EFF slams Apple over draconian licensing restrictions

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has harshly criticized Apple for imposing a draconian licensing agreement on developers.

“If Apple wants to be a real leader, it should be fostering innovation and competition, rather than acting as a jealous and arbitrary feudal lord,” opined EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred Von Lohmann.

“Developers should demand better terms and customers who love their iPhones should back them.”

According to Von Lohmann, the entire family of devices built on the iPhone OS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) have been designed to run only on Apple approved software.

“This is a major shift from the norms of the personal computer market. Software developers who want Apple’s approval must first agree to the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement,” he explained. 

“If Apple’s mobile devices are the future of computing, you can expect that future to be one with more limits on innovation and competition (or ‘generativity,’ in the words of Prof. Jonathan Zittrain) than the PC era that came before. It’s frustrating to see Apple, the original pioneer in generative computing, putting shackles on the market it (for now) leads.”

Von Lohmann added that the EFF was posting the full text of Club Cupertino’s infamous and clandestine agreement for all to see.

“Though more than 100,000 app developers have clicked ‘I agree,’ public copies of the agreement are scarce, perhaps thanks to the prohibition on making any ‘public statements regarding this Agreement, its terms and conditions, or the relationship of the parties without Apple’s express prior written approval.'”