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Apple has locked me out of my developer account (rambo.codes)
1019 points by rwc 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 463 comments



> I’m just an indie developer trying to make good products.

Apple should separate Rambo's software development from his reporting rather than retaliate against him, if that is indeed what is happening, but it is a little disingenuous for him to make the above claim.

Rambo reverse engineers Apple products and publishes findings on 9to5Mac.com, in particular future product references that have slipped prematurely into releases. (To be clear I have no problem with this, but it likely violates the terms of the Apple Developer Agreement.)

Recently, Rambo published an article where he got early access to Apple Arcade, which I think may have crossed a line:

https://9to5mac.com/2019/08/17/apple-running-early-access-pr...

In a later post from a collaborating author, they described how they gained access to the unannounced service through their own Apple account, rather than a leak from an employee, which could easily be argued was unauthorized access.


Said it better than I could've – there are some pretty obvious reasons why Rambo's account could've been suspended, the clear violation of NDAs being the main one, with him publishing information about unreleased products. I'm honestly kind of surprised they let him keep his Developer account all this time.

My bigger issue here is the complete lack of transparency or visibility into the process. It's this kind of stuff is why I strongly support some government action to change the current state of affairs with regards to the App Store being the only way to get apps on iOS.

These companies have been notoriously opaque in how they make such decisions (and sometimes inconsistent), and the fact that their stores are monopolies on their platforms makes this much worse.


> My bigger issue here is the complete lack of transparency or visibility into the process.

This is indeed the core of the problem. If Apple provided a clear citation, e.g. “the following protected information was shared under your name at this URL on this date, which violates section xyz of your developer agreement,” it would still be unfortunate, but it would be miles ahead of Apple’s maddening “for more information please reread” stance.


This is an issue with a lot of companies and industries. It's getting really old, and I really hope we see it happen to actual senators so we can see some damn change over it. I'd love to read about how Paypal shutdown some senators account or campaign donation account or whatever, maybe then we will see congress start to turn tables.

If you're going to discontinue service with a client then provide proper background into why that is. It's a damn courtesy.


Unfortunately, the official internal policy seems to be to shut down accounts and then if someone turns out to be well connected or is able to get some press coverage, then they get unblocked. So senators will never need to worry.


Note that for certain financial services, perhaps including PayPal, they may not legally be allowed to explain why they closed your account.


That's debatable. In fact, it's probably more accurate to say "It's legally more perilous for them to explain why they closed your account."

Which is a distinction when it comes to possible ways to fix the problem.

I'm absolutely in favor of a "right to examine" law around algorithmic decisions that impact an individual.


How do we know Apple didn't provide that ?

If the author is being disingenuous and misrepresenting why likely was banned then I am sure other facts are being left out as well.


> If the author is being disingenuous and misrepresenting why likely was banned then I am sure other facts are being left out as well.

And how do you know the author is being disingenuous ?


He's suggesting that, out of the blue, Apple have suspended his account and he can't imagine any possible reason why.

If he's been reverse engineering and publish the results of developer-only pre-releases in violation of his T&Cs, then he has a pretty good idea why.


So if you want to stop a successful Apple developer (maybe a competitor), just write blog posts using his name about Apple beta, internal, or reversed engineered things.


This is impossible at scale and a waste of a companies' time. Apple doesn't care if your account is reinstated. Odds are (just like the author here) you know exactly why your account is suspended. If you honestly don't, then you didn't do your due diligence in signing up.

And, even if they cited whatever part of whatever agreement, it would just be onto the next excuse. It's a bottomless pit of arguing that solves nothing.

It's the same reason reddit moderators don't answer when you ask why you got banned. Either you know why and you're just trying to weasel out of it, or you don't know why and you're a bad contributor in general, or you don't know why and don't care and just want back in. And the answer to all three is no. Why? Because who cares about you? You're one of millions. You're one infinitesimal speck in a deluge of others, all providing similar things but who are following the rules. You are not special. You are replaceable. After you're gone, 5 other developers will take your place, paying their dues, and following the rules, and you won't be missed.

Nobody's app idea is so fucking star spangled awesome as to make them above the rules. You wanna play in Apple's sandbox? Cool, they're happy to have you. Do it right. And if you don't, they'll boot you out. Simple as.


If someone can manually kill a Dev account, they can include a message why it was killed. Even if it's generic form letter, it can be one that at least says what rule was broken.


They can. But why should they? What's the benefit?


Goodwill. Just because you're the big gorilla and can act as such with impunity doesn't mean you ought to constantly remind people of that. One developer doesn't matter in the grand scheme, but every time they get to the front page of HN with a story like this it chips away at Apple's (or Google's, or whoever's) reputation. Collectively that does have value.


Actually, every time an app dev gets to the front page with a story like this, one of the top commenters has more info that paints them in a much more negative light. Which is exactly what happened in this case (using dev account to access inside information). It happens so often that I am beginning to trust Apple's judgement and reactions, not developers (fair disclosure: I am not an iOS or Android app dev, the shear crowdedness of the app store has discouraged me from getting started).

Sure, some explanations from Apple would be ideal, but I think fuzzyZeus makes a good realpolitik argument for why that doesn't happen--and didn't deserve to get downvoted into oblivion for it.

And speaking of explanations, why doesn't the OP give us more explanations? The OP details all the delays and non-comm of Apple without even mentioning his own activities--especially if they were as serious as alleged. If he did non-standard or gray-area activities, you'd think he'd explain them and how they should be considered legit. The fact that he does not mention them at all is very detrimental to his case, and will likely cause a Streisand effect.

Yes, apps and devs are still critical to the iOS ecosystem, but fuzzyZeus is right that there is too much supply putting the balance of power on Apple's side.


With all respect, I don't think FussyZeus makes a convincing realpolitik argument for Apple's approach here. Rambo hasn't, AFAICT, even had it confirmed that his account is suspended at all. The argument isn't that Apple is obligated to spend hours of employee time in back-and-forth arguments with people they kick out of the developer program, merely that they should be clear that that's what they're actually doing and offer at least a sentence or two as to why. The argument that this just can't possibly scale is dubious, given that Amazon meets that standard when they take action against seller accounts. Even Twitter and Facebook, which are dealing with far more bad actors, don't just mysteriously disable your login with no explanation.


> Rambo hasn't, AFAICT, even had it confirmed that his account is suspended at all.

In the original article, Rambo is complaining that his dev account has been limited in some way. Anyway, how is that relevant when no one in this thread is contesting that the OP's account was (or was not) suspended/disabled in some way?

> they should be clear that that's what they're actually doing and offer at least a sentence or two as to why

I pretty much said the same, but given all the missing information, it might be a case where they can't or don't want to. As other comments have pointed out, Apple has covered themselves legally with their TOS explicitly stating accounts could be terminated without notice for violations. Other comments have also pointed out that Apple might be in a legal situation where they were advised to not communicate (blame the corporate lawyers).

> The argument that this just can't possibly scale is dubious

Well FussyZeus had a whole explanation for his/her opinion backed by his/her experience and a certain attitude towards the whole situation. Your only argument is that Amazon, Twitter, and FB do manage to give explanations. Yes, but not always, and Google that you don't mention is notorious for not giving explanations and not being able to speak to a human about it.

I have the feeling that this is not a minor violation and there is credible speculation the OP seems to have behaved in ways that might merit what happened. So I think it's premature to jump to the conclusion that Apple can and should be more forthcoming in this case.


> FussyZeus had a whole explanation for his/her opinion backed by his/her experience and a certain attitude towards the whole situation. Your only argument is that Amazon, Twitter, and FB do manage to give explanations. Yes, but not always, and Google that you don't mention is notorious for not giving explanations and not being able to speak to a human about it.

FZ's only cited experience is "I've done moderation for communities before." As I noted, I've done moderation for communities before. I've also worked closely with professional community managers in other positions. And as I noted elsewhere, I can't quite shake the feeling that neither FZ's experience nor mine is directly comparable to this -- being kicked off a forum is not generally going to destroy your business. "Other companies give explanations" isn't my only argument; my main argument, I'd say, is that when it's reasonable to assume cancelling someone's account will screw with their livelihood, a company should maintain a certain standard of care and communication that exceeds the standard of care a forum community manager has. Is that really such a crazy argument for me to make? (And, yes, I'll also stand by my assertion that even the forum community manager should probably meet the "we're telling you why you're banned" standard of care.)

So, anyway, I guess I agree with this:

> I have the feeling that this is not a minor violation and there is credible speculation the OP seems to have behaved in ways that might merit what happened.

I just have trouble with this:

> So I think it's premature to jump to the conclusion that Apple can and should be more forthcoming in this case.

Unless saying "we've cancelled your development account because you keep digging through private frameworks and publishing crap you know we don't want revealed" would somehow compromise an ongoing investigation (unlikely, unless there's genuine criminal activity here), I just don't think getting to that conclusion requires much of a jump.



To sum up: respected dev helped a relative in the past by setting up a second account with same credentials, this second account had thousands of review fraud, so Apple shut down both accounts without warning. Upon communication, Apple agreed to reinstate the respected person's account that had no fraud. Then there was a disagreement over who said what and when.

Is Apple heavy-handed in this? Definitely, and that should be fixed. But like in the current situation, they had/have significant cause to initiate an action (that turned out to be heavy-handed).


> every time they get to the front page of HN with a story like this it chips away at Apple's (or Google's, or whoever's) reputation

I know we who post here on HN would like to believe this is true, but I have seen no evidence that it actually is.


I started as a huge Google fan.

I am not anymore.

To be honest though they might have put in the biggest effort themselves when it comes to making sure everyone dislike them.


The pain with Google is that they go out of their way to ensure there's no way you can talk to a human with any decision making power.


I'm not a fan of Apple or Google. But I also don't see any reason to think that Apple or Google cares whether I'm a fan or not.


They (Google) probably probably care about if people leave their ecosystem, and even more if we go around encouraging other users to leave and investigators to investigate.


Apple has tons of goodwill with their users, and that's what matters. That's who pays the bills, and that's who funds the App Store. From the beginning Apple has had a very standoff-ish relationship with their developers. Their rules are clear from the outset: Play by them, or don't publish on our platform. To be honest I think developers occasionally still got entirely too much leeway to break their guidelines and get chances to fix it.

Their relationship to us has always been in very simple terms: These are the ways you're allowed to behave while doing business on our platform. Accept that, or do not publish here. If you publish here and break these rules, you will be removed without second chance.

Yet again, and again, and again, we get pleas from fellow developers who broke those rules but think Apple's just being mean. No, they're not. They outlined exactly how you should not Do the Thing, and you Did the Thing, and now you're off. This situation is fixed, and you knew the outcomes. You made your bed, sleep in it.


Sure the primary concern for Apple is users. But it's not like the platform could exist without the ecosystem around it, which largely depends on developers publishing apps. And it's not as if the dev accounts are not subscription-based - it's not expensive and Apple does not make a ton of money on this, but it's not free either.

And I don't think anyone suggests Apple should get rid of all the rules and accept anarchy on the platform, that'd be insane. They have the right to set the rules on their platform, and enforce them. And the developers should not be surprised when violations are handled accordingly.

The first problem is that a lot of the rules are entirely vague, to the extent that it's hard to make judgments based on the wording. (Essentially what we used to call "rubber law" years ago, a vaguely worded law that can be used to support whatever the state currently wants.).

The second problem is that you generally don't get clear explanation what rules you broke. That may seem reasonable, but whoever makes those decisions is bound to make some errors. And if you don't know what rule(s) you supposedly broke and how, you can hardly appeal the decision.

Yes, for Apple it's much easier/cheaper to provide as little information as possible, eliminating the issue of appeals (i.e. costs). But it's a bit of a dick move, really.

If you set rules for your platform, you really need to plan for proper enforcement, including providing information what rule was broken/how and allowing appeals.


> it's not like the platform could exist without the ecosystem around it

We developers would like to believe this is true, but I'm not sure it is. I don't think Apple would care if the third party developer ecosystem went away. They don't depend on it to sell their products.


I think it's fair to say that early on, third party developers added a lot of functionality that was lacking in the OS. Apple has steadily incorporated the more popular features so that is probably less true today, but there are still lots of bespoke tools that they are never going to provide. To use a personal example -- if only Android had a Tesla app, it would definitely be a factor in my choice for my next phone. If they ended the ecosystem altogether I'd probably switch. Whether that also applies to regular people is of course debatable.


There's a huge difference between indie developer apps and corporate apps.

I need my bank's app (well, all four of my banks' apps actually), my email provider's app, a few games, etc. I might have a couple of "indie" apps, maybe. But I could certainly live without them.


How can you say that when the 16" MBP brought back the 'Escape' key? Why would you minimize your (our?) voice in this manner? To what end?


I'm a very loyal Apple customer, but if they turned off all third-party apps, I'd switch to Android right away. Just flat-out.


It looks like someone is grudge-downvoting all your comments no matter what you say.

I just want to add that I'm an Apple user and developer and I agree with you.

There have been past stories right here, when HN flip-flopped between taking a suspended developer's side and then Apple's after it turned out that the dev was not being fully honest. Lemme dig that link up.

I love Rambo (the dev) and the information he provides but he clearly violated the NDA. I wonder how the pitchforkers here would handle it if someone violated their company's NDA.

I'm also glad that big companies are under constant scrutiny so they can't bully smaller devs who don't have a voice as loud as Rambo's. In this case though, I don't think Rambo was bullied.


> It looks like someone is grudge-downvoting all your comments no matter what you say.

Welcome to the Internet! :)

> I love Rambo (the dev) and the information he provides but he clearly violated the NDA. I wonder how the pitchforkers here would handle it if someone violated their company's NDA.

Yeah see, I don't know this person from a hole in the wall, so I have no attachment and that's kind of how you have to approach these things. I've seen this song and dance so many times when someone who has social pull in a given community suffers a blow. It's not fun to swing the hammer (or at least it never was for me) but someone has to.


Because it is in their long term interest - seeing the way Apple and Google treat developers has stopped me, at the very least, from putting time into learning their ecosystems and choosing it for a side project. It may be true that there are plenty of people who will replace me, but the aggregate effect can eventually hurt their marketplaces.


Do you really think they care if Joe Random doesn’t develop for their platform? They care about the big companies like Microsoft, Adobe, etc developing for it.

Big companies don’t take a moral stand when it comes to what platform to target. It’s all about where the money is.

Companies don’t make decisions for petty reasons. There is a reason that Google, Amazon and Microsoft develop for iOS even while they compete against Apple.


Your hypothesis comes up against the App Store breaking records each year and making tons of money for those who participate. It's the most profitable mobile store by a huge margin, and it's not as if these policies are new, this has been more or less the environment it's operated in since it opened.


Ethics and economics rarely agree.

Slavery was also profitable for slave-owners. Fascism was also profitable for the willing corporate partners of the state. The argumentam ad pecuniam is valid only for the accountants, not for policy-makers.


Really slavery? What next comparing developing for a mobile platform to Nazism?


Literally my next sentence after the slavery one. Finding counterexamples to the "profitable == okay" argument is really, really easy.


Not all those who participate. The vast (overwhelming) majority of app developers don't make a dime from it. A tiny, tiny minority make some side cash from it. A vanishingly small set of maybe a few hundred people maybe earn enough from it to make a living doing it (not developing apps for other people, but developing their own app products).


I absolutely see where you’re coming from here. But to me, the answer is, “because that is what is required for a civilized society to function”.

It is not as if Apple has given developers this platform to create and sell software out of the goodness of their own hearts; the App Store is wildly profitable for them. What is being asked for here (in the comments, not in the blog post that was linked to) is nothing more than some common courtesy.


How about not being sociopaths and providing goodwill to their developers who fill their App Store with products customers use? I mean they aren't Google. :)


Apple rakes 30 cents off of every dollar spent In the App Store. Their end totals billions of dollars a month. They absolutely could do this “at scale”.


Actually you're right, it is possible, but it's also not remotely worth it. I've been working with online communities for decades, and every person who hasn't done so has wanted to provide reasons, to provide explanations, and I will tell you in exactly every single interaction I've had when someone's account on whatever platform had to be terminated, that all they do is argue.

I didn't do that. It wasn't that bad. But I didn't mean it. But this wording. But that rule is unfair. On and on and on. And yeah, once in a blue fucking moon, we get someone who understands they messed up, knows why, and wants us to bend the rules just for them this one time because they super super promise they won't do it again. NO.


You're totally mischaracterizing the relationship between Apple and the community.

The Apple app store isn't free. I've paid thousands of dollars to Apple for Apple products. They brand themselves as a premium outlet. It's not just some free web service or ad driven where you can leave and go to some other community with no cost.

They're being paid, a lot of money. Being able to talk to a human being is not a big ask; it's perfectly reasonable and they can afford it. The Apple store has tons of retail employees who are willing to spend half an hour addressing the concerns of any customer (and retail customers can be the worst), they should be able to do the same for the app store as well.


Moderating an app marketplace is not the same as moderating an online community. When you start applying the same strategies that you would for an online community to a business owned marketplace, you end up with consumer unfriendly practices.

When you rule by fist and swathing generalizations in an app marketplace, developers (and their incomes) become casualties.

The stakes are a little bit higher than being banned from an internet website. Business owners should be held to a higher standard than online community moderators.


It's different to be sure, but there are a LOT of parallels. Pretty much every instance where you have a given entity providing a platform you'll run into these kinds of issues, because rules exist, are enforced, and inevitably in that subgroup you'll have people who believe they were enforced wrong.

And sometimes they're right, but it's such a vanishingly small number that you'd be forgiven for mistaking it as a rounding error.

> When you rule by fist and swathing generalizations in an app marketplace, developers (and their incomes) become casualties.

And what's the alternative?


Is it a vanishingly small number or is it one that you can't honestly track because you're not actually investigating on a per case basis?

The alternative is to... maybe not be super unfriendly and unhelpful when your account gets terminated? Maybe issue a warning first stating when and how you're violating a rule so you have a chance to correct it?


> Is it a vanishingly small number or is it one that you can't honestly track because you're not actually investigating on a per case basis?

The problem is this data is not tracked. Internally, an organization would say: Moderation was performed > Moderation was Investigated > $outcome, being either: Correct/Incorrect. But because of the he said/she said factor, if it was wrong, the person is reinstated, and they wouldn't be complaining about it. If it wasn't, that person would then, as is the case of the OP, be posting on their own blog or whatever complaining about it. The point being: those complaining about being kicked out are a self-selected group of people who were kicked out who believe Apple was incorrect in their decision. The others aren't talking about it because it's already resolved for them.

Who's right? Who knows. Even the GP comment we're all replying to conveys information, relevant, that the poster of the blog post decided to omit from their recounting of the events. Information which would prove Apple's actions correct. I don't know if Apple was right to ban him, but the fact that the first reply makes mention of documented instances of the developer breaking the ToS is interesting, since said developer made no mention of it themselves. It certainly dings their credibility as far as I'm concerned.

> The alternative is to... maybe not be super unfriendly and unhelpful when your account gets terminated? Maybe issue a warning first stating when and how you're violating a rule so you have a chance to correct it?

You do. Failing an app review, for example, does not lead to account termination. You're given explicit notes on what's wrong with the app, what you're doing that Apple doesn't like, and the only "consequence" of that is that your new code doesn't go live yet. You're given exactly that: time to fix it.

In the case of the GP though, if we assume this is correct and this person was using their developer access to publish information about upcoming Apple products ahead of their release curve, which is indeed against the ToS, then there's no way to have them "fix" that. They're abusing their privileged access in a way Apple doesn't want. Therefore, revoking that access is the logical next step.

Basically my thinking is this: If you agree to be bound by terms of use, and then do one of the things explicitly disallowed in those terms of use, you forfeit your right to whatever agreeing to those terms of use enabled you to do: in this case, developer account access.


But in how many cases is there no actual wrongdoing/misuse/rulebreaking, but an internal mistake, blind application of filtering that catches someone inadvertently, or a vindictive employee cutting someone off for <reasons>, and no one can tell the difference because of that no transparency?

I get the little guy means nothing, so why bother, but some level of "Yep, that was a goof, you're back, sorry" would go a long way.


Try telling them before it is terminated.

Get back to us with outcomes.


[flagged]


> I have no doubt you have been tricked by a multibillion dollar company to moderate their site in your free time for 0 compensation.

Wrong. Haven't in years. Gave it up because it's thankless work.

> And it doesn't surprise anyone here than you don't work with the community, you just enforce the rules as strictly as you possibly can.

You don't know a thing about where I worked or the rules I enforced. You're swinging blindly in an attempt to bruise my ego. It will not work.

> I'm sorry your life has divulged into trying to flex the insignificant "power" you unknowingly sacrificed your free time for on any mere user who dare break an online community rule around THE FussyZeus.

I don't regret a thing. It wasn't about being above other people, it was about making sure the community at large had the best experience possible because every dingle who came along and thought the rules didn't apply to them harmed that experience.

I enjoyed the communities I moderated. I still do, though I don't moderate anymore. This attitude is precisely why I quit after decades of doing it. Everyone wants moderation but nobody wants moderators. Everybody wants content policed, controlled, and curated but everybody hates the people who do it. Everyone wants the community rules enforced but not against them, their friends, or the people they like in the community.

I did it for a long time, and if my feedback is to believed, I did a damn good job. But I never once got a thank you until I announced I was leaving. Every day I worked through an inbox full of abuse, insults, mud slinging, questioning of my masculinity, my sexual orientation, my race, my gender, much like what you've done right here: dismissing me as some loser who has nothing better to do, who is powerless and so sought out a role that gave me power.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.


I think people are a little frustrated with your replies in this thread because it seems like you're pushing back hard against even relatively mild criticisms of Apple's behavior like "they should at least be clear about the reasons for the suspension." Assuming Rambo's describing what's happened here correctly, Apple isn't even being clear about whether the account is suspended at all, they're just saying "we'll look into it and get back to you," and then failing to do so.

When you had to take a moderation action against someone, you didn't just lock them out of their account with no explanation as to why and ignore any request for clarification, right?


> When you had to take a moderation action against someone, you didn't just lock them out of their account with no explanation as to why and ignore any request for clarification, right?

We did that all the time, for the reasons I've outlined above. If I consider all the years I spent working on this sort of stuff, I could count on two hands the number of people who, when confronted with clear and unambiguous proof that they had broken rules, simply owned it and left it at that. And I was never policing something even remotely approaching something the size of the Apple developer community.

Yes, I could've explained it to each other person. I could've exchanged a number of emails back and forth, trying to make them understand. But I come back to the simple problem that 99% of people will never interact with moderation staff of any kind, because they follow rules. They don't bend them, they don't look for loopholes, they don't push envelopes. They're fine. We'll never talk. That 1% however, we talk all the time because they're constantly pushing buttons, trying wording, looking for exceptions, looking for ways to get around things.

Why? I don't know. It seems to be just a thing humans like doing. And after you've entered your roughly 500th conversation with someone who knows they got busted and doesn't want to own up to it, or wants it excused, or wants to plead ignorance or whatever, it just all starts to sound the same. The same excuses, the same pleas, the same insults.

I was always open to check something out that another mod had done. Review is never a bad thing, and sure, we reversed a few. And other mods I'm sure reviewed me all the time, too. But again, the vast, vast majority of situations were just people who broke rules they disagreed with. And once we verify that, you go in the bin. Further discussion is not warranted.


I didn't suggest you had to "exchange a number of emails back and forth"; I suppose I've never been in any community that I'm aware of where users were banned without even a simple "You were banned because [fill in reason]" message. I haven't moderated any community like that before, either, and I've been a moderator in several communities over the past few years. (To clarify, by "few years" I mean "about twenty.")

In any case, we're not talking about a community forum, we're talking about an account that's necessary for Rambo's business. I suppose you may sincerely believe that it would be absolutely fine if your employer or your bank or the sole source of a component that you need for a business suddenly stopped doing business with you and didn't bother to ever explain why. But I hope you understand why a lot of us think that's maybe not the best possible approach.


Sure, maybe everyone is an ungrateful SOB who doesn't appreciate you. Or, maybe you personally are a very unpleasant person to have in any position of power, and that's why moderation was so very unpleasant for you that you quit. I don't need to know much about you to know which alternative is more likely.


This is impossible at scale and a waste of a companies' time. Apple doesn't care if your account is reinstated. Odds are (just like the author here) you know exactly why your account is suspended. If you honestly don't, then you didn't do your due diligence in signing up.

The problem is that some of these are getting to be impactful enough that it's starting to look socially useful to give accused persons some of the same protections as we've learned the real legal system needs.


> Apple doesn't care if your account is reinstated.

But that's the problem. These people who don't agree with the rules? They have the capacity to vote, to not develop applications for the App Store, not buy them from others and publish accounts to try to move public opinion and encourage others to do the same. That's what they're doing right now.

You're saying if they don't like the rules they should do what? Shut up and do nothing? That doesn't effect change. So instead they raise Cain and do what they can to put pressure on Apple and their reputation in order to bring about a change in policy.

Telling dissenters to eat sand because their opponent is bigger than them is not going to convince anybody that Apple is right. It does more to convince people that Apple is problematic.


You’re downplaying the scenario where you are banned, legitimately do not know why, and have good intentions. All moderation and enforcement systems will have false positives. Is there any evidence or reason to believe Apple’s false positive rate is infinitesimal, as you put it? Apple does not publish this information.


They can't publish information they don't have. If every investigation is stonewalled, there's no way to find the false positives.


> This is impossible at scale and a waste of a companies' time.

It's not "impossible." It might be difficult, but good customer service always is. I'm not sure why I should take Apple's side just because providing decent service for a fabulously profitable global corporation can be tricky.


>Odds are (just like the author here) you know exactly why your account is suspended. If you honestly don't, then you didn't do your due diligence in signing up.

as someone who has been a victim of automated bans and account deactivation multiple times on multiple platforms, I view this statement as factually incorrect.

>Nobody's app idea is so fucking star spangled awesome as to make them above the rules.

Except, historically, any apps made by FAANG.

I'm never in defense of actions where the victim is entirely out of the loop with regards to corrections they could possibly make in order to comply with whatever rules need to be complied with.


Lots of apps are above the rules. Facebook was secretly recording you with the camera! Is their app going to be removed from the store until fixed? Perhaps Apple would ban them for such sneaky tactics? Ha ha ha. You have more chance of USA getting sanctions for invading Iraq.


Some moderators do answer. And some of those conversations end well too.

This is by no means universal.


Or maybe it is because if they don't disclose the reason, you will never be able to rebut it and defend yourself. They will never lose, unless you are someone important and can have repercussions on social media.


with regards to the App Store being the only way to get apps on iOS

The App Store is the only Apple supported way to release apps, there are unsupported third party app stores as well. Lack of transparency is not good, but I'm not sure what the issue is with there being only one officially supported way to download apps.

It is Apple's product and software, they are selling the "Apple Experience" as much as the hardware. Having a single store with strict guidelines and QC helps to ensure the most consistent experience.

If you only care about using the hardware how you see fit you can JailBreak and get access to almost anything. You take the same risks you would if there were other, easier to access, unsupported ways to download unmoderated apps.


Apple would very much like that there was no way to jailbreak your device. It's not like they've purposefully left an "out" to install unauthorized software.


As someone who owns an iPhone and recommends iPhones to older family members with a wide spectrum of computer literacy, I'm very glad about that.

If you want freedom buy an Android.


There are always reasons that companies want to keep their monopolies. But the fact that "Apple Experience" is something important to Apple should not be the end of discussion. The negative aspects should be evaluated as well.


I'm not saying I am in favor of how locked down iOS is currently, but you have to admit it does create the safest mobile environment especially for less technical people.

Apple is selling a product in which they have not decided to include a way to easily download unsupported Apps. I do not think it is the government's role to tell Apple they have to allow a easy way for users to install Apps from different channels.


It is very much the role of the government to watch monopolies and act if necessary. Even if that means passing arbitrary restrictions on their business practices.

Surely not all conceivable restrictions would be good, but some (like GDPR) are clearly net positives.


The question is whether or not Apple's control over iOS counts as a monopoly for this purpose -- do you look at iOS products as their own self-contained market, or do you look at them as "the mobile device market" that includes Android (and, at least on tablets, Windows and ChromeOS)? You can make an argument for that either way.

(Personally, I wouldn't be heartbroken if Apple was forced to allow apps to be installed outside the App Store and to not require all in-app purchases to go through them -- I think that would actually end up being healthier for the platform in the long run, especially if they're serious about positioning it as a general purpose computing platform rather than an "application console" -- but I'm not at all sure American antitrust regulators will see it that way.)


One might argue that forcing you to use their app store constitutes illegal tying. The iPhone could easily be made to run apps from competing stores (as is possible with Android). Don't think about competitors that do exist on other platforms (like Play Store), but instead think of competitors that were never allowed to exist on iOS.


It's not an implausible argument! It's already been successfully argued that "jailbreaking" is legal. I just don't know how easy the argument would be to make, and what the counterarguments would be; it's hard to think of any very good precedent for this. (Nintendo's old "lockout chips" are the closest I can think of, maybe?)


Jailbreaking is legal because you purchased the hardware and can use it as you please. This is very different from compelling companies to develop and support channels for installing third party software.


Well, that's the other side of the argument, right? Apple has developed most or all of the technical underpinnings for this already, as demonstrated by the ability to do enterprise provisioning and install apps through TestFlight. It wouldn't require an amazing engineering feat for them to bring a version of Gatekeeper to iOS that let you install signed applications from anywhere, not just their app store -- the plumbing is basically already in place. The question is really whether there's a legal case for that.

While I've generally come down more on your side of that argument in the past, I'm not longer quite so sure; Apple's control over the iOS app ecosystem as things are now has no precedent in the history of computing I'm aware of, and I could certainly see a plausible case made that this control does ultimately harm consumers by making it effectively impossible to install non-Apple-sanctioned software on iOS devices. Both "if you didn't want to accept that you shouldn't have bought an iOS device" and "but you can technically jailbreak the device if you find a way Apple hasn't cut off yet" are plausible defenses, too, but neither one seems to me like a legal slam-dunk.


I do not think you can say Apple has a monopoly over iOS as it is a product not a market. Would be equivalent to saying Tesla has a monopoly over Tesla infotainment software, ignoring that they are only a small part of the larger automobile market.

Looking at the overall phone market Apple has around 50% share in the US but only 20% globally. This is not high enough to constitute a monopoly especially when there are clearly competitors in the space.


> I do not think you can say Apple has a monopoly over iOS as it is a product not a market. Would be equivalent to saying Tesla has a monopoly over Tesla infotainment software

That is an absurd comparison, Apple is one of a duopoly, there are only two mobile app marketplaces, thus, iOS is a market.


Tesla has a larger share of the electric car market in the US than Apple has of the mobile phone market. Claiming that Apple has a monopoly over the App Store is just as unreasonable as claiming Tesla has a monopoly over the Apps installed on their cars.

The App Store is a feature of iOS devices, if Apple decided they no longer wanted an App Store they could remove it entirely. It is not reasonable to require Hardware and Software vendors to support third party Applications to run on their systems. Vendors that do support this functionality sell it as a feature of their product, but this should not be a expectation.


> Tesla has a larger share of the electric car market in the US than Apple has of the mobile phone market.

You are comparing a tiny subset of the car market with the entire smartphone market. A more proportional comparison would be electric-car market vs feature-phone market.

> The App Store is a feature of iOS devices, if Apple decided they no longer wanted an App Store they could remove it entirely.

No, they couldn't, it would kill the iPhone... Removing apps from a tesla? maybe it would make some people unhappy, but it still functions as a car, as far as a car is concerned it is ancillary.

Availability of apps, programs etc beyond the vendors creations are a critical function to any computer platform that is not single use - Isn't this obvious? Do you really think the value of iPhones to the majority of it's users are merely as a more advanced feature phone?


The primary reason for the single Apple supported AppStore is platform control and by that I mean they can control quality, security, content (remember Steve Jobs said he wasn't making a product for people to stream PORN on) and the type of apps that are permitted. This is a big part of the brand.


> The App Store is the only Apple supported way to release apps, there are unsupported third party app stores as well.

On iOS, these are nothing more than hacks.


Right, third party app stores are not officially supported and for good reason. I am not sure what the alternative is, create a unmoderated free for all app store? That goes pretty heavily against the Apple ecosystem's philosophy and would make it easy for people to download damaging apps which Apple would then get blamed for because they added an official channel for installing them.


> and would make it easy for people to download damaging apps which Apple would then get blamed for because they added an official channel for installing them.

Do Android users blame Google or the phone manufacturer when they download a damaging app?


Yes they do, the most recent example is apps using a vulnerability to steal images. Many people are blaming Google and Samsung for not addressing this problem sooner and of course having a faulty permissions system that allowed this in the first place. Samsung is frequently attacked for security issues since they take so long to push out updates. Apple avoids these problems entirely by sandboxing apps and thoroughly reviewing functionality before accepting. It is very rare to hear about security issues for iOS yet we hear about a new one for Android monthly.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2019/11/19/google-c...


> It is very rare to hear about security issues for iOS yet we hear about a new one for Android monthly.

This exploit existed in the wild for iOS for years[1], and all a user had to do is visit a website for their device to be exploited.

There are plenty of other recent exploits found in the wild for iOS[2][3]. This implant is undetectable and uploaded iOS users' photos and location data to the attackers[4].

All four of these iOS exploits were found in the same month.

[1] https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2019/08/jsc-exploits....

[2] https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2019/08/in-wild-ios-e...

[3] https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2019/08/in-wild-ios-e...

[4] https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.com/2019/08/implant-teard...


Not having adequate permissions or timely updates isn't the same as being mad at Google because they manually enabled a malicious app.


The alternative has been functional for decades.

You have a single "store" interface with user configurable channels which users can add at their own risk.

If you don't make it trivial for an attacker to induce a user to configure such a channel you avoid most bad outcomes for stupid people. For example you shouldn't be able to click a link and prompt the user as such prompts do not work.

Personally I would expect

- A setting in configuration menus to enable 3rd party channels

- explicitly entering the channel data

- a white list of known safe channels run by good actors even if not reviewed

- a black list of known bad channels that can't be enabled


It’s always trivial for an ‘attacker’ to induce a user to configure a bad channel.

Those ‘attackers’ will be the same media outlets who encouraged people to Jailbreak in the early days, or Google and Facebook using their respective monopolies to blanket advertise.


> Unmoderated free for all app store

I think we should call it Android. Given that, and a lack of a closed ecosystem, is why Android is hacked as much as it is, which is why I would never get rid of my iPhone in favor of an Android device - well, that and the lesser quality hardware, of course. But I think you see my point.


> well, that and the lesser quality hardware, of course.

As an Apple user, I don't say this very often, but you're seriously drinking the Kool-Aid here. Neither mobile OS has a significant advantage in hardware quality at the high end.


Yeah, this might have been true several years ago but these days you can get Androids with the same specs as iPhones at half the price.


That’s just not true. Apple actively works to prevent jailbreaks and there are often multi-year periods where no publicly released jailbreak exists for particular phones. When one does appear, Apple patches it as quickly as possible—for good reason I should add because jailbreaks work by exploiting security vulnerabilities.


> I strongly support some government action to change the current state of affairs with regards to the App Store being the only way to get apps on iOS

A very slippery slope that will not end well for anyone, i.e. Apple, end users, and developers included. This is something I wouldn't advocate for personally and I'm not an Apple fanboi. I don't particularly care for the closed ecosystem but it does create security advantages and Apple is making efforts to protect users more so than greedy Corporate interests when it comes to data and privacy rights.

My $0.02

*edit: formatting of quoted text.


> A very slippery slope that will not end well for anyone,

An anti-trust case against an established monopoly is a slippery slope? I'm having trouble understanding the fear here.

> I don't particularly care for the closed ecosystem but it does create security advantages

Anyone can claim "security advantages" from their walled garden, there's nothing particular about their implementation that grants them any additional security. Further, there are plenty of instances where Apple has had to remove malware and violating apps well _after_ they had been released to the store so it's not entirely clear what the true advantage for the consumer is here.

> and Apple is making efforts to protect users more so than greedy Corporate interests when it comes to data and privacy rights.

Do you believe this is the only model? Why should the manufacturer of my computer have any reason to be "protecting my privacy." Why are they involved in that discussion in the first place?


> Anyone can claim "security advantages" from their walled garden, there's nothing particular about their implementation that grants them any additional security.

This is just not true. Apple does tons of stuff to keep users protected from third-party software distributed through their app store.

Sometimes those things are frustrating and get in the way of app developers, like me. But I see why they are doing them, and I see THAT they are doing them, and I am, in the end, happy they do. Because of that, the computing platform I use that I feel is the most secure is by far iOS. I can trust it far further than I can any desktop system on the market today.


There is no established monopoly.


Im not clear what security advantage is offered to anyone by the oligopoly that is mobile app stores right now. To me it actually suggests iOS must be incredibly insecure if their security is so reliant on the Apple approval system. Can you even imagine where node.js would be if only microsoft could approve modules?


Can you be concrete about what security vulnerabilities you think it would introduce if Apple were forced to deal fairly with people? I don't think anybody's advocating for Apple to put viruses on the App Store.


Being opaque gives them power. It makes people afraid of what might get them banned so they start self censoring stuff that's not even in the official rules.


Apple is banning journalists from submitting apps to the App Store because they don't like the coverage they're getting?

That is worrying.


That's not what's happening. Rambo is known for reverse engineering Apple beta's and pulling information regarding unreleased products and then publishing that info via 9to5mac. As many other people in this thread have mentioned, it likely violates the terms of the Apple Developer Agreement.


That does not seem to show that this is not happening but rather explains how it happens.

They can punish him for unfavorable coverage by pointing at the Apple Developer Agreement.


How does the user benefit from not being able to install Rambo's apps?


Sarcasm aside, Apple benefits from having an effective way to retaliate against Rambo; signing up for a developer account and using it was, sadly, an imprudent move that gave Apple leverage against him.

There should be some form of legal protection, for example limiting company control of app stores (which would be a basic anti-monopoly measure).


What does this have to do with what's happening? According to the post Rambo published, his apps are still available on the App Store.


> What does this have to do with what's happening?

Because the market is punished due to Apple's opaque policies and politics.

Lack of competition and options hurts the entire market.


Obviously false. This guy is clearly profiting from breaking the developer agreement, and then lies about it in the OP.


This 100%. Government needs to get involved. Apple is clearly using its monopolistic power as shield against any kind of accountability. Devs have absolutely no recourse against this monopoly.


> Government needs to get involved.

I don't see how this would improve the situation, and it would most likely make it worse.

> Devs have absolutely no recourse against this monopoly.

Devs have no right to demand that Apple let them into their ecosystem. It belongs to Apple. The ultimate dev recourse is not to go complaining to the government but to build their own ecosystem that out-competes Apple's. Good luck.


Out compete Apple? You cant be serious. Unless you have a phone that uses quantum entanglement to communicate at FTL no one is out competing Apple anytime soon.


> Out compete Apple? You cant be serious.

And if that's the answer, then devs who don't like how Apple manages their ecosystem should simply go find some other kind of coding to do.


Do you actually think it's an acceptable state of affairs for a company to be able to unilaterally put a non-competing and unrelated company out of business on a whim?

Apple isn't a traditional distribution channel. If FedEx bans me, I can switch to UPS (or USPS, or ...); if Apple bans me, for all practical purposes I can't compete in the mobile space in the US anymore.


> Do you actually think it's an acceptable state of affairs for a company to be able to unilaterally put a non-competing and unrelated company out of business on a whim?

What "non-competing and unrelated company" are we talking about?

If a third-party dev company is depending on Apple's ecosystem for their business, they're not "unrelated". They've made a business choice that has consequences: one of them is that their business is now at the mercy of Apple's app review process. But they knew that going in and chose to take the risk anyway. Not all choices end up well.

> if Apple bans me, for all practical purposes I can't compete in the mobile space in the US anymore.

That's because you're just one person. Samsung, LG, and other phone manufacturers compete with Apple in the mobile space just fine.


You say they knowingly chose to take a risk, but I'm arguing that in many cases they won't have had a choice. At present, there is functionality that you simply cannot provide without a native app. If your competitor chooses to provide that functionality and you don't, your business will no longer be viable. In many cases, a business simply cannot choose to ignore a significant percentage of their potential user base.

Re: Samsung, LG, etc. I'm not referring to phone manufacturers, I'm referring to businesses which must provide mobile device integration for their (otherwise unrelated) products and services. Examples include banks, game publishers, remote product controllers (for you car, or drone, or IoT light fixture, or ...), etc. "Only available on Android" generally isn't going to be viable - customers expect you to work with their (mainstream) device.


> in many cases they won't have had a choice

In the sense that they either do what Apple says they can, or they don't get to play in Apple's sandbox, yes, of course. That's because Apple owns the sandbox and therefore gets to make the rules for everyone that plays in it. And everybody who wants to build Apple apps knows that going in.

> there is functionality that you simply cannot provide without a native app. If your competitor chooses to provide that functionality and you don't, your business will no longer be viable.

Yep. And everyone who builds Apple apps knows that up front.

> 'm referring to businesses which must provide mobile device integration for their (otherwise unrelated) products and services.

"Must" in the sense that they chose to try to build a business that requires it, yes. But nothing forced them to choose that business.

Basically, your argument is "Apple should allow other businesses to use their infrastructure, which they have spent many years and many billions of dollars building, however those other businesses want". That's unrealistic; no business in the history of the world has done that with something they own.

In some cases (e.g., banks, which you mention), Apple isn't going to kick them off the app store; if there is an issue with CapitalOne's app, for example, someone at CapitalOne will talk to someone at Apple and they will figure something out. Apple are not fools; they know everyone does banking online and their users aren't going to accept their bank's app not working. But that's because the banks are also large businesses and Apple can't just ignore them. It's not because Apple is under any requirement to be nice.


> your argument is "Apple should allow other businesses to use their infrastructure, which they have spent many years and many billions of dollars building, however those other businesses want"

No. My argument is that companies which choose to place themselves as sole gatekeepers of their devices, and which also have such significant market share, should be subject to some minimal regulation that includes neutrality, oversight, and transparency requirements (at minimum).

> no business in the history of the world has done that with something they own

This claim is factually incorrect. Rail companies (in the US and Europe), telecoms, electric, gas, and other utilities all immediately come to mind. In most of the western world (but notably not the US), ISPs are subject to open access laws; these have been very successful.

> that's because the banks are also large businesses and Apple can't just ignore them. It's not because Apple is under any requirement to be nice.

I understand there is not currently any legal requirement; I'm arguing that we need one.


> companies which choose to place themselves as sole gatekeepers of their devices

Are being "sole gatekeepers" of devices they manufacture and sell. Why shouldn't they be?

> Rail companies (in the US and Europe), telecoms, electric, gas, and other utilities all immediately come to mind.

All of whom have government granted monopolies, so they do not "own" the things they manage the way Apple owns its infrastructure. And of course the same applies to ISPs, as I have pointed out multiple times now. You are completely ignoring this crucial fact.


Is it a "whim" for Apple to act in accordance with their stated policy?


It might or might not be, but that misses my point.

The issue isn't (necessarily) that Apple banned a particular account for a particular reason. The issue is that Apple (or Google) banning an account could easily render a given company (in an unrelated market segment) non-competitive overnight. That company would effectively have no recourse, and there is no alternative provider for them to switch to. I do not think that's a generally desirable state of affairs.

A reasonable analogy (in the US) would be an ISP banning a particular website. If the ISP were large enough (ex Comcast or Verizon), any web based US business banned in this manner would effectively become non-viable on the spot.

Tech companies should not be allowed to unilaterally control our economy in this manner. (This is all in addition to the existing consumer protection concerns.)


> A reasonable analogy (in the US) would be an ISP banning a particular website.

This analogy is flawed. Apple cannot "ban" people from the Internet. It can only choose to prohibit certain app developers from using its app store. But app developers can still reach customers in other ways. Choosing to base your business on Apple allowing you to use its app store is a business decision that has known risks up front. If you choose to do it, the risk is on you.

An ISP ban of a website means that website is literally off the Internet as far as all of that ISP's users are concerned. The website is not trying to use something the ISP owns; the ISP does not own the Internet (whereas Apple does own its app store). The website has no business relationship with the ISP the way app devs do with Apple. Also, the ISP's monopoly of its customer's Internet access is not a product of market forces the way Apple's position in the mobile app space is; the ISPs have monopolies granted by governments.

A better analogy to Apple would be a website's hosting company deciding not to host them any more based on the content of the website. The business running the site, by choosing to have a third party hosting company (instead of just buying their own servers and their own direct connection to the Internet), has taken a business risk; if the risk materializes, they have to make a business decision to either switch to an alternate method of hosting or shut down. But they knew that risk up front when they chose to do business with that hosting company.


I disagree with essentially your entire post.

My (current) point isn't about Apple banning individual consumers, but rather about Apple (or Google) banning companies from distributing via their infrastructure. From the perspective of the affected company, this is in fact roughly equivalent to an ISP blocking access to their website.

> But app developers can still reach customers in other ways.

Not in a commercially viable manner, at least in the US. That's my current view anyway, and you haven't (yet) convinced me that it's flawed.

> An ISP ban of a website means that website is literally off the Internet as far as all of that ISP's users are concerned.

And by analogy, an Apple ban of a publisher means that their app is literally blocked as far as all Apple device users are concerned. My original analogy holds.

> The website has no business relationship with the ISP the way app devs do with Apple.

Devs don't necessarily want to have a relationship with Apple, they're forced to in order to maintain a viable company (in some market segments, in the US). It is precisely this lack of choice that necessitates neutrality regulations of some sort. In fact, if an ISP were to charge website owners in order to reach their customers it would match the Apple app store model almost perfectly.

(Resident : User) :: (House : Device) :: (ISP : Apple) :: (Website : App) :: (DNS Record : Dev Account)

Your proposed hosting analogy is fatally flawed because an app developer can't switch distributors and still reach the (very significant, in the US) Apple device user subset. Apple is akin to an ISP, and blocking a developer account is equivalent to blocking any and all web properties owned by a particular individual.

It doesn't matter who "owns" the internet or a particular app store, or how the current state of affairs came to be. Any company possessing such unilateral control over effectively unrelated segments of the market is a completely unacceptable situation and needs to be remedied by lawmakers.


> Any company possessing such unilateral control over effectively unrelated segments of the market

Um, what? How is "mobile app developers" an unrelated segment of the market from "mobile phone manufacturers"?

> is a completely unacceptable situation and needs to be remedied by lawmakers.

No, remedy by lawmakers is exactly what you do not want. Basically, the situation is that a bunch of businesses made bad business decisions--they built businesses that were critically dependent on Apple being nice to them, and Apple wasn't. Businesses that make bad business decisions are supposed to fail; getting lawmakers to shield them from failing is how you get bad businesses and badly served customers.

The correct response for people who want to develop Apple apps and can't because Apple has banned them is to either build their own infrastructure to compete with Apple's, as I said upthread, or to find some other line of business.


I think my position can be succinctly summarized as mobile devices having become essential infrastructure. Access to essential infrastructure ought to be neutral and any regulation surrounding it transparent, regardless of who manufactured it; that's all I'm really arguing here.

My impression is that your position is one of preventing over regulation and preserving a free marketplace. I generally agree, but think that it's essential to maintain the stability and openness of the market by preventing large players from abusing their market dominance. I can't see how allowing Apple (or anyone else) to install themselves as sole gatekeeper of their very large service and then make arbitrary and opaque decisions about who gets to participate in it is in any way a good idea. It seems easily abused and detrimental to the market as a whole - consumers and smaller businesses alike.

Responses to various points from both your comments below, but I suspect any differences in the above is likely to lead to differences in the below being largely irrelevant to each of us.

Re unrelated market segments: I'm pointing out that, for example, Tesla's car app is expected by consumers to work with both Android and iOS. I don't think anyone is arguing that Tesla and Apple are in competition (or even remotely related) though. It seems silly to me to suggest that if Apple terminated business with Tesla that Tesla should simply roll their own infrastructure and expect consumers to switch away from iOS. That's an absolutely enormous barrier to entry, and easily abused. DJI provides an app for their drones (https://www.dji.com/goapp). Should it really be legal for Apple to decide to remove that from their app store without some sort of justification? Shouldn't the barrier to doing so be reasonably high (ex intentional abuse, illegal behavior, etc)? Is it reasonable if someone purchases a device, but later the associated app is removed by Apple and they lose functionality that they paid for?

Re government regulation: In fact it is exactly what I do want. I want general open access, neutrality, and transparency laws that apply to both ISPs and closed marketplaces. I'd also like a law requiring that users be allowed to configure roots of trust in _all cases_ for devices that they legally own, but I'm not holding out hope for that one.

Re my ISP analogy not holding: Sure, Apple can't force consumers to purchase their devices. Neither can an ISP force you to purchase a house in a particular area. So what? It doesn't follow that either of them should be permitted to arbitrarily regulate how I engage with a third party. This is why I compared a mobile device to a house and a user to a resident in my analogy - in both cases it is costly and difficult for most consumers to change who they do business with.

Re Apple not caring what you or I think because we're small, they built the infra, they own the infra, they were upfront with their ToS, etc: I'm arguing that things need to be changed. They ought to be legally required to do business with you unless they can provide documented justification that includes evidence of serious abuse on your part. This is conceptually the same (to me at least) as requiring net neutrality and open access of all ISPs.


> I think my position can be succinctly summarized as mobile devices having become essential infrastructure.

For mobile phone service and mobile internet access, I think this is a reasonable position (though not everyone would agree with it).

But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about a specific infrastructure for distributing mobile apps, which Apple built and which they own. Apple does not prevent anyone from operating a mobile website and having customers connect to it. To argue that Apple's app store should be considered "essential infrastructure" is to argue that access to particular bells and whistles in mobile apps (whichever ones require a native app as opposed to a mobile website to function acceptably) is "essential infrastructure". I don't think that's a valid claim; it is much, much too strong.

> My impression is that your position is one of preventing over regulation and preserving a free marketplace.

My position is what I just said above: that the government should not be brought in to regulate something just because certain app developers aren't being allowed to distribute native apps through Apple's app store. That's not "essential infrastructure".

> I'm pointing out that, for example, Tesla's car app is expected by consumers to work with both Android and iOS.

And Apple is not going to ban Tesla's car app from its app store, because Tesla is a large enough company that Apple can't ignore them.

> It seems silly to me to suggest that if Apple terminated business with Tesla that Tesla should simply roll their own infrastructure and expect consumers to switch away from iOS.

Knowing Elon Musk, I think that's exactly what they would do. (Or, equivalently, they would figure out how to put whatever functionality they needed into a mobile website and build the infrastructure to make it work acceptably.) And I don't see why they couldn't, if they had to. But I also don't see that Apple would try it in the first place; see above.

> It doesn't follow that either of them should be permitted to arbitrarily regulate how I engage with a third party.

When Apple bans an app from the app store, as I've already said, they are not regulating a third party. They are terminating a business relationship between them and the app developer. An ISP does not have a business relationship with a website that they (hypothetically) decide to prevent their users from reaching.

Yes, Apple terminating a business relationship with an app developer affects that app developer's customers. But that's true of any business relationship. If your ISP decided to terminate your Internet service (say because you kept sending child porn in your emails), that would affect everyone who wants to connect with you over the Internet. But the ISP would not be terminating a business relationship with them; it would be terminating a business relationship with you.

You could argue that your ISP should not be allowed to terminate your Internet service because Internet service is now "essential infrastructure"; but, as I noted above, access to Apple's app store is not the same thing.

> They ought to be legally required to do business with you unless they can provide documented justification that includes evidence of serious abuse on your part.

I think having the government do this would do far more harm than good.


> From the perspective of the affected company, this is in fact roughly equivalent to an ISP blocking access to their website.

And here's the inconvenient truth: unless the affected company is large enough to make Apple pay attention, their perspective doesn't matter.

I get that it would be nice if Apple didn't do these things. It would be nice if Apple allowed every indie dev and every small dev company to build their dream app without having to jump through hoops and risk having their business shut down on Apple's whim. But Apple doesn't care what you or I think would be nice. They built their infrastructure and they own it. If they choose to manage it in a manner you don't like, they simply aren't going to care, and you have no right to insist that they care.

> Not in a commercially viable manner, at least in the US. That's my current view anyway, and you haven't (yet) convinced me that it's flawed.

I didn't say "commercially viable". Apple is under no obligation to make sure the business model you would like to have in a perfect world is commercially viable.

> My original analogy holds.

No, it doesn't, because Apple's ban of a publisher is a ban of another business that they have a business relationship with. The ban is basically saying that Apple doesn't want to have a business relationship with them any more. And no business has a right to insist that Apple have a business relationship with them.

If an ISP bans a website, they are "banning" a business that they have no relationship with. More precisely, they are restricting the actions of their customers in a way that impacts a third party (the website) with whom they have no relationship. In a sane world, ISPs would not have monopolies over the last mile Internet connection and so customers who wanted to get to website X and couldn't through one ISP would simply pick another (and ISPs who arbitrarily "banned" websites would end up going out of business because nobody would want to buy that kind of Internet access). But ISPs lobbied the government to get special monopoly privileges, and that means they gave up the right to arbitrarily restrict their customers' Internet access. That's a special circumstance that doesn't apply to other businesses like Apple.

> Devs don't necessarily want to have a relationship with Apple, they're forced to in order to maintain a viable company

No, they're "forced" to because they picked that particular area of business. But nobody forced them to pick that area of business. They chose to, knowing the risks involved. Nobody has a right to insist that their chosen business model must be viable.

> Apple is akin to an ISP

No, it isn't. Apple can't force people to buy its devices. ISPs can force people to get Internet access from them because they have government granted monopolies.


> uses quantum entanglement to communicate at FTL

Quantum entanglement doesn't actually allow you to do that; you can't use it to transmit information FTL.


Google out-competed Apple long ago with Android in terms of marketshare.


So all the android phones I can see are what?


OK, I'll bite.

So in this case, a dev has (we think) broken the ToS of his agreement with Apple by publishing information before launch.

What do you think the government should do about this?


I think ToS that say "We can screw you and you can't do anything about it." need to get ripped up once you reach monopoly status.

At the very least, Apple and Google should have to appoint a "public ombudsman" overseen by the government that handles these kinds of complaints/problems that people can actually contact. And if they don't seem to be handling them very well, they need to get fined increasingly severely until they do.


So the government should create a taxpayer-paid ombudsman, who will accept complaints from developers about tech companies with, say, >20% market share. And that ombudsman will arbitrate between the tech companies and the developers, with the power to impose fines on the tech companies if they think the developer was treated unfairly. OK. That works in other industries, so could work here.

But in this case, where the developer (we think) has clearly broken the ToS of the agreement, which was basically "we will provide you with privileged access to information so that you can develop for upcoming products, but please don't share that with the public". What do you think the ombudsman should do?


> But in this case, where the developer (we think) has clearly broken the ToS of the agreement, which was basically "we will provide you with privileged access to information so that you can develop for upcoming products, but please don't share that with the public". What do you think the ombudsman should do?

What you normally do with such a person?

People who break NDAs get punished according to the NDA. You take them to court and you hit them with the correct penalty. Or you do what most normal companies do and simply omit them from anything requiring an NDA in the future.

You don't get to summarily punish them with no notice and no explanation. You don't get to yank their iTunes, iCloud or development account unless that is a specific term of the NDA. You don't get to exert punishments simply because you can.

When you act like that, you are creating a "blacklist" and the law generally takes a dim view of that.

These companies have been operating above the law for far too long because 1) what they provide is "free" so damages are difficult to prove and 2) they are so big that most individuals really can't oppose them.

The only way anyone punishes these companies is if they happen to have a big enough social following to provoke enough negative PR to actually cost the company money.


Another day another case of an HN user not understanding the definition of a “monopoly”.


Please enlighten me. I would love to hear what your explanation of a monopoly is.


A monopoly is not a platform that has less than 50% market share.....


That is not strictly true even in the law.

However, if we define the "market" as "places that you can legally purchase and install iOS device apps from", the App Store is close to 95%+ of the market share.


So can you give any examples in the US or the EU where such a definition has ever been used?

In that case are all of the console makers “monopolies” since they have to approve both digital and physical media distributed on their platform?

Does Apple also have a “monopoly” in the smart speaker market since they control what runs on the HomePod even though they are a distance third to Amazon and Google? What about the “AppleTV”? Should Apple have been forced to open up the 2nd/3rd generation AppleTV to developers?

Do they have a “monopoly” on AirPods since they don’t allow third party smart assistants?


> In that case are all of the console makers “monopolies” since they have to approve both digital and physical media distributed on their platform?

Personally, I would say that they are monopolies. And people are starting to think about them that way because so many games now have an "always online" component. The problem is that even if I own a game disk, that game that I paid money for is suddenly worthless when Sony or Microsoft pull the plug on the online servers.

The issue is stronger with Google and Apple in that smart phones are almost reaching "necessity" level and you can't opt out. You either have Android, iOS or nothing.

We have been here before. Monopoly laws are not some immutable commandments from on high. Monopoly laws were passed in response to specific abuses in rail, steel, coal, etc. We will create new laws to deal with the current crop of abusers.


The laws weren't "changed" to make those monopolies. They were monopolies by the original definition of the law.

And whether you "personally" think they are monopolies. They are in no sense of the word "monopolies" by any definition that has been used by the US or EU.


> The laws weren't "changed" to make those monopolies. They were monopolies by the original definition of the law.

This is not correct. Nothing like the Sherman Act existed prior to it even though there were "anti-competition" rules from common law. The Sherman Act was a product of its times and changed the laws and the way of thinking about monopolies.

Standard Oil was never a "monopoly" according to your definition, and yet was declared to be so by the US Supreme Court in 1911.

Your assertions about "monopoly law" are shallower and more dogmatic than its actual application in the real world.


If that’s the case, that my assertions are shallower than the real world application, where is the real world application of any definition of “monopoly” that the EU or the US has applied to platforms that don’t even have 50% market share?


I have already demonstrated that Standard Oil was broken up in spite of not being a "monopoly" or having more than 50% market share. That is an example--you can look up others.

I have no duty to continue to engage to someone who can't exhibit simple reading comprehension or basic use of Google.


So how does that apply to the mobile phone market almost a century later? Again “words mean things”. Luckily, as I’ll informed as the government is they don’t define “monopoly” the way that random HN poster do. If that were the case they would say that Apple has a “monopoly” on smart assistants that can run on AirPods and they would break up that “monopoly” to.

You really have no idea about the actual regulations do you?

You're just arguing against a strict definition of the word "monopoly, which is utterly besides the point.

Again, the regulations in the EU speak of the term "market dominance", in order to decide whether a case is anti-competitive or not. They do not (as far as I'm aware) mention the word "monopoly", except perhaps in a figurative sense.


Well, if I have “no idea”, please give an example of where “market dominance” was defined as narrowly as you’re trying to define it.

Well I'm not sure what you have been referring to, but there has been this one major tech-related anti-trust case in the EU recently, and it revolved entirely around abuse of market dominance:

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_19_...

The EU website should have all the further answers you need, all the cases, translated into all the languages, and the regulations written down in relatively simple language (you don't need a lawyer to understand). It's really all there:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/doing-busine...

There's even a search engine so you can look up all the cases.


Well, your “examples” was concerning the “market” for search engines where Google is the dominant player. Not some made up market of “search engines you can access by going to google.com”. The same type of “market” you are trying to make up for iOS.

In the EU the rules against anti-competitive behaviour are based on market dominance. Remember that term. That is how Google got fined even if they don't have a strict monopoly.

Even though it's technically incorrect to refer to these situations as "monopoly", that still happens in conversation.

But if you then correct someone for not using the strict meaning of monopoly properly, then really you're just showing that you are unaware of the regulations around anti-competitive behaviour. The actual rules don't mention "monopoly", they are centred all around market dominance.

It should be pretty clear what people mean in this context when they say "monopoly" and it doesn't really help to take that word literally, since all the actual regulations are about market dominance.


Yes and Google has 70%+ mobile phone market share and was dominant in the search engine market. Neither is applicable to Apple.

* But if you then correct someone for not using the strict meaning of monopoly properly, then really you're just showing that you are unaware of the regulations around anti-competitive behaviour. The actual rules don't mention "monopoly", they are centred all around market dominance.*

I guess if I’m “unaware” so is both the EU and the United States since you still have failed to show where either government has defined a monopoly as a minor player nor has either government defined a market as narrowly as you’re trying to. What next? Apple has a monopoly on smart speakers running whatever variant of iOS that the HomePod runs?

What random posters on HN “mean” by monopoly is irrelevant.


If you want a better word, how about 'oligarchy' (iOS/Android).

That said 'monopoly' is essentially a fine word, it captures the essence of the situation.

Monopolists in particular dictate the terms to all their surrounding entities, which is what Apple does.

It's actually a misunderstanding of the nature of monopoly to characterise it as the only 'single provider' of a service, because that technical differentiation doesn't articulate the real nature of what's happening, which is generally an imbalance of power.

A 'responsable regulatory approach' to such things and social media is well past due, the only risk from my perspective is that the powers that be are fools and will either get it entirely wrong, either by over regulating or missing the pointe entirely.


Words Mean Things: The word “monopoly” has a specific legal meaning with various legal remedies. Anytime you are working with any major company there is an “imbalance of power”. That doesn’t mean they have a monopoly.

One of those meanings isn’t “a company is doing something with their platform that I don’t like”.


Not only are they not a monopoly, Apple doesn't even have the highest market share in the mobile space. (It's Samsung.)


Where? [0] says that Apple has 41% to Samsung's 21% in the United States.

[0] https://www.counterpointresearch.com/us-market-smartphone-sh...


In the global market. https://9to5mac.com/2019/08/01/smartphone-market-share/ And my mistake, they're actually third after Samsung and Huawei, now.


That's a red herring because the core of this dispute is the developer ecosystem, not the hardware. The competitor to Apple's ecosystem is Google, not Samsung.


I see. So Apple watches, iPads, and iPhones & other devices owning at least half the US market isn't a monopoly whatsoever? When does one qualify to become a monopoly? Must they own 90% of the market to be considered one?

I wonder what would happen if they kicked Uber of the platform.


> I wonder what would happen if they kicked Uber of the platform.

I would expect that either Uber would find a way for its iPhone users to side-load their app, or Uber would calmly point out to Apple how many users they were likely to lose.


> I see. So Apple watches, iPads, and iPhones & other devices owning at least half the US market

They don't. Not in the US, not in phones[1] or watches[2]. They may have the majority market share in US tablets.

> isn't a monopoly whatsoever?

No, not even if that was true. Monopoly doesn't mean "any company I don't like." You're acting like "Apple isn't a monopoly" means "there's no problems with Apple at all."

Monopoly has a specific meaning. Look it up.

[1] https://www.counterpointresearch.com/us-market-smartphone-sh...

[2] https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/08/15/us-smartwatch-shipm...


Legal definitions change all the time and laws are updated.

Monopoly means whatever the decision of the high court says it means and that is squared with the legislative.

There are no hard and fast rules in litigation or civil law.


> Monopoly means whatever the decision of the high court says it means and that is squared with the legislative.

Monopoly has a very specific definition in US law, in fact. https://definitions.uslegal.com/m/monopoly/ The legislature might conceivably change that definition in the future, but that's not relevant to the law as it stands today, which is what we're talking about. Microsoft came much closer to that definition a few decades ago than Apple does now, and they still managed to avoid serious consequences.

> There are no hard and fast rules in litigation or civil law.

There are quite a lot of hard and fast rules to be found in every area of the law. It's kind of a fundamental property of the law.


Even those hard and fast rules leave a lot of room for interpretation hence why many cases are decided in months and years and not days.

Laws change and are updated all the time.

I stand by my original assertion.

Apple with its App store most certainly is a monopoly/oligarch with unchecked power in the mobile space to destroy entire companies on a whim, companies like Uber would be irreparably damaged for example if removed from Apple’s platform. I believe this fact to be self evident and indisputable - Apple clearly has monopolistic power in this space.


You're pretty mistaken about ownership numbers. Apple isn't a monopoly here. Android has a bigger marketshare in the US and worldwide.


> I strongly support some government action to change the current state of affairs with regards to the App Store being the only way to get apps on iOS.

I couldn't disagree more. IMO governments should be kept separate from business matters as long as those businesses don't pose a threat to the nation. Otherwise, it'd be against the freedom of individuals and companies to involve government agencies into the matter.


I agree with the ideal of minimal regulation. However, everyone is forced to participate in and depend on the local economy. It absolutely must remain functional, stable, and reasonably tolerable to live and do business within.

The problem is that when a company controls a large enough chunk of a given market, their policies have the potential to cause serious harm. Regarding Apple, many of the counter arguments here seem to focus only on the consumer protection aspect of things. The more serious issue IMO is the business aspect - in the US, a company can't produce a viable mobile solution without targeting both Apple's and Google's app stores. For better or worse, these privately controlled app stores have become equivalent to essential public infrastructure from a business perspective.


Even if that's all true, and even if Apple has good reasons to lock his account, why not just tell him the reason? I don't understand why tech companies have this passive aggressive attitude when users violate their rules of witholding information and giving some vague canned responses when asked about what's going on. Just tell him what happened in detail.


This is probably not the reason, but the first thing that comes to my mind is that providing a reason provides substance and reasoning for a response. The 'why' allows an individual to respond with a '...yes, but' and Apple doesn't want to deal with that.


I guess? But they’re not dealing with it now either, so I’m not sure it would be any different?


Because that’s opsec 101. If you tell a bad actor how you caught them, you’re just telling them how to do better (sneakier) next time.


Here's an idea for a term for falling victim to this kind of thing: Kafka-banned. It's a bit like being hell-banned in that you don't know what's happening, but probably more baffling and stressful.


Imagine if we applied the same mentality to the law.


that is law and common practice on money fraud. Banks never tell the reason why your account got blocked because that would give bad players clues on how to prevent it.


You don’t have to tell them how you caught them but what rules they violated.


It's not about the "how", just listing which rule/clause in the agreement he broke is pretty essential.

Imagine being sent to jail and not being told what the offence was.


Bad actor who posts in the public, has his name both public and on his account. Yes. Must have taken Apple's engineering team months to find him.


Someone at Apple probably said, is there something we can do about those leaks from Rambo?

Then someone probably said, well we can block his dev account, may make it harder for him to reverse engineer everything right away.

Then they told someone else to block him, and they flipped a switch somewhere.

Nobody documents anything, and a few weeks later, when Rambo manages to escalate this through the support team, noone knows the background and noone can tell him what the issue is.

That's my speculation how things like that happen....


I have no clue about what terms we sign when we sign up to the developer account but I assume there is some clause about about what they did.

I’d assume they know this might be the cause and by leaving that out of the blog post, I feel like it’s a bit dishonest. Just tell it how it is.

“I caused a bunch of bad PR for Apple back in the days, wonder if that could be the reason for my account being shadow-banned?”

Not saying apple is doing the right thing here though. They should be honest too!


Seems very foolish to break the developer agreement without keeping yourself anonymous. It's his own fault that Apple was able to connect his account with an individual breaking their terms of service.


To my knowledge, Apple has not gone after people doing this in the past.


Yes they have.

It is routine for people who breaks the terms and conditions to have their account revoked.


Not for taking screenshots of developer betas.


That's not all of what he did, though. He'd data mine it like crazy, and would get into areas he really shouldn't have been in (Apple Arcade before launch, etc). The fact that this is all Apple did to him (killing his developer account) is pretty amazing.


Based on the kinds of things he showed, I am fairly certain that an employee was providing him some sort of access to an internal carry build, which is entirely outside of the developer program agreement (and possibly into an actual courtroom.)


> rather than retaliate against him, if that is indeed what is happening,

Right, but isn't that the important point here? I mean, 9to5mac publishes good content that most of us read. There's little argument that what they do is valuable in some existential sense, and you aren't trying to convince anyone that what they do is wrong.

The question is if whether Apple is retaliating against aggressive journalists and their sources, right? You seem to agree that this would be bad, but then sweep what seems to be the core issue away with "if that is indeed what is happening" before engaging with the spin in the article.

I mean... if the article is spun, I guess that's bad too, but frankly I don't care much. If Apple is retaliating for valuable journalism, I care very much and want to hear about that.


Whether or not the content is interesting is completely irrelevant.

If the journalist signs a Terms of Service agreement and then violates the agreement they are breaking the contract and Apple has every right to end the Service. If he legally acquired and published info without signing a TOS then the info is fair game. Retaliation would be suing him for the disclosures. Ending the Service is just standard operating procedure.

I enjoy the writing and he seems like a really nice and capable guy. Nonetheless, he promised not to do something and then appears to have done it anyway. We don't yet know if his account is suspended because of this, but if so, it happened due to his own choices.

Also, the reason his content is widely read and is interesting is not because he has some unique ability. There are lots of people who could do the kind of system/app spelunking he does. However, other people follow the TOS associated with the access. It would appear that he has chosen to violate the agreements and that has enabled him to produce content that is unique. Frankly, Apple has been very patient so far.

I feel for him on a personal level, but if he violated the TOS then there is no controversy here. Every developer access agreement I have ever seen from many different companies has clear TOS relating to non-disclosure of proprietary info.

Another interesting angle is that if he is violating the TOS, he may have also jeopardized his employer's access to Apple developer programs.

On the other hand, maybe this is all just a snafu...


> There are lots of people who could do the kind of system/app spelunking he does. However, other people follow the TOS associated with the access.

The real reason that people don't do this is because they choose to do other things with their time.


Fair enough.


So why didn't he use a different persona on 9to5Mac.com?

I do understand why Edward Snowden used his real name for his leak. It gave him credibility.

But why do that for stuff like this? I mean, did his reputation on 9to5Mac.com increase sales of his apps? Or get him speaking engagements? Or was it just bragging?


Perhaps Rambo did violate Apple's terms, I don't know. However, this is still a major problem. Apple has currently locked me out of my account due to their new authentication process in at attempt to force me to buy an apple device for authentication purposes.


OS X and iOS development both require Apple hardware anyways, so shouldn't you have that as a developer?


Unless you hackintosh...


At that point, you can still authenticate with a Hackintosh anyway. But hey, would you look at that, the person is still _technically_ violating the rules!


Sorry, I refuse to be bullied into buying exorbitantly overpriced shit hardware.


But you'll quite happily develop software for 'exorbitantly overpriced shit hardware,' and even violate terms of the software provided by using a VM running macOS to make sure you get a piece. The unheeded irony of that position is so transparent as to be Windex clear. That'd be fine on its own, but of course, the truth of the matter is also no impediment to you disingenuously blaming the party enforcing terms you agreed to in your pursuit of the aforementioned piece which, again, all centers around 'exorbitantly overpriced shit hardware' that you disdain.

If you'd like to address iOS and macOS users, the ramp to doing so is quite clear and navigable. If you'd like to avoid 'exorbitantly overpriced shit hardware' while ignoring say, secondhand MacBook Airs, well, also good news: Android is a perfectly addressable market. If that's an untenable position for your particular sensibilities, you are totally free to compete.

If that seems like bullying, capitalism is going to be tough to navigate. You're already ignoring the rules to get your own piece of it, so chastising those who are more successful at the exact same game you're playing simply obliterates your whole philosophy in general and makes you an unreliable narrator, and I hope you see that.


ok iSlave


So we're going to break the law instead, great defense for how Apple is evil when you are, in fact, pirating their software. Haha.....


What law did he break exactly?


And pirating software is the ultimate evil. Haha.....


I'm just pointing out the fact that the user is complaining about some "limitation" about an "evil company" when they're not being much better themselves. Haha.....


Why are you devving for Apple platforms if you hate them so much?


[flagged]


Actually, many developers with similar lines of thinking rigidly adhere to their ideologies about Apple, whether it be related to process, supply chain, licensing, whatever, and refuse to develop for Apple platforms outright. That is quite respectable.

"I just can't turn down the market so I'm simply forced to develop for platforms I loathe (all the way to my checking account)," on the other hand... yeah, that's a touch more obvious.


You sure have a high opinion of your users.


Not sure why I'm being down-voted for the parent comment, but this is an obvious way to get around a lot of software limitations.

I didn't state this was a valid/legal/good path or trying to defend anyone whom does use a hackintosh. The truth is that there are people who can't afford Apple products to develop and they will abuse this loop hole until they can.

This comment wasn't rude or aggressive, but I was merely proposing an alternative solution. The down-votes are more aggressive than the comment could have even been misconstrued.


I got around this by deving on virtual machine.


Sorry, you don't get to complain about being banned then. You knowingly broke their ToS, so you don't get access to the app market that they built.


Pretty sure that is not allowed, you are only supposed to run OS X on Apple hardware.


My initial response being out of the loop on Rambo's work was indeed to think he was just an indie dev trying to make good products for users.

Then I started digging around and found out a lot of the stuff he writes about either lands in a grey area, or could be interpreted as crossing the agreement devs sign when they want to use their app store.

While I have sympathy for him, I agree with you, it's incumbent on both sides to keep his dev work separated from his gossip site. Knowing how competitive it is to break Apple news early (as they one of, if not THE hardest company to get early product information) and get that out to the masses.


So he clearly and unambiguously violates the NDA and he wonders why he is in trouble? The NDA is pretty specific. How he thinks he can write an article about a product he has access to because he is in the developer program is beyond me.

Want to be in the Apple Dev program? Don’t violate NDAs by publishing what they expressway say you can’t publish.


I imagine he crossed some terms of service with obvious legal clarity... so, I guess I’m not sure Apple should separate his “official” and “unofficial” actions.

IDK. Maybe I’m just big into personal responsibility and knowing that you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you. He did a thing, and now pays a price. I guess I don’t see a lot of gray area.

Could you make the argument that Apple’s walled garden has issues, sure. But this guy clearly broke his contract so why would he or I be surprised when he was kicked out?


Not sure if I agree or disagree. But if it's so clear cut, why wouldn't Apple just tell him the reason?


I know you didn't think it through directly, but you're now basically supporting the ability of a multi-billionare corporation to financially attack a developer and disable their device over criticism.

Just how chilling effect is that? Not being able to criticise and freely talk about a corporation and its product due to fear of having your company financially destroyed or even your personal Apple ID killed over saying something bad over a corporate product. Are you sure you're defending that?


No. That wasn’t what I basically support at all. Thanks for the strawman.

You should absolutely be able to critique anything at all. Are you saying leaking preproduction software against your contract to not do that is a first amendment issue?

I do believe no one has tried to silence his speech, as proven by this post about it. He broke a contract and now isn’t allowed to use their tools.


> I do believe no one has tried to silence his speech, as proven by this post about it. He broke a contract and now isn’t allowed to use their tools.

Are you really claiming that being cut off from financials due to criticism is not an attempt to punish criticism?

> No. That wasn’t what I basically support at all. Thanks for the strawman.

It's not a strawman if you don't understand why being financially punished for criticising a corporation is hugely problematic. You really want to live in the world where you're afraid of having your devices rendered useless and your company blocked from market because you dared say anything against Facebook, Google, Apple and other behemoths?


The problem is that the OP seems to have used his dev account to get access to information and divulge it against the TOS. He used his financial source to profit in other ways against the interests of his financial source.

If my company had a meeting where I learned about quarterly results ahead of any public disclosure, and then I published them somehow, I wouldn't have grounds to complain when they find out and terminate me.

If the OP had a totally clean use of his dev account, and he published articles critical of Apple without inside info, and then had his dev account terminated, then I'd be worried about Apple's overreach and dangerous power. But that's NOT what appears to have happened here.


"My house (or in this case, walled garden) , my rules." As people are fond of pointing out, Apple is not a monopoly therefore he has plenty of other places to sell his software.


This is like saying that if your neighbors are awful you should simply take your house and put it somewhere else. Completely ignoring the cost of porting software written for one platform to another.


Invalid analogy, since it's Apple's house, not his. Nobody forced him to write software for Apple's platform and nobody forced him to agree to the developer agreement Apple requires. He did it of his own free will.


Except that this is not a single persons house, but a mega corporation with monetary power of states.

It's not "a person throwing you out of his house", it's "your governor forcing you to leave your state because you dared critcize him". Power makes a difference.


No, because you have to live somewhere, but you don't have to write apps.

Another analogy: it's like someone having a big "please wipe your shoes" sign on their front door, and you walk in with muddy boots and track mud everywhere. They'd be entitled to be annoyed and ask you to leave because you broke the terms of their invitation.


No it's more like taking a dump in the middle of wal-mart and then being shocked when asked to leave.


Lets not conflate 'personal responsibility' with slavishly obeying terms of one-sided contracts. Neither is it the 'hand that feeds you'. 'The hand that has placed itself in control of your market' is more apt.


If we are to trust Apple on the claim that they are a platform and not a publisher, removing for an editorial reason like this put their claim in doubt and I don't think they have the leeway you describe here as a platform.

If Apple is now a publisher with editorial control, why would anyone trust them as a middleman to their customer base? Seems risky.


What claim? Apple has not ever disclaimed that they have complete editorial control over what happens on their platform, in fact they've advertised that fact repeatedly over the years. Being "curated" has been a central part of the App Store selling proposition.


They rely on Section 230 [1] protection, which only applies to platforms, to not be liable for what is published on their platform. If they have editorial control they are liable like newspapers are liable.

[1] https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230


This platform/publisher meme has always been a misunderstanding of the law. I guess now it's even being shoved into situations that have absolutely nothing to do with it?


How is that a misunderstanding of the requirements to be a platform to be protected from liability under section 230 [1]?

[1] https://www.eff.org/issues/cda230


Section 230 explicitly says that making editorial judgements does not make you liable for the content you publish:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—

(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable"


Because it's not mentioned in the article but could be hint on why this happened (could also be entirely irrelevant).

It's the guy who brought us a bunch of early iOS 13 leaks among other things: https://www.hackingwithswift.com/articles/164/interview-guil...


So he violated the developer agreements and now is complaining that his developer account is suspended?

How is that Apple's fault? Considering the suspension emails and other info are automated, it's likely that he missed them or they went into his spam somehow.


Even if they did warn him by automated email, when he finally got through to them it would be much more professional to say that he broke the agreement and that's the reason than string him along


I agree with that statement but I don't think they're stringing him along. We only have his side of the story and, based on previous instances of similar behavior, that story is likely incredibly biased, flawed, and not reflective of what's actually happening.

In this case, there may even be a lawsuit involved so it's not as simple as a customer service rep telling them "you've been banned".


Perhaps.

My experience with Apple is that they do what they want and getting anything out of them occurs on their timeline. If you don't like it, get stuffed, they won't budge.


There was a past story right here on HN where a suspended developer riled up a mob, only to have it turn out that he wasn't being fully honest. I'm trying to find those posts.


I think it's more a complain about the radio silence.

Hoping they reinstate the account feels a bit like a pipe dream given his activity on 5to9mac, and I'm sure Apple was entirely in the right to suspend his account, but he should have been able to discover that in days, r even immediately upon trying to log in (it's not hard to say "this account has been locked because:..." instead of just "this account has been locked") rather than "never being told".


Apple's previously demonstrated their vindictiveness in the official iOS developer guidelines 5 years ago -

'If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.'

https://web.archive.org/web/20141226094343/https://developer...


these guidelines are pretty good evidence in and of themselves why Apple should not be in charge of this marketplace.


These giant walled gardens should seriously be regulated. One company should not have complete control over an entire industry like this.


Apple doesn't have control over any industry, does it?


Apple doesn't even have 50% of market share in any country, how are they in "complete control" of anything?


They are in complete control of the programs that you can install on your iphone, and take 30% of all transactions that occur through that marketplace. Are you a lawyer for apple?


I think the point is that there are other app stores in other platforms, so monopoly rules don't apply.

Their app store is their monopoly, sure, but if you don't want to use Apple products you are not barred from using other cellphones and app stores.

This is different than, e.g. saying that there is a monopoly with the electricity provider. If you don't want to use company A for that, you have absolutely no access to electricity at all.

The question is instead, I think, if after some size, companies wield so much power that they should be regulated as if they were monopolies, just because of the sheer amount of people that depends on their services.

But that's a whole other can of worms and a different discussion than "Apple is a monopoly"

I.e. the term "monopoly" has a very specific legal definition which is not met by whatever behavior Apple is having.

Does that make it ok? not necessarily and the nuance is debatable. But the fact is that as per the current definition, it's not a monopoly.


> as per the current definition, it's not a monopoly.

That's why I said they should be regulated...because they currently aren't. When anti-trust laws were being written, software walled gardens weren't a thing. They should be updated for modern times, since the App Store is basically its own industry. It brings in tens of billions of dollars in revenue every year, which is more than the GDP of some countries.


And Apple built it from the ground up. It's their hardware. They control what runs on it.

iOS isn't great software (ok, "good software" for 13) in a vacuum. It's inherently, inextricably tied in with Apple's world-class hardware; and vice versa as well. To allow unfettered access to both is a risk to users, whose trust in Apple has been built up over more than a decade.

It's not a monopoly. It's an experience.


> the electricity provider

I think the point is that there are other electricity providers in other areas, so monopoly rules don't apply.

Their electric service is their monopoly, sure, but if you don't want to use company A electricity you are not barred from buying a house somewhere else, with a different electric service.

This is different than, e.g. saying that there is a monopoly with the app store. If you don't want to use Apple for that, you have absolutely no access to iPhone software at all.


For me at least, I think the effort and expense of buying a house and moving elsewhere is quite a bit higher than using another phone/app store.

However I do understand that for a lot of people, moving from Apple to Android (and vice versa) is not as easy or straightforward to do, and thus why perhaps the discussion should be about regulating those companies that hold so much power, as if they were a monopoly. That doesn't make them a monopoly by current definitions though.


Another analogy might be that Comcast don’t have a monopoly on Internet service in an area because you can always use dial-up or tether through your phone.


Just because you don't like it doesn't mean that it's illegal or calls for another government regulation.

When did being able to access / sell to a private marketplace become an entitlement of public accommodation?

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of this then by all means go ahead and assert this. I personally don't believe the iPhone App Store (or any other app store) yet rises to the level of a forum of open public access and certain pricing in the name of public good.

You are perfectly free to develop apps and sell them elsewhere.


> You are perfectly free to develop apps and sell them elsewhere.

Yeah, you just lose access to a giant chunk of the market and severely limit your growth potential.

The entire industry with its millions of jobs and immeasurable value to society is two stores owned by two companies. That needs to be regulated.


Well, your conclusion that "this needs to be regulated" is highly debatable as a matter of public policy. Clearly I disagree. "Inhibited growth potential", especially in the pursuit of developing apps for iPhone, certainly doesn't fall on the side of being a fundamental right that people are being deprived of. I personally exercise a bit more restraint in saying that things call for government intervention.


> doesn't fall on the side of being a fundamental right that people are being deprived of

What does that have to do with this? Anti-trust laws are to protect competitive forces in the market, not human rights.

Allowing these companies to have limitless control over millions of jobs with no regulation whatsoever gives us the crappy situation we have today. Someone could have their developer account terminated by accident/laziness, and then that person's entire livelihood is destroyed and they're left with no recourse because Apple/Google can't be bothered to even answer the phone. The Play store is an endless sea of malware, adware, and spyware, and any attempt at making a competitive marketplace is hopeless and instantly attacked by Google (remember Fortnite installer fiasco?). There's so much anti-competitive and clearly harmful (for developers and consumers) bullshit going on in these two stores every day that it's ridiculous that there still is not any strong regulatory action against them.

> I personally exercise a bit more restraint in saying that things call for government intervention.

Good for you. I heard that a lot in college. People who just took an economics class for the first time felt compelled to "pick a side", and everyone always picked that same side as you (me too). Yet that decision is made so so far detached from any real life problems or data that it's effectively arbitrary. If you feel that this characterization doesn't apply to you, then please contribute to the discussion with some actual substantive arguments and not hand-wavy virtue signaling.


Your arguments are no more substantive or backed by hard facts than mine. I could quote a multitude of benefits of not stepping in to regulate such markets just as you quote a case (actually, one rare case that made the headlines) of someone whose user account was affected by clearly not-the-most-innocent circumstances. So who's to win? That's why there are courts and policymakers. Glad it's not just up to your (or my) hypothetical victims.


> They are in complete control of the programs that you can install on your iphone,

This isn't a monopoly. With your logic I could scope down to arbitrary levels and call everything a monopoly.

* Oh, Safari is a monopoly because you can only set the search engines Safari lets you!

* Verizon is a monopoly because they look the bootloader on a phone bought from Verizon!

* Target is a monopoly because you can only buy the products Target sells when you're in Target!

Monopolies are considered in the scheme of the wider industry. And in the wider industry, Apple is far from a monopoly. Both users and businesses can move to other platforms that in fact have more consumers.

Just like you could go to another supermarket down the street, you can switch from iOS to Android.


Nintendo is in complete control of the programs you can install on your Switch. Sony is in complete control of the programs you can install on your PS4. Using your logic every platform is a monopoly.


It can be argued having a smartphone today is essential to participating in modern life in this country right now - having a games console is not.


So what? There are many alternative smartphones besides an iPhone.


Pretty sure they have more than 50% of the paying market.

Nobody ever claims they get more revenue on android than IOS


How is that vindictive? It's true. What is the press going to do to help with an approval? That almost always should be a last resort.


First of all Apple earned the criticism that led to this rule. In what universe do we not have the right to denounce dumb shit corporations do? They simply have no right to quash free speech. This is exactly what being vindictive is.

In the buildup to this rule Apple was wrong, inconsistent and sometimes just ridiculous in their app rejections.

Calling broad attention to their problems, like their keyboard issues, is the only way they choose to listen.

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=funniest%20apple%20app...


>Apple earned the criticism that led to this rule

How? Apple isn't saying that they're going to take negative action against someone for going to the press and bad-mouthing them and, frankly, there's no evidence that this has ever happened with them. That would be vindictive. What they said, on the other hand, is that it wouldn't be helpful to do so and that is an accurate statement.

Apple doesn't change decisions based on media reporting. They make and change decisions based on the information they have. There has never been a reversal of a decision that came as a result of media intervention. It has always come as a result of the affected party giving Apple some information that they didn't have before.


You have every right to say whatever you want about any organization or person, but they don't have to keep on working with you.

Apple is taking it from a relationship standpoint. If someone trash talks you in public and your opinion of them has gone down, you have every right to stop interacting with them.

Now saying they have market power and should not being able to do that, well that is the domain of different regulations.


> They simply have no right to quash free speech.

They haven't quashed free speech. They've built a consequence to speech into their developer agreement, as an exercise of their freedom of association.

If you're in a bar and you trashtalk the waitstaff to their faces, it's fully within their rights to eject you. You're free to stand on the sidewalk outside of the bar and continue to exercise your rights. Just as OP is free to speak about their experiences with Apple. But Apple, and the bar, have no obligation to maintain a business relationship with anybody.


That's a decent analogy and I'm surprised you're getting voted down.


It’s a lot closer to leaving a Yelp review that accurately described their behavior a few days after you witnessed them doing something stupid that ruined your experience.


Only if you admit in the review that you took no action whatsoever to allow them to fix whatever the issue was.


If you research that time period you will find many arbitrary rejections were being made that could not be resolved by the developer and may even have been nonsensical.

https://www.businessinsider.com/iphone-app-rejections-2009-1...

https://www.cnet.com/news/behind-10-eyebrow-raising-app-stor...

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3dwq8/apples-long-histor...


Read your own articles. None of the decisions were overturned as a result of a report to the media. All of them were resolved independently between Apple and the developer.


Google Voice and the NiN album were both reinstated without change after succumbing to public pressure. Google actually went to the FTC where Apple claimed they didn't reject their app! The drone strike notification app in the Vice article ended up being approved in 2017(!!) after five years of trying to publish it, then it got immediately removed lol.

https://www.macworld.com/article/1140476/accessapproved.html

https://apple.slashdot.org/story/10/11/16/2318247/official-g...

https://mashable.com/2017/03/28/apple-app-store-metadata-dro...

Also from the CNET article: a political countdown timer, a podcasting app and South Park streaming episodes app were all never approved.


None of those articles cite the reason for the change as being media backlash, though. If that was the case, then why would Apple wait days in some cases, weeks in others, and years (according to you) for still others.

It's always resolved through either a change by the developer or a change in the review policy at Apple. Again, the statement is about the relationship between the developer and Apple. If anything, Apple will be less likely to cave or change a decision just because of media pressure. Otherwise, the countdown timer, podcast app, and South Park would have just been approved after the media got wind of it. You're literally arguing against yourself with that point.


Because punishing is how you restrict free speech. If your "free" speech has this kind of consequences, it isn't free.


"Free" speech only applies to governments limiting the free expression of their citizens. Private companies have no obligation to continue doing business with someone for any reason, especially when that individual is acting in bad faith by disparaging their business relationship.


No. Free speech (and other rights) isn't about governments but about people. Your rights aren't less violated because the violator has no democratic legitimation, that just makes it worse. The only way in which companies infringing your rights is less relevant is that companies having that ability shouldn't even exist, so making them behave is merely a band-aid.


That is nonsense. This isn't about limiting speech. It's about maintaining a business relationship. No one, individual or otherwise, has the right to force a business relationship, or any other relationship, between two people, entities, or companies unless both sides are willing to maintain it.


Of course you have a right to use the services companies provide! That's the whole point of allowing them to exist. Your approach just gives power to capitalists they shouldn't have.

It's obviously not quite as clear-cut when it comes to relationships between individuals that have rights.


So, let me get this straight... You think that "free speech" protections provide a mechanism that forces companies to maintain relationships with people that they don't want to do business with? So, if someone is harassing employees, being damaging, or any litany of other inappropriate behaviors, that company is still required to provide service to that person because that person has a right to service?

You have not thought this through, at all...


Rights are not absolute. Having a right does not entail having the right to abuse that right to violate the rights of someone else. Employees have the right not to be harassed. If a company stops doing business with you for that it defends its employee which is legitimate.

What is Apple defending here? Not their right not to be criticized because that doesn't exist. Their NDAs? That would be legitimate but locking Rambo out of his account won't achieve that aim.

So the only reason to disable his account is to punish him. That's the job of the state, its courts and executive. Not of a for-profit company that does not even allow him to know why he is being punished, let alone a hearing or an appeal court.


Your idea would compel companies to support speech that they don’t believe in. This is tantamount to forced speech.


The point of free speech is to make democracy work. There's no reason to grant it to companies.


You should really familiarize yourself with caselaw surrounding speech, and educate yourself about rights other than the freedom of speech. Your ideology is far too removed from reality, but your phrasing is too absolute. Be honest about the difference between your desires and legal reality. Otherwise, nobody is going to take you seriously.

I'm fairly leftist, and I support a pretty strong freedom of speech, but I'm also familiar enough with other rights to see how they get balanced against one another, a la "the right to swing your fist ends at my face." I read popehat, because the authors are attorneys specializing in the first amendment. They defend people I find deplorable; they've got politics I disagree with. But I keep reading, because they're experts and it's a good source of fact.


Where did I say anything about US law?


Aside from the Principality of Sealand, is there a country whose laws reflect your ideology? Genuinely curious.

But to answer your question, apple is first and foremost a US company.


> Aside from the Principality of Sealand

Sealand doesn't seem all that socialist to me but I'm not very familiar with it.

> But to answer your question, apple is first and foremost a US company.

Rights != what the law says rights are. Else it wouldn't be possible for the state to violate your rights on a large scale.

Anyway, Apple is subject to the laws of every country it operates in.


So I can censor a newspaper company who is publishing things I disagree with?

Of course, unlike the newspaper itself.

I don’t understand. Can the government control the contents of the newspaper and decide what the newspaper company may publish?

> I'm surprised you're getting voted down.

I'm not surprised one bit. I generally don't talk about downvoting, but it's pertinent to the topic of free speech and consequences for speaking.

There's a common theme in "free speech" advocacy -- folks assert that free speech must not have any consequences. Addressing that misconception with facts about the US legal system and precedent frequently results in downvotes. Which is rather ironic -- downvoting is a consequence that can result in "censorship." But karma comes and goes with the popularity of my opinions; I'm not bothered.

https://www.popehat.com/2013/09/10/speech-and-consequences/


Having freedom of speech does not imply that the speaker should be free from the consequences of that speech. Especially hurtful or otherwise irresponsible speech.

And spreading pre-release confidential information is different from criticizing the company.

Apple is also free to decide who it wants to welcome into its developer community, and it’s fair that they take the content of your speech into account in that decision.


Since it sometimes does help, "it never helps" is false. Lying is usually considered a bad manner.


Except it doesn't. In nearly every case where a decision by Apple was reversed, it was internal communications with the affected party that led to the resolution. I would love a source that said that bad-mouthing Apple to the media resulted in the outcome they wanted.


Running to the press is a sure way to get Apple to stop ignoring you.


No it's not. There have been several cases where someone has run to the press and it's done nothing. I have yet to see someone cite an instance where a media connection suddenly made Apple be more communicative with an individual. In every case I've seen so far, Apple has already been in contact with the individual and the only thing the media attention does is give that person an outlet to post the emails they get from Apple along with their side of the "story" with a bunch of conjecture from a blogger thrown in.


If you think PR teams don't escalate issues internally, you're probably just not part of the people your PR department talks to.


> And he’s successful: he leaked marketing images for Apple Watch Series 4, he found iPhone X glyphs showing the notch, and more.

Presumably in violation of the developer program's NDA.


Here the section of the Apple Dev Agreement if anyone is interested:

4. Confidentiality. Except as otherwise set forth herein, you agree that any Apple prerelease software, services, and/or hardware (including related documentation and materials) provided to you as an Apple Developer (“Pre-Release Materials”) and any information disclosed by Apple to you in connection with Apple Events will be considered and referred to as “Apple Confidential Information”.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Apple Confidential Information will not include: (a) information that is generally and legitimately available to the public through no fault or breach of yours; (b) information that is generally made available to the public by Apple; (c) information that is independently developed by you without the use of any Apple Confidential Information; (d) information that was rightfully obtained from a third party who had the right to transfer or disclose it to you without limitation; or (e) any third party software and/or documentation provided to you by Apple and accompanied by licensing terms that do not impose confidentiality obligations on the use or disclosure of such software and/or documentation. Further, Apple agrees that you will not be bound by the foregoing confidentiality terms with regard to technical information about Apple prerelease software, services and/or hardware disclosed by Apple at WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference), except that you may not post screen shots of, write public reviews of, or redistribute any such materials.

https://developer.apple.com/terms/apple-developer-agreement/...


Then why not just say so in all his support calls? "You've violated the NDA, so we've disabled your account permanently." Now you have a clear reason and a clear violation. Apple gate keepers get to show their insane dominance over all parts computing on their hardware.

Personally I hate this new move towards Apple/Microsoft/Google being gatekeepers for everything that can run on a machine. It's fucking bullshit.


Because lawyers. Apple currently is under no obligation to release the rational for their decision. If they publicly tell him why, he can challenge it much more effectively. The apple NDA is possibly too broad to be enforceable and given that ALL of their competitors are allowed access to the developer system, gives them no traditional protection of trade secrets. Id est, It gives them an unintended benefit of controlling the public story (and thus some degree of market forces) about their products, but does not keep their market competition from peaking inside. If they divulge the rationale, and he challenges it in court it would upend their (and lots of other) developer programs, or at the very least cost them lots of time, attention and goodwill fighting to preserve it.


In order to challenge the decision to revoke his developer account in court, he would have to show that Apple has a legal obligation to provide and maintain such accounts. I suspect that Apple has no such obligation, and therefore a fear of lawsuits would not be a reason for them to conceal the reason for his account revocation.


The distinction between hardware and software is blurring. Software-defined-X is becoming a thing.

Apple/Google/Microsoft thinking is easier to understand if the black slab in your hand is considered one thing, not two things. If it is not a general purpose personal computing device (PC), but a branded PDA that makes calls.

For most consumers, that’s right, and for them, the strategy is right. Make the PDA experience seamless and safe.


>Personally I hate this new move towards Apple/Microsoft/Google being gatekeepers for everything that can run on a machine. It's fucking bullshit.

It's what people want. The population is happily giving these companies all this power, and refuses to abandon them or pressure them in any way when they do this stuff.

And to be fair, I don't see Google acting nearly this badly. If anything, they're the opposite: they don't exercise enough control over their app store, so it has a lot of spyware and malware. As for MS, they seem to be incompetent and powerless: they tried to make an app store for Windows 10 and that was a big flop, and of course they tried to ape Apple/Google with Windows Phone, and that was a big flop too.


> Presumably in violation of the developer program's NDA.

Even if that seems likely doing all that without a "real" full locking of the account and an email seems kind of odd.


Shadowbanning is an effective technique, so it can be intentional.


IMO shadowbanning is a highly unethical practice, especially but not exclusively for the fact that there will be false positives.

There will always be false positives because even if reviewed or decided by group or committee, human judgement is always flawed and none of us really know if a ban is appropriate or justified. (And even if it is, there is always a concept of remorse or forgiveness that should be a thing too.)

Just think of your own personal experience. How many times have you been wrong when being judgemental about other people? How many times have they been wrong about you? Most of the time that's just a mild social thing and it has no consequence, but practices like shadow banning make it consequential.


Shadowbanning people who have a wide reach on other platforms doesn’t usually work all that well, as this instance shows.


> he leaked marketing images for Apple Watch Series 4

I don’t think this specific one has anything to do with the NDA.


I don't think that really changes anything.

That article clearly indicates he sourced some information from the developer program betas, which would be a violation of the NDA when publicized.


Then Apple can respond in an above-board way to such a violation. If the want to conduct their response through secret channels, in a harassing way, they shouldn't look to the courts to support their NDA rights on this.

The same way that you can't stop paying rent to your landlord because he hasn't fixed your sink, Apple can't harass someone because they believe he is in violation of a contract.


Revoking access isn't a secret channel nor harassment.

> Your rights under this license to use and access the Content will terminate automatically without notice from Apple if you fail to comply with any of these provisions.


And cutting off access is quite possibly reasonable. But they've gone quite a bit farther than "no notice" in refusing to answer any questions after the fact (or even point to the contract and any provisions they may think he is in violation of, if this is not just wild speculation) when approached by him. It makes their position that this is some sort of contract dispute far weaker. I assume there is an arbitrage clause in the contract? Has Apple contacted that party yet?


If he has a case, then he can invoke the arbitrage clause.

Given that there is clear public evidence that he is misrepresenting what happened and that he has profited from breaking the NDA, why is any of this work that Apple should do?


If that's the reason shouldn't Apple have warned/informed him by now?


The Apple Developer Agreement states:

> Your rights under this license to use and access the Content will terminate automatically without notice from Apple if you fail to comply with any of these provisions.


> More recently, I tried calling again and got to talk with a supervisor, who said I would be getting an e-mail with instructions to get my access restored.

A supervisor shouldn't/wouldn't string him along in this situation


I have had many customer service supervisors give incorrect information. They've generally only got what they see in the CRM/ticketing system to go on; it's entirely possible that they may not be privy to, say, a note from the legal department.


Oh, he totally has. But that doesn’t mean Apple shouldn’t tell him why they locked him out.


Surely he knows?


Why they locked him out? It doesn't look like it.


The rest of us seem to know.

Do you think he doesn’t know that 9to5mac published the information he provided to them?


I don't see anyone here that really knows anything about the situation. Just because a hundred people have speculations here doesn't make it fact; it's completely possible that he just failed to sign a Brazilian legal form or something.


Not really. We actually do know quite a lot about the situation.

We can see he has very likely violated the NDA.

By not mentioning this, and presenting himself as just another developer trying to make nice apps, we can see that he clearly has the capacity to be disingenuous. Most developers don’t reverse engineer Apple software and supply the results for publication.

We also know that if Apple froze people’s accounts for failing to sign a Brazilian legal form (or similar), it would affect a lot of people and we’d know it was a real possibility. But they don’t.

We don’t know anything with 100% certainty, but we easily have enough certainty to make it obvious that failing to mention his reverse engineering practice is a major red flag for his credibility.


I am "just another developer" who has probably violated the NDA as well. Reverse engineering beta OSes and distributing information about it totally OK, the problem is when you take screenshots.


Have you published information about undisclosed features in the press?

Why is distributing information covered by the NDA ok, but screenshots not?


> Have you published information about undisclosed features in the press?

Define "press".

> Why is distributing information covered by the NDA ok, but screenshots not?

Because that's what the license agreement says. Information about prerelease software is OK to discuss, sharing screenshots is not.


Ok - so it seems like you are confirming that we do know what he has done that breaks the NDA.


Yes. It's just that we don't know if that's why Apple has locked him out of his account.


Not for certain, but we do know that it is a strong possibility which he disingenuously leaves out of his account.


Sourcing information is specially allowed by the develop agreement. It's screenshots that aren't.


That seems most likely...


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