The first rule of Apple App Store is - you do not talk about Apple App Store

The first rule of Apple App Store is - you do not talk about Apple App Store

Summary: Apple is using NDAs to gag developers from revealing the reason why their applications were rejected from the App Store.


Apple is using NDAs to gag developers from revealing the reason why their applications were rejected from the App Store.

Apparently, Apple has now started labeling their rejection letters with Non-Disclosure (NDA) warnings:


Readers should note that Apple's developer correspondence may have already been covered by the original NDA, but Apple is now making it clear.

I'm kinda stumped as to the reason behind this decision. I guess it has something to do with Apple not being happy about previous judgments it made over accepting/rejecting apps being second-guessed. If that's the case then Apple is demonstrating a greater level of control-freakery than ever before.

[poll id=356]

Chris Seibold writing for Apple Matters sums it all up concisely:

The developer will know why an app got rejected but the public won't. That is the move of a company scared of legit competition and ashamed of its motives

For people who constantly defend Apple as some good-natured alternative to Microsoft this is a rough stretch coming up. For those who see Apple as just another corporation that makes some cool stuff none of this is news. Unsurprising corporate governance or the last good company turning to evil, either way it isn't important because Apple stance banning legitimate applications from the App store just doesn't matter.

Chris is ultimately right. It doesn't matter. The iPhone is a closed system (think of a club with a couple of heavies at the door), and while there's plenty of opportunities for developers to cash in on platform, when a developer has an app rejected then, on the whole, no one will really care. Those who dislike Apple will add this to the list of reasons why they dislike Apple, while the fanboys will rationalize the whole issue away. The jilted developer will either go away and never develop another iPhone app (or aim their creations at jailbroken iPhones), or keep on reaching for the pot of gold.

Topics: Apple, Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • And people complain about M$'s heavy hand?

    Stevie boy is no better than M$.
    • Exactly! Apple = MS + WORSE nt

    • a bunch of hipocrisy

      Yes, and Apple loves to make fun of Microsoft's security problems, but then claims that they can't open the iPhone up to third-party developers because of "security."

      Yet people have been writing apps for Microsoft's mobile OS for years now without bringing down any networks or causing widespread havok. Again, we see Apple admitting that they can't handle what Microsoft has handled routinely for years; yet nobody calls them on it.

      So now Apple has half-assedly opened their platform up, but dicks developers over with no excuse. And now they embarrass themselves by sending a letter that tells you not to talk about itself?

      Apple needs to be subjected to a righteous smackdown in court of its horseshit "NDA" and EULA, once and for all.
  • RE: The first rule of Apple App Store is - you do not talk about Apple App Store

    Does this mean that Apple can simply ban an application for an undisclosed reason and then build the features of that app itself, and the developer can do little or nothing about it?
    • Sounds like it

      That really would be one of my biggest concerns about the rejection system...
    • The Third Rule of Apple App Store

      If this is your first time at Apple App Store, you have to

      But seriously . . .

      -- Does this mean that Apple can simply ban an
      application for an undisclosed reason and then build the
      features of that app itself, and the developer can do little
      or nothing about it? --

      While I [i]want[/i] to give Apple the benefit of the doubt, I
      don't see what is stopping Apple from doing just such a
      thing. There isn't even an appearance of fairness. At this
      point, it's hard to tell if Apple is being malicious or just
      being incompetent with the arbitrary nature of the
      rejections and the NDA gag on developers to discuss the
      iPhone or the App Store.

      Adrian seems to suggest that because it's no secret that
      the App Store is a tightly controlled closed system,
      developers can take it or leave it. (I think that's what he's
      saying. I have no problems with closed and proprietary
      systems per se. But the rules must be carefully and
      completely established and followed by Apple. In short,
      there must be "rule of law".

      Apple seems to be making up rules as it goes along, like a
      petty dictator. Meanwhile, they are supposedly trying to
      recruit people to be 3rd party developers.

      I love Apple. I've been a Mac user since 1991. I'm excited
      about the iPhone as a new platform. And I think Apple is
      being incredibly stupid. They're shooting themselves in the
      Marcos El Malo
  • RE: The first rule of Apple App Store is - you do not talk about Apple App

    I am really curious to hear the legitimate reasons why these NDAs are necessary. For something as simple as a rejection letter, I cannot think of a legit reason. If the rest of the development community does not know why something was rejected, what is to stop another developer from wasting their time on a similar project.

    Note: I don't even use an IPhone, but think they look great. If only they were on a better network;-)
    • We All Are, And By All, I Mean Me

      Rule #2 has to be that they don't talk about the reasons.

      Possible reasons: rejection of an app may be related to the deal they have with AT&T and Apple has to obey that NDA. Perhaps some rejection reasons may tip off security holes, which is somewhat sensible, or embarrassing bugs in the operating system, which would be immature vanity and inexcusable.

      I've seen speculation that the NDA on the emails is boilerplate, in which case a clarification better be forthcoming.

      It's bad bad. Whether it's Apple being a bully or caught between a rock and a hard place (i.e., chase off professional developers or be sued by AT&T), I think this is hobbling the iPhone's potential. We've already seen a great publisher, Pragmatic, pull a book about development out of the release schedule. I've heard developers bemoan that they cannot share tips on how to develop for the phone. One wonders where the innovation will come from if the boundaries are not known. And why have boundaries, except for those proscribed by law? For those of you who want to see "The Cathedral vs. the Bazaar" demonstrated in real time, hang on for G1 vs. the iPhone.
  • Apple has taken it to the next level.

    This is all about control and making sure that they have no competition on the app store and also to make sure that their products work as flawlessly as they can because as we all know some apps can cause alot of problems for the OS. I think this is really not good for the development community to be shunned and rejected. I don't recall anything like this going on at Microsoft and they are actually opening up more, albeit slowly, but they are moving in a much different direction than Apple which is taking abuse of its coolness factor to do whatever it wants and they speak very lightly about any issues that arise. Apple is no better than any other company, they are actually worse in some ways.
  • RE: Apple = Bush Regime

    Apple reminds me of our current Bush Regime. Taking our liberty away in the name of security. And just like the Bush regime there are enough fools out there who keep the business going as usual.
    Anybody not blinded by their fanboism wont be surprised, and fanboy wont care as usual and might even try to justify this like every other shady Apple move.
    In the end as the author said - It won't matter because nobody(=Apple users) cares enough.(Why would matter what non-apple users think?)
    • So cool.....

      That is awesome how you could come out with a Apple = Bush scenario. So original. I hope you have something to occupy your time once he leaves office. And I hope your not one of those that thinks we should robin hood the nation and force fannie mae and freddie mac to loan money to the poor people who can't pay it back(because they are lazy or addicted).
      • My Mistake.....but here's the sad part

        I said my post was targeted at "Anybody not blinded by their fanboism..".
        BTW I dont see anything in my post that says anything about economy or fannie mae and freddie mac.
        I was just trying to draw a parallelism between Apple's practices and Bush regime by explaining how the sheer ignorance of their faithful can keep them in power despite their lack of accountability and heavy handedness. The fact that people like you are so easily manipulated be false FUD spread by both of these promising you false sense of security, that you are ready to give up your liberty in exchange and be blindsighted is shocking.
        But then again if you were so rational and smart I would'nt be explaining it to you, thereby rendering futile this whole effort of enlightening you. I know you would still come up with some other pointless reply to justify why being ignorant is a bliss and why I am a fool in not seeing it. And that my friend is the sad part.
        • Ouch, that hurt

          Yeah you just lowered my self esteem with those lines of BS. I understand your thoughts about security, but then again Obama doesn't either because he signed that bill that gives the NSA those powers. I really don't care because I am not William Ayers and I don't care if anyone listens to my awesome converstations with my Russian girlfriend. So give me an example where things are different for you than they were say 10 years ago?
          • Are you kidding me?

            "give me an example where things are different for you than they were say 10 years ago?"

      • Please don't assume

        That people who are unable to pay their mortgages are lazy and addicted. Some are, sure. But let's not pretend that everything is just as cheap as it has always been. In my house (which we are, thankfully, still able to pay for) monthly expenses have nearly doubled in food, fuel, and utilities alone. Thank goodness we don't have a variable rate mortgage, and our payment hasn't gone up and down with interest rate fluxuation. People act like those that are over-extended have done it entirely to themselves. Our country has made it nearly impossible to get by without a car, so there's a payment many can't afford, insurance many can't afford, and fuel many can't afford, and frankly, in times of good, just about anyone would rather buy a home than continue to flush money down the rent toilet, not to mention the complete lack of rights or benefits (tax or other) a renter has in comparison to a homeowner. A little financial guidance or even, god forbid, the bank rejecting an unreasonable mortgage application could have saved a lot of people a lot of heartache. Instead, they say "Oh, I see you make $40,000 a year and are looking to buy this $750,000 home....okay, that looks fine" and people think that the banks must know what they're doing, and they're not going to hand out money they don't think they'll get back, right?

        In other words, nothing is as black and white as you just tried to paint it, and not everyone has the financial sensibility that I or you, apparently, have. That doesn't make them lazy, addicted, or any other name you wish to call people you have no clue about.

        It's simply bigoted, small-minded, and completely oblivious to what it takes to have to work hard to survive instead of being fortunate enough to have a decent paying job.
    • Ding-ding-ding!!! We have a winnah!!!

      I was wondering who would be the ***hole that would feel the need to drag totally off topic politics into the talkback.

      Thanks for playing, you have won the Brown Sphincter Award.
      Hallowed are the Ori
  • Good, push the developers to Android

    Just more applications for the Android market. Get the developers on a platform that allows for all of the apps, good or bad. Let the users decide.
  • Face it, Apple is same old control freak as 1990s, and it gonna lose again.

    Apple is as authoritarian as any company gets. "think different"? when millions of people think exactly the same "difference", its not different anymore.

    Apple fanboys are just obedience crowd of human being.
  • Yes, let's think of the App store as a Club.

    But, it is a Club where the managers
    represent the interests of the
    members, not the employees.
    Therefore, the employees should not
    air their grievances to the members
    or the Press. If the Employers have
    strict requirements which the
    employees disagree with, they
    should take them up with the
    management. Or find other

    No developer has a right to post
    their apps on the App store.

    The developers should recognize
    that Apple has a responsibility to
    maintain the ecosystem. Therefore,
    Apple will refuse apps which do not
    meet its standards.

    Anyone can quibble about Apple's
    standards, but the app store is quite
    new. No doubt, some of the
    difficulties will be mitigated in time.

    But, there will always be apps that
    are disapproved. And developers
    who disagree with Apple's decisions.
    Those developers are free to design
    their own iPhone and app store.
    They are free to compete with Apple
    rather than use Apple's marketplace
    or Club. I wish them well.
    • So....

      Using your analogy, they have no right to discuss what is a "no go" with other employees either, to save everyone time and money?