App Developers Feeling Restricted By NDA

The legally binding Non-Disclosure Agreement all iPhone developers are required to agree to forbids the discussion of iPhone app development, and it’s hindering the quality of the apps being developed for the iPhone and iPod touch. The restriction is creating some significant problems for many, but some have found a way around the contract.

Most developers choose to play it safe and not talk about app development with anyone, such as Kevin Hoffman, editor in chief of Sys-Con Media’s iPhone Developer’s Journal. He was organizing the iPhone Developer SUmmit for October in San Jose, but instead has decided to focus on making Mac and web apps.

“There’s a lot of people I’d like to help with code that I can’t,” he said.

This means that innovation has to be done on only an individual basis, whereas the ability for open discussion would allow for better app creation from the community as a whole. As a result, innovation in general is slow and sparse.

It’s also a problem for those hoping to publish iPhone development guides. Dave Thomas, a founder of Pragmatic Programmers, a consulting firm and publisher, says that it’s resulting in an App Store littered with lame apps. “Ultimately, consumers are suffering here,” he said. “We’re seeing some bad applications on the iPhone. It’s stifling innovation.”

But some have found a clever way around the problem. A handful of developers have taken to paying each other $1 and sharing information. That way if Apple sends their lawyers in their direction, they can argue that they’re subcontractors and are therefore free to discuss software.

[via LA Times]

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