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A Bridge Too Far

April 10, 2010 20:56:19.068

I wrote about the new Apple TOS stuff earlier today; since then, things have gone nuts. Greg Slepak actually got a response from Jobs, and sure enough, it looks like the policy is his idea. You can get the conversation via Mashable; it looks like Slepak's site is overwhelmed right now.

What Jobs isn't grasping is that he's pissing off a huge segment of the developer community that would happily write apps for his platform. Will that matter in the long term?

Honestly, I don't know, but going from a positive to a negative view within the larger development community can't help them. The flip side of Jobs' innate ability to bring focus seems to be an inability to climb down from ridiculous positions. It would only help him - and Apple - to do a climb down. I seriously doubt he'll do it though. Before this, his "anti-Flash" stance was just that - and it didn't bring any collateral damage to the party. What he's just done is set off a hand grenade in a crowded room, when he had been content to use a sniper rifle.

Consider a small example - the Squeak port to the iPhone. Absent this policy a number of Smalltalk developers would likely have picked that work up and created apps, "just for fun". Now? They just won't bother - or, more likely, someone will create a "Squeak for Android" package, and all of the energy will go there.

Now, that's admittedly a small set of developers in the grand scheme of things. But what about the legions of, say, Java developers? Or Ruby developers? Does Apple really want to send all of them over to Android? That's where inertia will send them. It may be enough to make Android a bigger player, it may not. What's clear to me is that it gives Google an opening - whether they can exploit that opening is something else again.

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posted by James Robertson


Re: A Bridge Too Far

[W^L+] April 11, 2010 17:05:24.899

I doubt that it will affect Apple's business. With so many customers buying iApps for their iDevices, developers will go where the customers are, even if some of them need to learn new toolsets in order to do so.

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