Developer Blix claims new evidence of App Store 'monopoly' in court filing



  • Reply 21 of 23
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    kimberly said:
    This is part of the AppStore developer terms of service "If you app no longer functions as intended or your’e no longer actively supporting it, it will be removed from the App Store.”

    There is a public transport app in Australia that has been abandoned by the developer .. nothing wrong with that, he had a crack, a good product but couldn't make enough $$$ and the author walked away.

    Get this though. The app is still on the AppStore. When it was functional, the free version would not save favourite routes on exit but the premium version ($4.50) would.  The non-functionality is either due to the app's backend servers being unable to download timetables (transport authority requires a subscription?) or the timetable format has changed and that breaks the app.. whatever. The app's Facebook page is full of comments for the past 9 months about the non-functionality of the free & paid version.

    Emails to the app's support address bounce and the registered business address has closed. I finally tracked down the developer on Linkedin who has left Australia and is now working for Uber in LA.

    There is NO WHERE (I can find) on the Apple AppStore to report a non-functional app that is asking for a paid upgrade to a premium version. I ended up at an Apple store and was simply given an email address. I duly sent all the proof of both the app's non-functionality and no active support to the email address about 4 weeks ago, requesting it be removed from the AppStore, due to violation of the developer terms of service. Easy to verify for AppStore staff, just download the free version and see that no train, bus or ferry timetables are available - send an email to the support address and it will bounce after a few seconds (mailbox closed).

    At the time of writing, the app is still on the Apple AppStore and will happily ask for $4.50 to upgrade to the premium version.

    AppStore police are quick to jump on other 'popular' apps for ad-hoc violations but seem disinterested in having a smaller app on the platform despite being supplied with easily verifiable evidence of violation of developer terms and conditions. I guess I just see the AppStore as lacking consistency in regard to 3rd parties and more than a few disagreements seem to involve app popularity and $$$. So my point is, when I read any article regarding the Apple AppStore like this one, I don't see it as black and white. 
    In this situation, the best thing to do is leave a review, in capital letters, to warn other people. The presence of capital letters seems to upset Apple’s sense of the aesthetic, so they might actually take notice. 
  • Reply 22 of 23
    chaicka said:
    Hmmm... Apple is definitely not the first to use the technique of “using manageable public interaction addresses, without revealing their private interaction addresses.” as the mechanism of protection. Namecheap’s WhoisGuard service (used to be paid service on annual fee) uses the same to protect domain owners from having their private email address being exposed in Whois Lookups. So, in this case, Namecheap has infringe Blix’s patent?
    The patent as asserted by Blix would also be covering the basic email forwarding specification in RFC 5321, literally section 3.4
    3.4.  Forwarding for Address Correction or Updating
       Forwarding support is most often required to consolidate and simplify
       addresses within, or relative to, some enterprise and less frequently
       to establish addresses to link a person's prior address with a
       current one.  Silent forwarding of messages (without server
       notification to the sender), for security or non-disclosure purposes,
       is common in the contemporary Internet.
    RFC 5321 was published in 2008, though the wording is identical to the same section in RFC 2821 which was published in 2001, meaning that a patent that was filed prior to 2001 would be valid and enforceable – at least based on the date of RFC 2821. But, the patent referenced in the complaint, US 9749284 was filed in 2014 but claims a date to a prior filing in 2013.

    That said, hidden or randomized or anonymized E-mail addresses are a very old idea that many have implemented for a variety of purposes, including for the purpose of providing a public E-mail address that differs from a private E-mail address.

    If Blix had patented the idea of using an anonymized E-mail address for purposes of providing a secure login to a third party service, that would be a much larger problem for Apple, but the Blix patent includes no such thing and is simply forwarding from a public interface to a private interface with a "record" which describes the forwarding. It is hard to imagine such forwarding without such a record. Indeed, Claim 1 of US 9749284 basically reads on port forwarding and NATs, since it does not limit the type of communication in any way to E-mail addresses. Claim 5 even explicitly covers telephone line forwarding, Fax forwarding, and URL forwarding, all of which are so common that I presume the patent examiner was asleep when he read this (which is pretty normal).

    Can you imagine trying to get a patent (in 2013!) for forwarding a telephone number from a public interaction address to a private one and actually succeeding in getting the patent through the patent office? That right there tells you everything you need to know about how f'd up the US patent system is. 
  • Reply 23 of 23
    As a consumer very centered in the apple ecosystem, I greatly appreciate it when they promote their apps over third-party developers because I would prefer to do both of those if I can. That way I know the data is more likely to be integrated with others and it’s more likely to have a longer life cycle optimistically hoping for continuous upgrade pads really tired of getting Siloed into proprietary third-party developers, even if the app is better the most part. 
    everybody picks on apples because they’re the big number one. But if you had a business, wouldn’t you promote your goods and services of our competitors that you let into your store? We don’t complain about Amazon promoting at store brands first. Or other companies that do the same thing which are numerous and have a long history of that.  
    it’s just so cheap and easy to pick on Apple. Much more rarely do you hear credit for all the wonderful things that they made possible such as the App Store from its  inception. It’s like complaining the doctor charged you too much after he saved your life.
     Apple really could in most cases put a lot more resources into their own apps and try to be the Vanguard market leader like they did with Paul K pro for example.   But largely they make apps for everyone with less innovation then was the case back of the days of clear us and early macOS. And where would we be as developers if we didn’t have their huge library‘s of kids frameworks in Open source code.  And their innovation on the foundational layers core services of various kinds in open architecture platforms,… Much of the actual Louisville code is apple written and just put together for a higher level client application.  

    Maybe if people want to deconstruct the App Store, Apple could develop some sort of certification systems, sandboxing and code checking, code notarizing and all those things that make an app inherently approved regardless of its distribution channel such as direct from a developer.  For Apple to creative services, they probably need more than 30% of an app to find such complex common never ending and crucial services at the App Store inherently provides. for Apple to create the services, they probably need more than 30% of an app to find such complex common never ending and crucial services at the App Store inherently provides.
    Let’s also not forget that Apple promotes the really good apps even over their own of the same type. In my opinion that level of marketing and creation is pretty priceless but does it cost the developers any more than their normal cost of being in the developer community. Sorry for the rant but when I hear people pick on Apple I think gosh why are they just bag the big very appreciative and in praise of so much more than this little quibble.🌞
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