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Apple allows iPhone developers to talk

October 02, 2008|Michelle Quinn

IPhone developers and publishers of iPhone-related books cheered Wednesday after Apple Inc. said it would lift the software nondisclosure agreement that had prevented them from discussing the process of creating programs for the device.

Dave Thomas, a co-founder of Pragmatic Programmers, a publisher and consulting firm, had held back the publication of iPhone books and other products because of the NDA. He celebrated on his blog: "A great huzzah! was heard through the land."

It's common for companies to make developers agree to NDAs before a product is launched. But Apple had frustrated iPhone developers who had downloaded the free developer's kit by not waiving that NDA once the iPhone 2.0 software update was released July 11.

That meant no iPhone software chitchat in online forums or iPhone problem-solving sessions in the hallways at conferences.

The NDA made life difficult for iPhone conference planners, who had to limit topics of discussion, and publishers, who had to delay their iPhone books. Some developers paid each other a dollar so they could say they were subcontractors and therefore permitted to discuss iPhone software.

Apple acknowledged the developer community's frustrations Wednesday in a blog post. It said Apple instituted the NDA "as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others." But it also said Apple recognized that the agreement had "created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone's success."

The move should help improve the company's relationship with iPhone developers, some of whom have had their iPhone programs rejected. And the public should prepare for a wave of iPhone books and conferences.

-- Michelle Quinn

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