As the sun rose on Monday and we all found ourselves sadly un-Raptured—and realizing we probably shouldn’t have told our bosses off on Friday—iOS developers were wondering if Apple was ever going to pick up the phone on this Lodsys situation.
While some developers were pleading for Apple to intervene, others like Marco Arment had suggested that giving in to Lodsys might be the only way forward if you still wanted to develop for iOS.
Arment wasn’t the only one proposing this, and it wasn’t bad advice—assuming one thing.
You can’t depend on Apple to step in. They probably won’t. Apple’s behavior toward developers has repeatedly shown that we’re on our own.
It’s the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma (sadly with boring patent legalese instead of gripping Mamet-esque dialog). You can’t count on Apple or other developers to stand with you, so you’d better just make sure your own butt’s covered. This is a business decision, after all. Are you doing what you do for a cause, or is it a business?
Fortunately, Arment underestimated Apple’s concern for the ecosystem it’s built. Around mid-day yesterday, Apple sent a fairly clear signal: App makers are protected by our license, so don’t even bother explaining whether it’s “Lod-sys” or “Load-sys”—just please go back to sucking the life fluids out of seniors or whatever it was you were doing before.
So, the Macalope doesn’t fault Arment. He’s really in no position to do that. Arment’s a smart guy and a talented developer who’s built a successful business, while the Macalope is practically a cartoon. And in a universe very close to this one, Arment was right. (Interestingly, it also happens to be the same one where herds of poodles still sweep majestically across the plains of North America.)
While this game isn’t over, it just got a lot more fun.
[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]