Apple drops non-disclosure agreement for iPhone devs

In the wake of T-Mobile and Google's Android phone launch, Apple has decided to rethink its policy toward third-party iPhone developers. As DailyTech reports, Steve Jobs & Co. have lifted a "draconian" non-disclosure agreement that "didn't allow software developers to talk with one another about the software applications that they were developing or the inner workings of the iPhone software ecosystem."

Apple's has posted a message on its Developer Connection site to explain the move. The message reads in part:

We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don't steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.

However, the NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors and others interested in helping further the iPhone's success, so we are dropping it for released software. Developers will receive a new agreement without an NDA covering released software within a week or so. Please note that unreleased software and features will remain under NDA until they are released.

Assuming developers are willing to share information, the move could translate into better and more plentiful apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. By contrast, Google explicitly stated during the T-Mobile G1 launch event that developers won't need to "jump through hoops" to write custom Android applications. Google's Android SDK is freely available here along with sample apps, documentation, and developer discussion groups. (The T-Mobile G1 will hit U.S. stores on October 22 at $179.)

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