Ten full days after the issue arose, Apple has now taken the side of their developers, and issued a letter to Lodsys ordering them to retract their notice letters that had been sent to iOS developers in recent days. Of course, the letters Lodsys was sending out, told iOS developers that they either needed to negotiate a license with Lodsys, or they would be sued for patent infringement. The patent in dispute, which is licensed by Apple, regards upgrade links and in-app purchases.
Apple’s general Counsel Bruce Sewell sent the letter, and stated that iOS developers are “undisputedly licensed” under the current license Apple has with Lodsys. If you care to read the full letter, Macworld managed to get their hands on the entire text.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball pointed out something that I had noticed with Apple’s previous two PR crises. That is, the story breaks, there is a media frenzy, then about a week later, Apple responds. Instead of releasing a stream of nonsense PR speak like other companies might, they wait, gather their thoughts, and act as decisively as the situation allows. It seemed that Apple was leaving their developers hanging, but instead they were formulating a plan.
Apple made the right move. Any platform needs a strong developer community to thrive. Besides, it would have been a PR disaster if Apple had left them swinging in the breeze. Especially with the World Wide Developers Conference right around the corner.