Apple Turns Over A New Leaf? - The UpStream

Apple Turns Over A New Leaf?

posted Sunday Sep 19, 2010 by Jon Wurm

Apple Turns Over A New Leaf?

When writing about Apple in the past we have certainly seen trends that would lead us to believe they like being the bully on the block that isn't particularly concerned about its employees, customers, or business partners. That's why the fact that Apple is willing to address issues with Google, Adobe, and even some of their product defects comes as quite a welcome surprise.

Take the following, many of which have been discussed on the show at some point. Excerpts after the break.

Google Voice: The move that got the most attention this weekend was Apple's decision to start approving Google Voice apps such as GV Mobile + and GV Connect 14 months after it threw them out of the App Store -- a purge that triggered an FCC probe. Presumably the government will now close its books on the complaint, if it hadn't already.

Apple newsstand: The other story getting some buzz is the report on the Bloomberg wire Friday that Apple, having invited newspaper and magazine publishers to create special iPad editions, is finally getting around to building a digital newsstand, similar to its iBook store, to showcase them. Those publishers are not particularly good neighbors themselves, so when we hear that negotiations over how to share revenue and subscriber lists have reached an impasse, it's hard to know who's more at fault.

Flash-to-iPhone: The big news two weeks ago was Apple's policy U-turn on cross-platform development tools, reversing a five-month old ban than prohibited apps written in Adobe Flash from entering the App Store. There was speculation at the time that one reason for the change was to render moot an FTC's probe. Apple may not be out of the woods yet, since websites with Flash content still don't work properly on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Antennagate: This was not so much a fence being mended as a gate being closed. But Steve Jobs' decision to publicly address complaints about the iPhone 4's external antenna and offer a free case to anyone who was experiencing a problem did seem to set a new tone for the company. The so-called free Bumper program ends this month.

Staff poaching: Apple is one of several companies reported to be in "advanced talks" with the Department of Justice to settle allegations that they colluded to hold down wages by agreeing not to poach each other's employees. The other parties named in the civil antitrust complaint were Google, Adobe, Intel, Intuit and Walt Disney.

Just to comment on a few of these real quick, of all these I was most surprised at Apple's allowance of Flash apps to enter the app store. Now that doesn't mean that the iPhone or iPad support flash properly but to be fair no one really does. Flash was clearly not designed for phones and that puts Apple in the same position as every other smartphone developer but the fact that they accepted a cross-platform development tool at all is noteworthy. I also can't ignore their decision to approve the Google Voice app but in my opinion they never really had legit reasons to ban them in the first place. Last but not least, Steve Jobs taking some responsibility for the iPhone 4's antennae problems and offering customers a reprieve is pretty uncharacteristic of Apple, but hopefully we'll see more of that in the future. What do you guys think? Is Apple turning over a new leaf or does the fact that all this coincides with the end of their fiscal year too coincidental?

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