Developer Week in Review: Apple devs cry “gimme shelter”

Apple protects their developers, Oracle earns a few bucks, and Sony has a bad week

Another week of industry hijinks has passed, which means it must be time for another edition of the Developer Week in Review.

Apple offers some cover

App store screenshotAfter developer complaints that Apple was leaving them out to dry, in regards to the Lodsys patent threats being aimed their way, the House of Jobs stepped up to the plate and announced that they considered iOS developers to be covered by the existing licenses granted to Apple by Lodsys for in-game purchases.

This is a bit of a good-news, bad-news story from an intellectual property perspective, as it doesn’t offer any relief to non-Apple developers from the patents themselves. Apple paid off Lodsys, which in a sense increases the perceived validity of the patents. Other non-Apple-based developers (such as Valve’s Steam), could find themselves on the wrong end of a letter from Lodsys. Still, it lifts a bit of the uncertainty from the iOS space, but not all of it. Lodsys has not yet responded, and should they choose to follow an SCO model, the whole Apple development world could end up enmeshed in a long, messy lawsuit.

Speaking of which, Apple appears to be loading for bear in its various lawsuits with other smartphone makers, acquiring 200 mobile-related patents from Freescale. The have evidently decided that “he who ends the lawsuit with the most patents, wins.”

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See, I knew there was a reason they bought Sun!

Continuing our ongoing coverage of Oracle’s dismemberment of Sun’s assets, this week brought news of something that Oracle is actually keeping. Revenue on the Oracle’s acquired line of Sun hardware jumped 13% over the same quarter last year. However, since overall server sales grew by 12%, it’s not like Oracle can take much solace from the figures, especially since the former market-leader now represents a feeble 6.5% portion of the server business. “At least we didn’t lose any more market share” isn’t a particularly motivating battle cry.

At this point, Sun hardware appears to be stuck in the position that Apple used to be in — an expensive boutique brand in the minority. I have a hard time seeing Larry Ellison pulling a hardware rabbit out of his hat, the way Steve Jobs did.

Sony, security spelled backwards

Does Sony lock the doors at their main headquarters when they go home at night? Does Ryoji Chubachi leave the keys to his car in the ignition on a regular basis? That’s certainly the impression you might have of the corporate giant after the third wave of SQL-injection-based attacks struck Sony this week, this time targeting Canadian and Asian sites. Although these latest attacks are dwarfed in scope by the massive data losses suffered by the Playstation Network and Sony Online Entertainment, the continual barrage of attacks must seem like the death of 1,000 cuts to Sony by now.

More to the point, it is hard to imagine that consumers will be enthusiastic about sharing any of their personal data with Sony after a month of horrific press. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the cost of not sanitizing your input data is so high, and the effort so small, that it should practically be a capital offense to neglect it.

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