The new app of the digital rights group EFF was released only for Android smartphones, because its developers criticized the terms of Apple’s developer agreement. The Alerts app of the Electronic Frontier Foundation will show news on its campaigns and encourage users to take action by sharing it online or emailing politicians.
The EFF developers claimed they could not agree to the outrageous terms in Apple’s Developer Agreement and the company’s DRM requirements, as they are bad for developers and users alike.
For example, the EFF disagrees with Apple’s bar on app makers making public statements about the terms, its ban on reverse engineering and the fact that Apple must approve any releases and can remotely disable applications. What the EFF didn’t like most was the requirement to include digital rights management in its iPhone app. Apparently, most of developers just have to sign the agreement because the Apple App store is a huge market and can hardly be ignored.
At the moment, Apple has over 9 million registered developers for its Mac and iOS platforms and 1.3m apps available on iOS’ App Store. The iOS developers have earned over $20bn so far, with iOS users spending over $10bn on apps and in-app purchases in 2013 alone. But now Apple faces more public criticism of its policies, with the iOS developers pointing to “the rapid decline of Apple’s software”.
In the meantime, other developers went public over approval issues with features in their iOS applications, sparking wider discussion about how the tech giant enforces its App Store policies. Apparently, the EFF continues this debate, being keen to pinpoint the individual clauses that may infringe developers’ digital rights.