Some thoughts on Apple’s recent licensing changes

Many of us believe that collaborative, social, strategies and tools can benefit the marketplace, companies, their vendors, their customers.  Countless case studies, interviews, and various other examples abound that show the positive benefits to sales, marketing, customer support, and throughout and across all functions.  The benefits range from product and service co-creation to improved customer satisfaction to more seemless sharing of knowledge within organizations.

A push for transparency, engagement, and collaboration has swept the public and private sector, with politicians, federal agencies, businesses, and people seeking to understand how they can leverage new strategies and tools to improve their ability to meet their goals.  While we are not experiencing a revolution, we are clearly seeing an evolution of business and governments.

Apple, however, remains one of the more successful companies determined to do its own thing.  It’s own thing in this case, however, is to act every bit the anti-social, monopolistic, and self-centric company that represents the old way of doing business.  It’s recent move to block out its partners and competitors from developing the widest set of applications for the iPhone 4.0 SDK demonstrates this point clearly:

“Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited)…”

If Microsoft had made a similar move back in the late 1990s it would have been dragged into court immediately.  Apple, beyond reversing this ridiculous licensing change, should consider becoming a more collaborative company and embrace your developer community.  Form a working counsel to review licensing changes, hearing alternative viewpoints could be beneficial.  While you are at it, consider a more open review process for applications to make it into your App Store, this is too opaque a process as it stands today.

While customers are in love with your hardware today we have all seen how proprietary solutions and products fair in the long run.  You are having your day in the sun now, consider making changes before it turns cloudy outside.

John

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Filed under: Social Strategies Tagged: apps, Social Strategies
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