Apple extended an olive branch to the iPhone developer community by allowing a non-disclosure agreement on released iPhone software to expire. (Techmeme) Here's the text of Apple's note on its developer's site:
To Our Developers:We have decided to drop the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for released iPhone software.
We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.
However, the NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone’s success, so we are dropping it for released software. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released.
Thanks to everyone who provided us constructive feedback on this matter.
For developers, this means no longer having to stay underground if they wanted to share ideas and tips on their already-released iPhone apps with other developers. CNET's Tom Krazit offers his thoughts about the NDA:
That was a ridiculous state of affairs, and it did nothing to further the mutual goal of Apple and iPhone developers: the continual improvement of software on the iPhone in order to boost sales. It would sort of be like if CNET forbade me from explaining to readers and colleagues how I developed my thoughts during the writing process for an article that had already been published.
Apple had been trying to keep the competition from learning too much about the iPhone by tapping into the technical details shared by developers. But instead of keeping competitors at a distance, the company instead angered developers. The NDA still applies to unreleased software.