Archive for May 13, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Soghoian Files Complaint to FTC About Dropbox


The complaint alleges that at least two of Dropbox’s competitors, SpiderOak and Wuala, make security promises similiar to those of Dropbox, but actually can’t get at the data because they don’t hold the encryption keys. That means those services have to spend more on storage, because they can’t detect duplicate files stored by different users. That, according to the complaint, lets Dropbox promise total security without paying the costs, while putting its competitors at a disadvantage.

This is the same Christopher Soghoian from the Facebook/Google and boarding pass stories. I discussed the Dropbox security issue here.

Small iOS Developers Targeted Over In-App Purchase Patents

Adam C. Engst:

So what it comes down to is that Thomson, McCarron, and other iOS developers are being threatened by Lodsys for using Apple intellectual property under license from Apple, in such a fashion that they cannot even settle without violating the iOS Developer Program License Agreement. They can’t legally agree that Apple’s In App Purchase API violates Lodsys’s patents, and no matter what, there’s no way Apple would give permission for such a settlement due to the chilling effect it would have on iOS development in general.

Update (2011-05-17): Mike Lee:

If using a platform-provided API is not free from the odious weight of software patents, then software development as a cottage industry is no longer practicable. Make no mistake, Lodsys demonstrates that software patents threaten our very way of life.

Florian Mueller:

Lodsys’s position is that Apple’s license does not cover what the targeted app devs do. I have looked at the patent and I guess that the alleged infringement really relates to the commands executed by the apps themselves. I don’t know whether implementing Apple’s API inevitably leads to what the alleged infringement is about. My feeling is it’s probably not inevitable: I guess there are ways to make use of Apple’s in-app purchase API that don’t result in the fact pattern that Lodsys claims to be an infringement.

App Piracy Is a Huge Problem

Mike Cohen:

I noticed something very interesting: the number of users in Game Center and the number of users reported by Flurry Analytics were at least 3 times the total number of sales reported in iTunes Connect. At first I thought the iTunes reports were delayed, but a google search revealed that there are lots of pirated copies available. If the numbers are accurate, this means there are at least 3 or 4 times as many pirated downloads as we had legal sales.

This is after only two days of sales, and it’s a 99-cent app. Remember when people were saying that an advantage of the App Store model was that Apple would be able to prevent this? Instead, the enforced monoculture has enabled piracy and prevented developers from trying to stop it.