Class action by Android users over Apple forced programmer exclusivity?


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  1. williamhereford

    williamhereford Active Member This Topic's Starter

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    Happy Fourth of July weekend to all the US folks here. Now, before I go on I just want to say I am not sue happy nor am I looking to make a bunch of lawyers a bunch of money.

    I am wondering if anyone has heard of any class action by Android users against Apple for its Programmer exclusivity policy. I am referring to the agreement that requires programmers only to write an app for Apple using Apple tools. I am not an apple hater. The reason I ask is that I have noticed there are quite a few event specific apps that are only available to the iPhone that just dropped (don't judge but the one I really wanted was the official Tour de France app as it started today)

    I feel that is safe to assume that the Official Android app is not yet available because of the aforementioned agreement that I believe most on here are aware of.

    ie: hurdles of not being allowed to cross platform develop forces developer to choose one store over the other.

    I know the FTC has started some investigating of Apple's policy for anti trust violations. I am just wondering if Android users as a consumer group can be proactive through litigation (sounds like such a dirty word *sigh*) to help end that policy.

    I do not need my nice Evo 4g to be an iPhone. I like no dropped calls the ability to customize my pocket computer/phone as I see fit, but I am bothered knowing that when a new app is released that I want there is no way to get it because the developer has been FORCED to agree not to make it. (By only being allowed to use Apple supplied programmer tools)

    I understand the developer can make the app for Android using other tools, but for time sensitive events like sporting events most will not have the time or willingness to put out the capital to make both.

    Please do not turn this into another Apple sucks thread. I am just interested in exploring the legal option of Android users arguing they are negatively impacted by Apple's exclusivity policy.

    Thank you and I look forward to the replies.
     

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  2. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    I'm extremely confused. According to their website, Apple requires developers to use an app that only runs on Mac. How does this translate into the Tour de France app only being available on the iPhone? I'm missing the connection there. What is stopping the developer from porting the app to Android if they choose to?
     
  3. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

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    Apple is shooting themselves in the foot.

    1.) You have to develop on a mac for iOs.

    2.) You have to use their outdated archaic programming language obj c, and no cross compilers.

    Tapatalk. Samsung Moment. Yep.
     
  4. williamhereford

    williamhereford Active Member This Topic's Starter

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    From my understanding to create an app for the iPhone you can only use proprietary programming tools provided by Apple (for a fee, $100 I believe) from start to finish. You are not allowed to build an app (say using Adobe, or anything else) and then customize its functions to work on iPhone or Android devices. The fact that you would not be allowed to use any other programming tools other than those provided by Apple to make an iPhone app was made very clear by Mr. Jobs earlier in the year. Around WWDC I believe.
    So from my understanding you come up with the idea for an app and at that point you have to decide which platform it goes to IOS or Android. From that perspective it prevents a vendor from working with both platforms easily (simultaneously), thus slowing competition (to IOS) and hindering access to apps for Android (the newer of the two marketplaces and less likely at this time to be a major corps first exclusive choice). I admittedly am unsure if one could build an app using Apples required tools and then tweak it outside of those tools to work with Android. I am not a programmer just a concerned consumer.

    So specifically for the Le Tour official app, they would have to double there programming resources from day one to build an app for both platforms. Something they seem unlikely to do, and may have been a choice (A or B, but not both) forced upon the organization by the rules of Apple.
     
  5. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    I don't necessarily disagree with either of those statements although the success of the iOS platform would certainly argue against both of them. What I don't see is how that is standing in the way of any Android developers. You can develop for Android on a PC or a Mac.
     
  6. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    Let's say I come up with an idea for an app. Let's say I happen to own a Mac. I have the ability to develop the app for the iPhone or Android or Blackberry or Palm or even WinMo if I choose. What would limit me to just working with the iPhone?

    You do realize that Android uses a completely different programming language from iOS right? You can't just take an iPhone app and tweak it around to work on Android. You've got to re-write it in a new language. If you're saying Apple is bad for making a platform that only runs Objective C, then you've got to say that Android is bad for having a platform that runs Java. There is no one universal programming language that works on any platform.

    The same thing could be said for anything. If I come up with an idea for a desktop app I have to decide what platform I want to write it for.
     
  7. DKYang

    DKYang Well-Known Member

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    I believe the OP is trying to say is that he wants all platforms, in this case Android and iOS, to use the same programming language so programmers do not have to translate the code into another language to get it working on a different platform.

    While all programmers would love for this to happen, it will never happen anytime soon. Companies can freely choose what programming language to use for their own platform that they created. The FTC is investigating Apple's terms that they set up, for example, no flash, must abide by these rules, etc etc. That's what the FTC is looking at, not the programming languages.

    Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone = Must use Windows OS.
    Apple's iOS = Must use OS X.
    Android = Any system, which makes sense since it's an open source platform.
     
  8. TheBrit

    TheBrit Well-Known Member

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    That would be true but Adobe were about to release Creative Suite 5. With that it would be possible to write one app, then compile it for different platforms, iOS, Android, WinMo etc. Mr. Jobby put a stop to iOS being included by writing into the T&Cs that you had to use Apple only tools. Quality was the excuse that Mr. Jobby used. For most apps this would be completely irrelavent - the real reason was to try to create exclusivity for iOS at the expense of the other platforms...hence the reason why a class action might be useful in fighting this anti-competitive stance.

    Objective C and Java are different in that the source code is different. It's well within the capabilities of a company like Adobe to produce a compiler to make either one run on either platform.
     
  9. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    I see your point, but the OP is talking about suing Apple on behalf of Android owners. There's just no suit there because Android owners are not harmed any more than iPhone owners are harmed if someone develops an app just for Android.

    A better way to look at it might be from the realm of video games. I honestly don't know what language video games are written it, but it's not uncommon for a game to come out exclusively for PS3 and not be on Xbox 360 or vice versa. There's nothing illegal or even civilly wrong about that.
     
  10. TheBrit

    TheBrit Well-Known Member

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    I do see your point here but the PS3/Wii/XBox are SO different that merely cross compiling would not cover it. The basic architecture of iPhone, Android and WinMo hardware are all quite similar (seeing android running on iPhone and WinMo phones proves that) so CS5 would have been able to cover most of the bases.
     
  11. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    True, but in any case the users of Android don't have a case because they're not really harmed. What harm is done if I can't get a Tour De France app or any other app on my phone?

    Now, the owners of the other compiling programs might have a case, but even then it's tenuous. They could argue that they've lost users (and thus revenue) who would normally use their products to write apps. However, you could also argue that there are other languages their products may not support. Do they support every programming language under the sun? The suit would be tenuous at best I think.
     
  12. TheBrit

    TheBrit Well-Known Member

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    True.

    This is where a case could be made.

    The language is largely unimportant. CS5 would be using a single (it's own?) language then cross compiling to each platform.

    The odd one out here is Java because that does not usually compile to the native code of a platform but to a hybrid known as byte code which is then interpreted by which ever platform it's on using the specific Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for that platform. It's a bit inefficient but has the benefit of running anywhere that has a JVM though each byte code instruction has to be converted to the corresponding machine code instruction as it runs. This can be improved by using a Just In Time (JIT) compiler that converts all of the byte code to machine code before executing the program. Android 2.2 (FroYo) uses this technique to great effect which is why some apps can run 400% to 500% faster than on previous versions of Android.

    Sorry if you knew all that but there will be some people reading that that didn't. ;)
     
  13. williamhereford

    williamhereford Active Member This Topic's Starter

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    As the OP I feel like I should mention that I am/was aware of tools like CS5 that at one time were to have to ability to cross compile. I am also very aware as well that Apple made it known that any app found to have used one of these compilers in the build would not be allowed in the iTunes app store.

    I also understand that in the next few months as Android continues to permeate the portable computing world (smartphones, netbooks, and even tablets) this may all become a moot issue.

    I guess it just seems at this point to be a less than legitimate (or legal) way to slow the rate of app development for Apple's competition.

    If cross compilers were allowed to be used in the development of an app a firm may justify spending a few thousand dollars more to have an app work on multiple platforms. (IOS, Andriod, Palm WinMo)

    Without the use of a compiler a firm is looking at 10k-15k (I have seen this number thrown around a bit on WSJ and other places) in some cases for an IOS app and probably close to the same amount to create the Android app. This doubling of expenses to write the apps lead to the firm picking one over the other. With more iPhones than Android devices out in the world right now it would seem an easy choice which device to write for.

    With the number of available Apps in a given marketplace being a major marketing tool right now. It would seem that maintaining that advantage would be of the utmost importance to Apple.

    By forcing a closed fully integrated development system Apple keeps this advantage. Well at least for the time being. I just wonder if the closed fully integrated system is legal. Many antitrust fillings have comedown in the past dealing specifically with closed integrated systems. Ford-Firestone tires- rubber plantations (old, but a major precident), Windows w/ IE(I don't remember if that was verticle or not)

    I am not looking to sue as I stated at the beginning of the post I am just trying to avoid having my app options limited because companies want to force developers into or out of there respective walled gardens.

    Android has a very active developer base and I like supporting the smaller individual developer. But in some cases (ie content licensing) they are unable to even come close to the content provided by the official app, and if that official app is only available on one platform because one OS player makes it financially difficult to write for all players (through possibly illegitimate ToC requirements) then we lose. Well for now.

    I wonder if Apple will have the same ToC next year when Android devices in all there mutations account for over 50 percent of the mobile OS market?
     
  14. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    I think you're jumping the gun if you think Android will quickly become the dominant OS that everyone will develop for. The success of the iOS even in it's closed source state speaks for itself.

    I'm not sure how you think this is an underhanded way to attack the competition. As was mentioned earlier, there are some video games that are written just for the XBox 360 and some just for the PS3. If I come with a great idea for a console game, I must choose to spend the money on one platform or another or spend extra money for both. It's the same thing.

    Having one programming language for every platform is a pipe dream really. It makes as much sense as having a universal language for all people on Earth. It's an awesome idea, but will not happen any time soon.

    It's a huge advantage and Apple has a closed platform. They have the right to do that. I don't think the feds should be allowed to force them to open their platform. For Apple to re-write iOS to run Java apps would take millions if not billions of dollars. That is a lot to ask to ask them to do that just so you can run one app on any platform.

    I go back to the video game analogy again. Apparently anyone who knows Visual C# can write games for the XBox 360. I couldn't find with a quick google search what language PS3 games are written in. I'm willing to bet it's different from Visual C#. There's nothing illegal about this though. Microsoft owns their platform and Sony owns their platform. They thus can dictate the terms of developing for those platforms.

    Which is well within their rights to do and may even be in their best interest to do. You have to pay upwards of $50k to develop a game for the XBox 360. Why? Because they don't want just any yehoo in his basement coding a crappy game for their console. Sony is the same way. By charging that much for their SDK, they have forced game development out of the hands of the average schmuck and into the hands of big companies. Is this a bad thing? I think most game players would say no.

    Apple has always had a closed platform. Always. They're not an open platform, nor have they ever been. They were a closed platform when they launched the iPhone and had 0 market share. People developed for them. They are a closed platform now that they're on top. Why would they change what works for them?

    Look at it this way. If you come up with an idea for app, you cannot code it in one language and have it run anywhere. That doesn't matter if it's a desktop app or a mobile app. You might get away with it on a web app, but that's about it. If it's a desktop app, you'll have to choose if you're going to write it for Windows or Mac or Linux. You can't have all three. If it's a mobile app, you'll have to choose if it's for BB or iOS or Android or Palm or WinMo or whatever. You can't have it all. Android can't run BB apps. Do you have the same issues with BB? WinMo can't run Android apps. Do you have the same issues with Android?
     
  15. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

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    This post is so wrong its not funny.

    First off, android vs iOs is deja vu of mac os vs windows. Who won that battle?

    Millions to make it run java apps? No? Since osx can run java easily, it wouldn't be hard at all.

    And yes you can code it in one language and have it run everywhere. Its called a cross compiler, which apple convieniently outlawed with iOs 4 or 3.?, not sure which.

    Tapatalk. Samsung Moment. Yep.
     
  16. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    Did you not read my post? The guy is predicting the downfall of iOS and world domination for Android. It's a ridiculous prediction at this point in the game. iOS owns the market because it has a wide variety of apps and it's ridiculously easy to pick up and use.

    Android may well catch up in the app department at some point, but I don't see it catching up in the easy of use department. Apple is willing to trade customizability and openness on their platform for ease of use and stability. An iPhone will almost never crash on you if it's not jailbroken and it doesn't have some sort of a hardware problem. This is because Apple has prized stability and ease of use over everything else. So far, it's paid off for them. I can't imagine the vast majority of people changing their minds.

    Yes it would cost millions. They would need to re-program parts of their OS and integrate new libraries into their OS. I don't know why you think it's cheap to do that. I've seen OS X. It's nothing like iOS. iOS is a different OS from OS X.
     
  17. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

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    Millions my ass. This is the real reason iPhone doesn't support Java, same as flash.

    Does the iPhone support Java? | The iPhone FAQ

    It's Steve Jobs and his classic fud. Supporting Java in the OS is as easy as installing a J2ME Client. They wouldn't have to reprogram much of anything at all. Just allow for the installation of J2ME, which they won't do, because it would interfere with the appstore sales. (potentially)

    Do you even have any programming experience?

    :rolleyes:
     
  18. williamhereford

    williamhereford Active Member This Topic's Starter

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    @A.Nonymous

    Did you actually read my post?

    50% is not equal to a downfall anymore than the current near 30% equals nonexistent. I fully grasp your opinion of the situation, but please don't put words in peoples mouth to try and make your argument.

    I have to ask about your game console analogy as I am admittedly unfamiliar. Does Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft dictate to game makers what tools they can use to make a game? Or do game makers maintain a choice of development tools and simply opt out of making a game for one build over the other using market data to determine the popularity of a given game on a given platform? ie: not building an ultra violent RPG for Nintendo Wii.

    With the open source nature (read as use for free and customize) of Android it is not unlikely that Android OS will have a significantly larger portion of the marketplace (and I repeat around 50% of the market) within the next year. If you go to China today they are producing viable Tablets and Netbooks running Android for domestic sale (or export if pick one up and bring it back with you:)). With 3 products (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and no allowance for outside manufactures to adopt IOS it does not seem improbable that Android will have 50% of the marketplace or more. the Cell phone market alone as of July 15th will already have more than half a dozen or more high end (read as comparable to iPhone 3G(S) and 4) smart phones running Android, against one (new model) running IOS. Granted that one model is immensely popular but it really is simple math. The more semi popular models you have out, the more marketshare you will gain simply due to the availability of semi popular options.

    Iphone sales vs Droid, Droid incredible, Droid X, Evo, Nexus 1, etc...

    And don't forget that each new Android device gains more press and exposure for Android pushing it deeper and deeper into the collective consumer consciousness. Also please remember that consumer adoption of new technology has ALWAYS operated on an exponential curve, not linear. So one cannot assume that because it took well over a year to get to 20 some odd percent adoption that it would take the same amount of additional time to get to 40%.

    So I pose the same questions again. Is the prerequisite that an app be built from start to finish using a closed vertically integrated system (AKA Vertical Monopoly [research if unfamiliar]) forbidding the use of available comparable outside tools (CS5, others) legitimate? And does that closed vertical system unfairly (illegally) hinder competition (availability of same app over multiple platforms), and negatively impact the consumer?
     
  19. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Well-Known Member

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    Yes they do. If you want to build for the PS3, you must buy the PS3 SDK. That costs anywhere from $25-50k according to the Internet. I can't find the exact numbers. For Xbox, it's the same thing. I am sure the type of game they're making factors into what platform they code for as well.

    I don't dispute that. But if you think iOS is going away any time soon, you're crazy. Windows owns something like 90%+ of the desktop market and has been there for years. I don't think Android (or any other OS for that matter) will reach that in the mobile market.

    Is it legitimate? Yes. In my mind it is. Apple owns the platform. Why should they not be allowed to dictate how you can develop for it? Could this bite them in the ass down the road? Yes it could. Apple has a closed platform by choice. I don't think companies should be forced, by law, to have open platforms.

    You're completely ignoring those companies who choose not to develop for Android just because or because it doesn't have the marketshare of Apple. There are still companies who develop mainly for BB. If you're going to argue that the only reason people aren't developing an app for Android is because Apple has a closed platform, you're making an extremely tenuous argument.
     
  20. aardvark

    aardvark Member

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    How does the iPhone's closed system/contract requirements harm users or developers of other platforms?

    Does an Android/other platform user have standing to sue Apple/Jobs? What is the other platform/Android user's harm?

    Perhaps the developers might have a beef, but it seems to me they have options. They have to agree to the terms of the contract, if they don't like it they can go somewhere else. No one is forcing them to accept.
    If you want to develop for another platform, then do it.

    How does their contract affect one's ability to create an app for another platform?

    Do they not allow developers to make the same or similar apps for other platforms?
     
  21. takeshi

    takeshi Well-Known Member

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    Um, that's the practical definition of a class action suit.
     
  22. TheBrit

    TheBrit Well-Known Member

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    Soo true.

    I think it was 3.x when Mr Jobby found out that Adobe were about to release CS5 with this feature.

    @A.Nonymous As for Apple having to spend millions to allow for it - nope. They would not have to spend a single penny because that's what a cross compiler is for. They actually spent the money on lawyers to re-draft the T&Cs to ban it.
     
  23. MovingForward

    MovingForward Member

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    While the idea of a class action suit is not without merit, unless Adobe were on board it would have a very difficult time trying to succeed. No single company has lost more from Apple's bizarre SDK4 episode than Adobe, and their absence would be seen as a tacit vote of no confidence in such a suit.

    That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Adobe is researching this option as we speak. It simply doesn't seem coincidental that the SDK 4 license was released just two business days before CS5; it seems very likely that somewhere at One Infinity Loop is a memo directing the SDK team to hold off on publishing the new license until a specific date. Whether or not that memo specifically notes that the holding off is a deliberate effort to maximize the damage to Adobe's investment in iOS tools would be a minor point, but obtaining a copy that memo would be very useful and possibly what Adobe's waiting for.

    So until Adobe heads up such a suit, there are better options for capitalizing on this moment:

    Make great apps exclusively for Android.

    Avoid the temptation to make stupid things like the 200+ iFart clones littering Apple's App Store. Keep the quality of Android offerings high by pursuing truly worthwhile apps. Make them as solid and user-friendly as you can. Deliver them at a good price. Provide excellent support for them.

    I believe Gartner is correct in their prediction that Android will eclipse iOS by 2012. But it can't happen without good developers making great apps.

    If we believe Android is a better platform, we can communicate that most effectively by delivering great apps for it. Do the best work you can, make some money in the process, and watch Android grow.
     
  24. Slated

    Slated Active Member

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    You've completely missed the point.

    The problem is not that Android uses one language and the iPhone uses another.

    The problem is that Apple have prohibited developers from using cross-platform tools to develop iPhone applications, and thus have made it expensive, time-consuming and unattractive for developers to support both systems in a timely and financially viable manner.

    So in all probability most developers will support either one or the other, but not both. And given that the iPhone already has a market lead, this is an (illegally) unfair disadvantage to Android. This is the crux of the class action against Apple, because it is anticompetitive behaviour (read: The Sherman Act).

    Competition is a perfectly healthy and necessary thing, but when it crosses the line into monopolisation using forced exclusion (a.k.a. racketeering), then it is morally and legally wrong.
     
  25. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

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    There's nothing illegal or immoral about it. You can only program flash in ActionScript, is that illegal too? There is still that choice, just don't program for Apple. Market lead or not, Android is more attractive for development than iPhone.
     

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