Dear Apple, "agreement" implies agreeing

To some developers, the iPhone 4.0 "agreement" isn't an agreement, it's a hostage situation.

Four of the five definitions for "agreement" on Dictionary.com involve the idea of both parties agreeing or "being in accord":

  • the act of agreeing or of coming to a mutual arrangement.
  • the state of being in accord.
  • an arrangement that is accepted by all parties to a transaction.
  • a contract or other document delineating such an arrangement.
  • unanimity of opinion; harmony in feeling: agreement among the members of the faculty.

Now that Apple has published it's iPhone 4.0 developer "Agreement," there's something to be said for both parties being in, you know, something like agreement.

Both parties are not. Apple is, like, "We have a gun to your head. Ha! Ha!" Developers are, like, "Oh, please, don't shoot us. We have families. Whimper. Cry."

That is not an agreement. That's more like a hostage situation.

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This week, Adobe acknowledged that although they'd developed CS5 entirely in accord with Apple's then-published "agreement," they were resigned to the fact that their iPhone portability features were blown out of the water due to the new "agreement."

Do you have any idea how much money Adobe invested in supporting the iPhone? In this economy? And out of the blue, Apple decided to nuke them?

There's nothing agreeable about that.

Next up, we have the new "agreement" clause that outlaws developers from using in-application analytics. Because knowing how products sell or perform is so, you know, unacceptable.

Based on this clause in the new "agreement," mobile ad companies who have been valuable partners and drivers of opportunity on the iPhone App Store are being left out in the cold. Developers and advertising networks have no idea (because, to Apple, agreeing also means not communicating) whether or not their work is going to be unceremoniously dropped from the App Store.

This is not agreeing. This is not working in accord. This is not an arrangement accepted by all parties. This is not unanimity of opinion or harmony in feeling.

This is not an "agreement."

It's Apple's party and they'll drive their developers nuts if they want to. That's fine. But, Dear Apple, don't call the instrument you're making developers sign an "agreement" when it's anything but.

Also read: How Apple's bridge burning hurts customers

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