Friday, December 11, 2020

Cydia Sues Apple

Juli Clover (Hacker News):

Cydia is joining a growing cadre of developers accusing Apple of anticompetitive behavior, reports The Washington Post. Cydia on Thursday sued Apple, accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to “nearly destroy Cydia” ahead of the App Store launch, which Cydia’s lawyers say has a monopoly over software distribution on iOS devices.

According to Cydia, if Apple did not have an “illegal monopoly” over iOS app distribution, users would be able to choose “how and where to locate and obtain iOS apps,” and developers would also have alternate distribution methods.


According to his estimations, more than half of early iPhone customers were jailbreaking their iPhones to use Cydia, and in 2010, 4.5 million people were searching for apps weekly.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Considering so many iOS features first appeared as jailbreak tweaks via Cydia, this is going to be a very tangled mess for Apple to prove that it didn’t unfairly copy/steal feature after feature from the jailbreak community before a court system unprepared for that kind of nuance

It’s not clear to me that’s relevant to this case, however.


I had the original iPhone, and could not have used it if Cydia and jailbreaking wasn’t around.


Update (2020-12-16): John Gruber (tweet):

The whole opening presents Cydia as straight up legit, as though being an “app store” on iPhone in 2007 had any means of working other than exploiting security vulnerabilities.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

On any other platform, Cydia would be ‘straight-up legit’. The fact that it’s “not”, on iOS, is the whole thrust of this antitrust lawsuit. And the original iPhone OS ‘security’ model involved paperclips and string.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter

Yawn. When was Cydia ever a thing? I see they're hopping on the 'Sue Apple as a business model' bandwagon. Losers.


Cydia was definitely a thing before the App Store in 2007. It was useful to learn how iOS worked before there was an official App Store. Many of the first App Store apps were developed on Cydia first. It also allowed emulators and command line utilities to be installed -- things that Apple banned.

There are many of us who would be happier if there were more than one place from which software could be installed. It doesn't surprise me that Jay Freedman would share that opinion. It is uncharitable, and potentially libellous, to claim that Cydia's lawsuit is its new business model. It seems to me that Cydia has a reasonable claim that Apple engaged in unfair competition.

@ruurd I spent 6 years making between $15k-30k selling a single product on Cydia depending on the availability and convenience of jailbreaks. I can't say I had the same luck when I tried selling things on the App Store. Many of us who were teenagers when Cydia was big started our professional development careers on Cydia, and while the popularity of jailbreaking has no doubt declined, it was definitely "a thing" that got you noticed in the industry and had a lot of job opportunities coming your way. (I foolishly turned all of them down.)

That last comment should have read "$15k-30k a year".

Yawn. When was Cydia ever a thing?

Around 2007-2010, I would say.

iOS was rather limited, the App Store was only getting started, and Cydia let you add features that are now more or less built in. Notifications were obtrusive without MobileNotifier (and weren’t stashed; you had to interact immediately) until the new slimmer style in iOS 5(?). An SBSettings equivalent didn’t come until iOS 7 in Control Center. And so on.

But, year over year, iOS got more featureful. These days, I barely see the point. I can think of things that still aren’t built into iOS and that third-party apps cannot add without a jailbreak: a modern take on Location Manager, for example. But the jailbreak community is so tiny and fractured now that good tweaks are few and far between.

All that said, as Michael says, I don’t think the usefulness is at all relevant to the suit.

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