A Whiskey Tango Fox Moment
I believe MS does similar things for X-Box Live. Basically, it's a private network: they can authorize or refuse to authorize things because they don't like the number of consonants in the author's name. The real issue, I think, is whether Apple should be compelled to open up the iPhone to outside developers simply because of its ubiquity. That is, after a certain point, does the success of a platform necessarily entail that it is a de facto public space?
Apple is charging wouldbe developers for the code to develop programs, and then restricting whether or not they can sell the resulting product to consumers. That's wrong, and no other mobile phone developer does this. Apple does not have to open up the OS to the developer community (neither is Microsoft Mobile, Symbian, or BlackBerry OS. They are all closed products. That's fine, I'm OK with that.) Apple is controlling the availability of third party applications to run on the iPhone.Apple is a weird company. Because they are perceived as cool and hip, they get away with anti-competitive, monopolistic practises that no other company would get away with.
As to the XBox thing. Yeah they're censoring Xbox live for "curse words". I suspect because many parents are prudes and don't want their children exposed to foul language online while playing these games. However, Xbox isn't preventing the sale of game titles by third party developers.As a parent I'm sympathetic to the censoring of words online. I wouldn't want my son to be called a stupid motherf'er while he was trying to play a game. How effective this is, I don't know. It should be a parental control option on the console to filter out undesirable terms, and not a centrally controlled item. But maybe the Xbox code doesn't permit client side control, and only central control was implementable.
Actually, what you just described is SOP in console video game development. MS, Nintendo and Sony all control whether developers can have access to the code to develop programs, and all retain the power to restrict whether those programs will actually run on the console. (To be fair, I can't think of an example where they've actually done it.) That's really more what I was talking about with XBL -- not so much the chat censoring. The control MS exerts on downloadable apps seems equivalent to what Apple is doing.
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