you into about as much trouble as it keeps you out of, I'm thinking, so I guess its all about what kind of trouble you prefer. We'll find out whether or not other platforms move more into Apple's direction, or vice versa, or they stay the same and we'll see a divide between different types of users with different types of needs.
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Old 05-May-2010, 03:31   #25
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http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/04/e...en-apologizes/

apple is getting way to full of itself
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