back to article Steve Jobs – Apple's not business, it's personal

For Steve Jobs, it's not business. It's personal. This week, during a rare public chat at a conference in Southern California, the Apple boss let slip that a sweeping change to the iPhone SDK terms of service was made in a very personal fit of anger — a fit that lingers, more than four months on. The change was made in …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Chris Hatfield

    Steve didn't mince his words this time

    Watch this - it's entertaining (whether you are a "hater" or an Apple fanboi)

    Based on this video, I think it's fair to say he's pissed off at Gizmodo too!1!

  2. Chris Hatfield

    Wow, this is ultra-ultra-rare. Also, he's very thin

    This is very interesting.

    Is it just me or does Steve look ill, like he's dying. Or is that just age? (I'm not intending to be unkind, just curious)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Dead Vulture

      Re: Is it just me or does Steve look ill, like he's dying.

      Me thinks it's time to sell Apple stock.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        I think they have succession plans..

        It would be extremely silly if they didn't. However, the problem with succession is when to trigger it, because the markets will always draw a conclusion one way or the other, and Apple is at present a one-man controlled company, like MS was.

        It depends on how well Jobs chooses his successor, and how he brings he or she into the limelight - not easy. If he finds someone with the same drive and principles it would be a good idea to pick up the stock while it dips. However, the wrong choice will turn the company slowly into an also-ran, a bit like MS has lost the last vestiges of drive. You don't just need someone with drive and (in the case of MS) an ability to BS, you also need someone with genuine vision - innovation isn't easy if the boss doesn't see it..

  3. EWI

    Give the guy a break?

    First he had the Mac OS stolen out from under him with Microsoft's Windows, and now he has umpteen parasites copying everything Apple creates in the mobile space literally as soon as it becomes known.

    So yeah, he has a right to be pissed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      He has the right to be annoyed, yes. But his knee jerk reactions help no one but Apple and cause untold problems for the vast majority of "law abiding" developers.

      He should stop acting like a 5 year old before he alienates everybody.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        @AC - re: annoyed

        Yeah, because it's all about the developers. Put the user first, as Apple does and things will make more sense.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      >and now he has umpteen parasites copying everything Apple creates in the mobile space literally as soon as it becomes known.

      Yep, its just not fair. How can you compete in a market where people steal your ideas years before you have them. Nokia, HTC et al and their pesky time-machines.....b6s.

    3. Lance 3


      Nokia filed a lawsuit against Apple and Apple responded.

      "Apple described, in its filing on Friday, negotiations that date from 2007 -- including Nokia's royalty offers, which at one point rose three-fold"

      Nokia requested the current going rate and Apple refused, so Nokia upped the price as the iPhoney was already on the market. The response that Apple provided stated that the Nokia patents are essential in manufacturing mobile phone. So Apple has admitted that they have stolen from Nokia. So who copied who first? Apple copied Nokia first and foremost.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        A right to be pissed, but needs to grow up if hes going to keep running the company. Its unproffesional and is causing problems now he is in a world beyond selling shiny boxes (that admitidly worked well) to a small market. He is going to distroy apple if he carries on like this.

      2. Wallyb132


        I think you missed the punchline there Lance 3, and incase you didnt, maybe you should consider some form of exotic stress relief.

        The whole thing about Nokia / HTC stealing st. steves ideas "before he has them" combine with the "time machine" remark might lead one to believe that the entire statement made by AC - 02:59 was made in jest, poking fun at the situation, its a little known behavioral characteristic we like to call humor..

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @ Wallyb132

          ...or - a simpler explanation - both AC and Lance 3's comments were awaiting moderation at the same time. So no sense of humour failure, just a conclusion being jumped to by you.

    4. James Melody
      Jobs Horns

      Apple Stole MAC OS

      LOL - Microsoft didn't steal MAC OS.

      Both of Apple and Microsoft STOLE it from Xerox.

      1. John I'm only dancing

        That old chestnut

        Not worthy of comment really, except get your 'facts' straight regarding Apple and Xerox.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Damn right

          Apple didn't steal anything from Xerox: they just head-hunted the Xerox team's key people and let them do whatever they wanted, so long as the result was very, very similar to the Xerox Star OS.

          Not stealing, just drawing heavy inspiration from your former employer...

          To be fair, Xerox basically asked for it by neither licencing the Star system, nor exploiting it themselves, or even releasing the source code for everyone to use. They repeated the same blunder with Smalltalk, which is why we're lumbered with Java and garbage like C++ today.

          So, although I absolutely do believe that Lisa/Mac was a rip-off, it was one that had to happen because Xerox were clearly clueless about what to do with their inventions. If Apple could find a way to deliver those ideas to the user again (as they used to with products like HyperCard) then I'd buy one in an instant.

          But Jobs' control-freakery has totally overcome him and the idea of empowering developers is now anathema to him. And if he's scared of empowering developers, what chance do mere users have? Basically, they can buy the car with the welded bonnet and like it or they can jump off a cliff as far as Jobs is concerned.

      2. Doug Glass


        Not recognizing it's true value and believing it to be useless.......Xerox basically gave it away.

      3. Giles Jones Gold badge


        Apple licenced Xerox Parcs software.

        It was Microsoft that stole it.

        "The original Macintosh system software was partially based on the Lisa OS, previously released by Apple for the Lisa computer in 1983 and, as part of an agreement allowing Xerox to buy shares in Apple at a favorable rate, it also used concepts from the Xerox PARC Xerox Alto, which Steve Jobs and several other Macintosh team members had previewed."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          It's not as simple as that. Apple did give Xerox shares to have a tour and take "inspiration" from what they saw. They got no code, only ideas. Ideas that they later hired ex-Xerox staff to develop. Xerox clearly had no idea what they were doing or what they had invented in either the WIMP interface or Smalltalk programming system. They never formally licensed any specific technology, at least not until it was far too late to get into the market they had facilitated.

          In a similar manner, MS were allowed access to the early Macs, including source code, from which they got a lot of ideas for Windows. But, as with Mac Vs Star/Alto, there was no expectation on the part of the demonstrating side that this should result in a clone of any sort.

          Neither Xerox or Apple has any real grounds for complaint, IMO. Users, on the other hand probably do.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that all he did?

    I'm surprised that Apple didn't revoke Furry's development license. I would have if I were Steve. But I'm not.

    1. M Gale


      Yiff in hell.


      Sent from my iPhone.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "First he had the Mac OS stolen out from under him with Microsoft's Windows"

    Don't trot that old chesnut out again. Apple assisted Microsoft (unintenionally) by waving the big stick at DR's GEM, hey presto MS's serious competitor is nobbled by Apple. No sympathy.

    1. Doug Glass

      Let Us Not Forget ...

      ... Microsoft gave Apple $millions to stay in business. Not exactly a purely goodwill gesture, but MS did keep Apple alive for whatever reason.

      1. Cliff


        If you have a competitor you get an easier ride from the monopolies people ;-)

        Oh, and it meant being able to sell Office for the platform, just for a few more copies

  6. Anonymous Coward


    "Apple has banned all device data collection — whether permission is asked or not"

    Why would any software need to send information about the device it's on, where it is located etc? The software can detect that itself if it needs to, surely? The only other reason I can think of is simply *spamtastic*

    1. Dave Gomm

      what about anti-theft apps ?

      There are a number of anti-theft apps out there that combine device and location information to make stolen devices tracable, does this ban affect those ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Where's the OS??

      Why isn't the OS complaining when "rogue" software is trying to access this information?

    3. James Henstridge

      Uses for device data

      Each generation of the hardware has introduced new features. Lets say you want to do something in your software that will only work in the latest generation or two (or may be much less useful on older devices). It would be useful to know how many of your users will actually be able to take advantage of the feature.

      Now snooping on the users location seems much less justifiable. What legitimate reason would you have to collect data at a resolution that would allow you to identify users as working in a particular building?

      1. Rob

        Location data...

        ... from an analytics point of view is probably only initally zero'd down to say a post/zip code area so that the company collecting the data can place the user in an ABC group. In this instance though they probably saw some device data that was extremely interesting and decided to narrow it down even further.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    this is business and if you think that protecting intellectual property is acting like 5 yo, then i think you should express your frustration in your own blog. maybe someone will give a damn.

    I know that some in here don't put forward constructive ideas. the majority of ElReg commentators would down vote anything coming from apple or Steve jobs for that matter without giving it a proper thought and some aren't even hiding their childish reasoning.

    You were proved wrong more than once about what apple can do. so if you want to sound like a "know it all" then be consistent and less bias.

    the difference between apple and those bashing it is quite simple. one is moving one and the other is barking.

    i chose to be on the side of those who work in producing innovative products as opposed to pointless whiners.

    1. MacroRodent
      Thumb Down


      "... protecting intellectual property is acting like 5 yo, ..."

      It's one thing to act to protect intellectual property, another to try to protect it like a 5-year old...

      This is part of a trend. At this point, sane software companies should consider whether it is in their interests to develop for a platform whose terms change at the whims of its CEO. Man-years of work can go down the toilet just because Jobs does not like it.... It's the only platform with this kind of risk.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        Or you can go develop for increasing versions of Android handsets, all with seriously fewer numbers than the iPhone.

        It's not great that someone's development effort might go unmarketed and unsold, but the reasons are that Apple puts the user first, not the developer. If you want to work with a company that puts developers first, go back to the 90s and work with Microsoft products.

        1. JBH

          Erm... isn't Android outselling the iPhone?

          At least it was the last time I checked.

          I think you might need to re-think who has the bigger platform.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Kam @ Apple

      Which AC were you pointing your insightful, yet equally barking, remarks at?

      Its always funny when people make accusations of bias. You are quite correct in that people will down vote a postive comment about apple in a heart beat. Ironically, they will also downvote a negative one just as much (and I know this from experience).

      Given that the two reactions appear to be fairly balanced I dont think there is a majority pro- or anti-apple stance here. On the other hand, if you make an ill informed, ranting diatribe type comment you will get downvotes with or without a reference to apple.

      However, I await your "constructive ideas."

    3. ACDef01


      "i chose to be on the side of those who work in producing innovative products as opposed to pointless whiners."

      So that means you'd be against a multi-national hardware manufacturer stifling software innovation on their device by creating chaos for (what essentially are) their business partners.

      If App developers don't know what is, and what is not allowed on the device from one day to the next how can they possibly make any investment decisions? Small, innovative companies can be effectively destroyed because Apple have not sat down and properly thought through the consequences of their actions.

      That's all that people want...for Apple to behave like a responsible, mature corporation, that treats its business partners with the same respect that Apple expects from them.

    4. Doug Glass


      You gotta be kidding. Your god just said it was NOT business but was personal. Can't you guys even read?

  8. SpoodyGoon

    Please stop for the love of your god stop

    Don't care, unfrendly to developers, end

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      And as a consumer a company that puts *me* first above everything else, that's the company who will get my hard earned money.

      ME - the consumer. I'm the important one, not you, or anyone else.

      1. JBH
        Thumb Down

        Me me me? Wrong!

        I think you'll find that the most important people in any business (Apple included) are its shareholders.

        If I had Apple stock, I'd be bloody furious with all their wonky business decisions!

  9. Anonymous Coward


    I'm pissed off about this, too. How dare a company -- any company -- demand to embed something that collects data about what I am doing, without telling me, as a consumer, first? That is totally no go.

    I, the consumer, have a right to privacy (guaranteed to me by my home country's constitution). No company, anywhere, has the right to collect my data without my express, written consent. Data meaning anything detailing what I do online, offline or wherever else. Flurry are completely ignoring my rights. Toss them into the bottomless pit, sue them unto the seventh generation, destroy those ****holes. I want my privacy, and I shall fight to keep it.

    Eternal vigilance may be the price for freedom, but the price for what Flurry and their likes (there are many!) are trying to do should be long, long personal suffering... and maybe, if they repent, a merciful death.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: AC @ 2:59 GMT - Actually...

      ACTUALLY --- you probably gave them your consent when you clicked "agree" on that license agreement... Well, you DID read it first, didn't you? No? Shame on you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yeah, down with Google. Oh, you're talking about another company that takes your privacy.

      1. Daniel 1

        Are you new here?

        "Yeah, down with Google. Oh, you're talking about another company that takes your privacy."

        No, you don't get it. The rule, here, is that, if it's Google, randomly collecting stray bits of unencrypted data as they drive by, then they are an evil, advert-driven, monster. If it's some Chicken-shit developer in San Francisco who makes snoop software, for a device that most of the readers have an obsession about not-owning, then he's a hero, and a champion of truth.

        After all, if people weren't obessed with leaking rumours about possible devices - to people who are obsessed with expresing why they won't own one of those devices - websites like the register would have less to report about, and, thus, less space to attach advertising to. (And people whose business is based around selling advertising are Good People, right?)

        I'm sure if you go and look for it, you'll find there's a Wikipedia entry on "How To Read the Register and Maintain All Your Delusions at the Same Time".

        1. Ben Tasker


          "How to Read the Register and Maintain All Your Delusions at the Same Time"

          Creating it now, honest!

  10. Eddy Ito
    Big Brother

    I hate that too

    Me thinks Señor Jobs doesn't like the Hermano Mayor style competition. Could it be Jobs is, in secret, Winston Smith? I'm feeling faint, mas tequila camarera!

  11. Spoonguard
    Jobs Horns

    Appleing security

    So iPads allowed apps to clandestinely collect and send information about their location and whatever, and now they can't because Apple couldn't keep their internal development private. Can someone explain how I am supposed to trust Apple devices with my private infomation when their entire security effort seems to consist only as a policy document?

    Sent from my Android

    1. Mike Bell


      "how I am supposed to trust Apple devices with my private infomation when their entire security effort seems to consist only as a policy document?"

      That's a good question. As an Android user, you will know that when you install any 3rd party software on your device, you are given clear notice of the permissions that the app may request of the OS before the install is allowed, in the form of a small checklist: Grabbing your location, posting info back to the internet, that kind of thing.

      There are perfectly legitimate reasons why an app might need to communicate where you are to a remote server, but users need to be informed of and give their content to such functionality in a clear, familiar and unambiguous manner.

      If Steve has his way, your IPad will be phoning home to Cupertino as a matter of course when you are out and about, with the intent of serving targeted ads up to you. And judging by their recent patent applications they want to be the only ones in the world allowed to do this.

      But that's alright isn't it, because it's Apple doing the snooping and - coincidentally - coining in the revenue.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @Mike Bell

        Where do you think these ads will be served? On the homescreen? Get real. Do you have any proof that the iPad is going to be giving iPad owners the "backdoor google"?

    2. Doug Glass

      " I am supposed to trust Apple devices with my private infomation ..."

      Because the god said to and when he speaks and commands ... you obey. You don't think, you don't collect $200 you just do as you're told. Simple.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "if someone gets their iphone/ipad stolen we would prefer they buy a new one rather than be able to find the old one"

    1. PsychicMonkey
      Jobs Horns

      so long as

      it doesn't happen more than4 times. Thats the life time limit......

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Thou has

    angered the Steve. Fear the rrath of steve he shall be angry and have hissy fits for decades to come and all that like his products shall suffer the wrate.




  14. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    Steve Jobs is turning into the Robert Mugabe of the computing world :)

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Not quite

      He isn't beheading anyone.

      He's just managing a multinational in the same manner as a hissy-fit-prone 6-year-old would.

      I'm just thankful I don't have any Apple stock.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        I'm just thankful I don't have any Apple stock.

        I'm thankful I do. And maturing nicely it is.

        Not many BIG tech companies have gone from $10 to over $200 in the same amount of time as apple (6 years - I've owned for 5), and still climbing. I don't need to be an Apple product owner/lover to realise a good investment; afterall - just ask the shareholders of BTI for example - betcha the vast majority of them don't smoke...And that's been a solid investment (complete with dividend), recessions aside.

        Obviously this is a sign that Saint Steve:

        - is a raving bipolar lunatic

        - has crap products that nobody wants

        - has the business acumen of a squashed apricot.

        If this is what hissy-fitting 6 years old can do, I think it's right there's a conspiracy to destroy their free will and creativity with things like education & puberty...otherwise we'd all be out of jobs. :-)

        Cue the down-voters for their denial that as a business-man, Steve might actually have done alright. Well, it's your loss...I'm off to drool over the ever increasing AAPL price and the kid's education it'll pay for.

    2. Mick F


      you mean - Our Dear Leader (Skeletor)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    am i the only one

    that has an image of steve sitting in a air propelled silver chair in his 'secret lair' working on his 'secret stuff' while a mini-steve and frau farbissna are quarreling over who get to eat the last chocolate cookie ? Meanwhile number two is rolling his eye and contemplating how on earth he will get sharks with friggin laserbeams attached to their head to destroy adobe...

    look its simple : just make a developer agreement that they can only use API's and libraries provided by apple or their own code. Self made code must be subjected to apple and will be scrutinized. As a developer you can not use any third party library or compiled non-apple app. . Game over. then it s simple, and this whole mess will become self solving.

    has anyonw cracked that adobe semaphore thing yet ? my two cents says the message now reads 'Apple sucks'.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self made code scrutinized

      Wait - I thought that was the whole reason for submitting your Apps for approval to Apple? That's why they have to be written in Objective C, right? So they can be reviewed for best practices, security, et al in a coherent way by Apple's App Police?

      You mean to tell me its all done by a program that only looks for what its told to look for? And no one has the manual for this black box anymore?

      So many things explained...

    2. Chris Seiter

      Semaphore cracked in 2007

  16. jake Silver badge

    Who runs Apple's campus security?

    Why wasn't this caught before (or at) the border routers before the data could be leaked? I mean, c'mon, when you have "top secret" corporate intel on new product, surely it shouldn't be connected directly to the internet at large? If it was my network, all such traffic would be going thru' a proxy that sanitized the data *IF* I allowed it to actually access the raw Internet.

    Methinks it's a publicity stunt ... and/or Apple's security staff is incompetent.

  17. baswell

    Blame the world...

    So his Steveness decides to test a new super-secret device on the open internet and expects nobody to find out?

    He should be mad at himself for not putting firewalls up to block sending data to ad and analytics networks. He should be mad at himself for not having these beta devices have device identifiers that are the same as existing hardware. He should be mad at himself for not going to Flurry before hand and say look: "We understand what you are doing, but if you detect any new devices, can you just keep them quiet? Thanks."

    But no, he blames the world.

    The "private" data Flurry collects for developers is no different to standard web stats: device type, unique users, page flow. There is nothing that identifies anyone personally.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Not quite

      Apple has enabled facilities that go beyond what is normally accessible, and the only thing Apple should kick itself for is that they didn't seal those features better behind a user preference.

      However, it *is* sometimes useful to give your location or other data as long as it remains your choice, that's the whole idea of privacy. What happened here was that someone did not follow the rules. Bad on Apple for not spotting that earlier, bad on Flurry for ignoring what they were clearly told.

      And, legally, bad on Flurry alone. In Europe and the UK this would be a privacy violation.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    There you have it

    He's confirmed what we all knew anyway.

    This is what happens when a multi-billion dollar company is effectively owned and run by one individual. Confusion about direction is reduced, but that individual's whims then dictate that company's policies, which could one day make or break it.

    Time will tell.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re:There you have it

      It's also what happens when a company is run by someone who runs the company based on emotion and he throws a hissy fit about something. I'm sure plenty of the Apple fan club will defend Steve no matter what he does though so it makes no difference.

  19. gautam

    He's gone

    As mentioned before by me, Steve's lost the plot. Its all personal and when he's gone, Apple's gone too!

    Cant Wall street do anything about this corporation which is run tyrannically by one man? Steve wielding too much control ? Sure, thats an understatement. What is the board of directors doing there? Who;s responsible for what? No one knows, shrouded in secrecy, I guess.

    He's raised the bar, sure. BUt thats where it will end.

    Dont you think this control freakery is getting too far?

    Hes admitted it now, Its personal.

    1. Malcolm 1

      Why would Wall St care?

      Apple are currently making money hand over fist. Apart from the reluctance to hand out a dividend from their massive pile of cash, what cause for criticism of Steve Jobs do Apple shareholders currently have?

      I'm not a huge fan of Apple, but I respect what they do, and frankly more companies should have true characters at the helm - it makes things far more entertaining for the rest of us.

      1. jake Silver badge


        Cause for criticism? As an investor, the P/E ratio of AAPL (over 25 as I type) gives one cause to pause. When the crash happens, it's gonna be spectacular :-)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Howard Hughes

    Said it before and ill say it again. Hes going the way of Howard Hughes.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      He's actually mellowed out some with age. Scary, ain't it?

  21. Ben Tasker

    Steve Jobs

    Personally, I think the man is a meglomaniac, a control freak, and generally a childish nob. But, despite my best efforts, I just can't hold the following against him;

    "his (well-documented) obsession with his personal privacy."

    The article makes the obsession sound like a bad thing, everyone has a right to a private life (in fact I wish fewer people would try to make their whole life public)

    As for the rest of the story, it's quite concerning that one man is able to make a decision, in anger, that affects all users and developers

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      If it wasn't for his high standards the device wouldn't have been anywhere near as successful.

      If only other companies had people at the top who expect something exceptional from their staff.

  22. alwarming
    Thumb Up

    I don't own a single apple device...

    ... but I have no doubt in my mind that the (tech) world is a better place coz of Apple. And Apple wouldn't be Apple without Jobs.

    Do I like Apple's "rules book" for developers (&customers) ? Not really.

    Do I think he is insensitive to developers who are part of his ecosystem ? Yes, many times.

    Net-net, do I want him/Apple to continue making similar products ? For sure.


    PS: Why don't I own a single Apple device - since I don't seem to hate them (talk of black & white thinking) ? To *me*, they are not worth my money, yet. (Probably I need to make more money - I don't doubt the value they bring).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My only disappointment... that a CEO has to experience this intrusion personally in order to realise it's a bid thing. I wish the same could happen for Eric "If-you-have-something-that-you-don't-want-anyone-to-know-maybe-you-shouldn't-be-doing-it-in-the-first-place" Schmidt.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Love him, hate him...

    Well like the saying goes whether you do or you don't you do have to admire his business acumen and his drive & passion.

    I am not a big fan of Jobs, not a Mac user have in fact always treated Macs with disdain as they were tools for the niche audio/visual and trendsetter markets but I do like the Jesusphone and what’s not to like about the ole iPod.

    So perhaps not all business acumen there is certainly a lot of advertising/marketing and good technology in the product but at the end of the day the bottom line is he is making an absolute truckload of cash for Apple shareholders.

    1. mulder

      no cash for shareholders

      apple has not payed any divident for ages

      1. Anonymous Coward


        It's not unusual at all for tech companies to pay no dividends - the increasing share price is return enough, and in Apple's case 10x in 10 years or something like that is extraordinary. The cash they would pay in dividends in supposed to go into R&D.

      2. Giles Jones Gold badge

        So what?

        Microsoft didnt pay dividends until recently. Microsoft pays hardly any tax in the EU and US:

  25. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    System type and location.

    So how does Flurry Analytics work? I don't know, but I can make a wild guess.

    On casual inspection, the Browser User Agent string (unless changed or obscured) will give you a reasonable idea of the browser and OS being used, and the IP address of the device/NAT gateway will in give away the identity of the company for anyone who has a fixed IP range registered with IANA (Apple appear to own the class A address "17", and with a little digging, it should be possible to work out which of several probable gateways on the "17" network a device is connecting from).

    This will allow you a good guess of company, location and device type. If you happen to have access to a web site that is being visited (say, Google, or one of the banner advert sites), then you can drop tracking cookies in the browser to make a stab at tracking individual systems.

    OK, I admit that this is a simplistic view, but this is the result of a five minute think over a cup of tea. If someone with real forensic networking skills applied all of their knowledge, I'm sure that you could get much more information, and this is without dropping a single piece of code on the system. Allowing yourself to use a java applet (OK, not on an iPad) would almost certainly allow you to find out much more about the system running the code.

    Chances Steve is just p*ssed about his developers not obscuring the User Agent string!

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: System type and location.

      @Peter Gathercole,

      Actually, it is a programming library that App developers can include in their code that will automatically extract the necessary information from the device and surreptitiously send it to the system.

      Developers get a nice check based on the traffic they send to Flurry, along with statistical information on the usage of their App. The price, as you can imagine, is the quietly "selling" the identifying and geolocating information of the users without his knowledge.

      Users were never in the equation. They not only were not given the chance to allow or decline such information, they also were not given the opportunity to reject the application at the point of purchase, by withholding this particular fact.

      Sure, Steve Jobs was primarily pissed off because of the leaked secret device information, but he also made it a point to mention that the privacy violation greatly disturbed him too.


  26. Otto von Humpenstumpf

    What nobody has asked... how the app containing the Flurry code actually ended up on a prototype device.

    Whilst there is no excuse for an analytics firm not to ask the user if it's okay to send data (as iSteve pointed out), I'd suggest Apple get their house (or in this case, their R&D department) in order first.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Real-World Testing

      Part of the "real-world testing" phase is to test the device with real-world apps. In other words, install apps that people use. Apps that contain analytics code.

    2. Doshu


      ... they had no idea at the time what information the flurry code sent out -- it would seem that Apple isn't as rigorous in testing new apps as previously indicated (or at least they weren't before the whole flurry hubbub).

      1. Cliff

        packet inspection?

        Make sure the traffic you see is what you expect to see?

  27. Asgard
    Big Brother

    "We thought: What the hell?" ... then I thought: What the hell?!

    @"banned the use of all analytics services that collect device data — in any way"

    That's one rule for them and a different rule for everyone else. Apple want to control and spy on user data (like so many companies these days) but they don't want anyone else to spy on their data. (Of course its never called spying, its instead called things like "marketing data", "user data mining", "a service" and other two faced expressions intentionally used to make us fail to see its really based on spying).

    Its interesting how companies so often have this spying Cognitive Dissonance in what they say, when you get down to the details of what they are doing. It shows even they don't really believe what they are doing is right, so they know deep down, when they are trying to convince people, they are really lying to people and trying to manipulate them.

    Apple are not the worst in this of course, (so many companies are trying to gain access to user data these days its getting impossible to count them all), but what really gets me their sickening two faced hypocrisy.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Jobs Horns

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Presumably they were testing approved iPhone apps on the iPad for compatibility and some apps had the analyitics library in them, and oddly enough before this incident it never bothered His Jobsness before that users' data was being collected.

  28. Doug Glass

    "Steve Jobs – Apple's not business, it's personal"

    So are stinky feet, impotence, and incontinence. Move along, nothing to see here. Move along. Go back to your homes. Move along.

  29. Dan Herd
    Jobs Horns

    From The Day Today

    in the episode where the scientist Travis Daveley has reanimated a corpse to execute the guy who killed him is being interviewed by Barbara Wintergreen.

    Travis Daveley: I have this little dream whereby there's this whole village of reanimated corpses, and if you like, a kind of control tower at the centre of that village with a bank of monitors, and I control all the corpses.

    Barbara Wintergreen: Why use corpses? Why not normal people? Why don't you just leave things the way they are?

    Daveley: Because, because normal people... because I wouldn't have my tower. I want a tower.

    Jobs is Daveley isn't he?

  30. Tim Almond


    "As mentioned before by me, Steve's lost the plot. Its all personal and when he's gone, Apple's gone too!

    Cant Wall street do anything about this corporation which is run tyrannically by one man? Steve wielding too much control ? Sure, thats an understatement."

    Right now, they see him as a Willy Wonka that they don't understand. But the sales are good, so they don't care. The question isn't just about his health, it's also about whether Apple can sustain their growth. I think we're close to the point where smartphones are not going to be adding much more (and that's not just Apple but Android too). Faster processors, more storage, but the big leap of innovation is over. It could be that we're going to go into a similar phase with PCs where they become more mainstream and it becomes about cost cutting, with the likes of HTC being the new Dell. And maybe Apple will go into another fallow period until some new technology appears.

  31. Adam T
    Thumb Up

    Good on him

    I say good on him. There's not many CEOs with the balls to make real decisions and admit they were done in anger. This is a far cry from the "no comment" Apple that we usually hear about.

    Privacy advocates will rejoice, and developers will huff and puff. At the end of the day, this came about because Flurry couldn't keep their knickers on.

    There are plenty of critical voices in the comments, but what would the critics do in his position? (not just as a boss, but a boss of an effin big company with lots of secrets going on). Let me guess, the same thing, but just not tell anyone about it? Which takes me to my first point...

  32. JDX Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    I remember this...

    Reg covered that story a few months back and I remember thinking:

    a)How cool it was that they managed to do this

    b)How rarely we realise just how much data about us is available to anyone who cares to look.=

  33. Anonymous Coward

    missing the point?

    I do like the way the story is about Steve Jobs pulling rank rather than a data-collecting swarm showing off that they know all about us...:p

  34. Hans 1
    Jobs Halo

    Jobs is right

    I hate to say it ...but:

    1. Apple tests its devices with real-world apps - not something you can say from the jokers in Redmond. Apparently, this is something you can integrate into your app on the apple store to analyze usage of your app - so the maker of light-saber app adds it to his app to gather usage stats...

    2. This company is not only STEALING information (Not asking, which is light-saber dev's fault), but LOOKING AT IT (should never have happened, data for light-saber is for light-saber dev, only) and worse of all, PUBLISHING IT. They should get sued until they die ... Remember, they claim to provide developers with usage info ... fair enough, but why do they inspect said info, they should not? and publish it?

    3. Jobs is right, I do not want my light-saber app to report which iphone I have and where I am. Imagine, they identify Chris Martin's iphone and prop a line on facebook, twatter, or something ... within minutes that guy will be surrounded by fanatic females ....

    Hate to use the jobsian Culty iCon ... but this time, he is right!

    DISCLAIMER: I do not think the light-saber app uses this, I used that name because it is a famous app, just as an example!!!!!

  35. spaceprobe

    creativity makes the world go around

    Acting like a five year old, can't Wall Street do anything, tantrums, moods, anger...

    If their CEO were a suit-wearing, emotionless, bottom-line obsessed, clone businessman Apple wouldn't exist now. Or if it did, it's and everyone else's products would be the bland beige boxes they were in the 80s.

    As he is, Jobs injects creativity and passion and drives Apple to produce iWants that make the high technology they exploit invisible to the user. If it wasn't for Jobs and Apple setting the pace, your PC wouldn't even have windows by now, we'd all still be using parallel ports and ribbon cables, and the floppy would still be king.

    Reminds me of a client who dropped me because I was "a bit late, a bit scruffy and never wore a tie" (I never even wear a real shirt). She did manage to find a designer who wore a suit and always turned up on time, but the ads and packaging he designed were dull, looked like everyone else's and didn't work... She came back; I'm later than ever and charge her more because she pissed me off.

    Passion is a good thing.

  36. rcdicky

    I can't blame him...

    for wanting to keep new devices they're developing secret.

    Seems a bit nuts that a lot of people posting on here can't either.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Lack of understanding....

    It has nothing to do really with them even FINDING OUT about it. It mainly has to do with someone using background processes to send information about the user, device, etc. back to this Flurry place.

    Should they lock the devices down more when testing, YES. Can they expect complete privacy in this day and age of TECH, NO. If they do, then they're naive.

    As some have said: "I'm sure the Apple fanbois will side with [them]"

    Well, not really siding with them. But, they were trying to keep the user's information PRIVATE. Shouldn't we be a bit more pissed off at Flurry?

    Here's a company that is actually TRYING to protect user information, (FACEBOOK), and people are complaining about Apple being run by one person, (FACEBOOK).

    I mean come on, this isn't really something that's the fault of Apple. However, the immediate precaution, as a business, would be to do what Steve decided to do. However, I still believe closing things down like they did was wrong. Hey, if someone wants extra crap on their "i" device, then let them have it! But, Flurry, at least have the decency to let them know about it!!!

    Let's get mad at someone who is actually ruining free SW, like Red Hat, who sells Enterprise, SELLS it. Or Novell, who sells SELLS SuSE. WTF?

    1. jake Silver badge


      You are confused. RedHat & Novell don't sell the OS, in fact you can get the same exact package for free. Rebranded, maybe, but the same FOSS nonetheless.

      What they are selling is support for that FOSS. There is a big difference.

  38. Toshiro
    Thumb Up

    Right thing to do...

    In this case, I think Jobs is justified.

    I wouldn't want anyone snooping around my data without my knowledge.

    I can't believe that what Flurry Analytics is doing is legal.

    1. blackworx


      ...they're doing exactly the same thing dozens of other analytics companies are doing, including Google, and it's perfectly legal. Right or wrong there is no law against it; It's up to the user to control what information they give up to the internet and, by extension, analytics companies.

      For standalone apps on devices unlikely to have a firewall allowing half-decent granularity of control this includes reading EULA's -- and what percentage of people (including Jobs' own developers) actually do that?

  39. I didn't do IT.

    All these comments and no one has said...

    ... anything about Google Apps on the Apple that pulls this information. Seriously? I would have thought El Reg Commenters would be ALL OVER this.

    Now that ALL apps are barred from pulling this information (Google Maps?), whether they ask or not, how will this affect the interaction with Apple and Google? Google collects an amazing amount of analytics that identify the user and device they are running. An iPhone/Touch using Wifi connection gets mobile targeted ads even when its on the same subnet as home PCs with similar profiles and surfing habits - and no, the home PCs don't get mobile targeted ads. Even when the same ID is logged into Gmail, etc.

    Or is this yet another instance of "do as I say, not as I do", and an indication of Apple tightening the Supreme Gatekeeper role for its walled garden ecosystem?

  40. Doc Spock

    Fix the OS. No big deal.

    "The way that they did this is they're getting developers to put their software in their apps and their software is sending out information about the device and about its geolocation and other things back to Flurry. No customer is ever asked about this. It's violating every rule in our privacy policy with our developers, and we went through the roof about this," Jobs said.

    Sorry, but this is an OS fail: if the OS does not have the capability to prevent running code from accessing sensitive information like device ID and location then the privacy failings are the fault of the OS.

    Dear Steve: Fix the OS. No big deal.

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: Fix the OS. No big deal.

      There are legitimate reasons why an application needs to access this information from the device. There is no legitimate reason why the application should send it to a third-party, especially without the user's consent.

      The Flurry code is a library which developers include within their App, and as such, even the App developer has little control over what it does. They include it for the sake of what Flurry offers in return (traffic and usage analysis, maybe even payment).

      The fact is that device identifying information is being surreptitiously extracted by a third-party library for uses which have absolutely nothing to do with the App's functionality. So, even if the user agreed to the App extracting this information as part of its usage, he still has absolutely no idea--and no way to control--that the data is being collected by a third party.


  41. Robnick

    for "their" read "stockholder"

    Steve serves the stockholders' interest very well.

  42. Geoff Smith
    Big Brother

    Does anyone read between the lines here?


    The "SJ is a megalomaniac and slowly going insane" theme may be fun, but it's tired. Move on, you've left too many other questions unanswered here.

    1) Apple included Flurry's toolkit in their SDK. In the Windows world, Flurry's toolkit would be classified as _SPYWARE_ (and we'd have at least a week's worth of gratuitous and emotionally satisfying M$ bashing).

    No mention of the spyware angle in the article. It looks like we're having an Apple bashing party, but for every possible reason except SDK embedded spyware. Odd.

    2) Since it's pretty much an industry standard practice, one would expect Apple to have required an SDK contributor, such as Flurry, to sign a non-disclosure agreement. NDA's typically include some pretty broad language prohibiting disclosure of proprietary information, including that which is unintentionally exposed by either party.

    Clearly, Flurry went off the reservation back in January, in a shameless bid for self promotion. Are they being sued for disclosing what was clearly Apple's confidential and proprietary data to the general public? If not, why not? Details please.

    3) Apple has been, /or should have been, aware of the full capabilities of Flurry's toolkit since it was first submitted for inclusion in the iPhone SDK, so they should have made the judgment call w.r.t. Apple's Privacy Policy way back when. So Apple's argument for banning the Flurry kit from the SDK is just PR BS and doesn't hold water. The real reason is clearly Apple's own corporate embarrassment at being caught helpfully(?) including a DIY spyware toolkit in their own iPhone/iPad SDK.

    Lastly, you neglect to mention that Apple's banning of Flurry's toolkit is actaully somewhat of a small victory for the "require the user to opt-in" privacy cause. Looks like they did the right thing for all the wrong reasons.

    When Joe Luser downloads an app from iTunes, I'm sure he's not thinking "was this built using the Flurry Analytics tools in the iPhone SDK?". Nah, this is Apple after all, and he can trust Apple to keep the bad stuff out of their store. Right?

    Yeah, right.


    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: Does anyone read between the lines here?

      Flurry offers a Software Development Kit for the iPhone that allows developers to integrate the analytics code with their own applications.

      The Flurry iPhone SDK is *not* part of the base iPhone OS SDK offered by Apple.


    2. Cade Metz (Written by Reg staff)

      thanks for post

      GS: Thanks for the post. You certainly make a good point on the opt-in v opt-out issue. But Flurry was not included with the iPhone SDK,

      Cade Metz

      The Reg

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Anger good ... more anger better ...

    Anger , intolerance ... and the quick hatchet-strike are much underused classical virtues. Jobs reminds us.

    Modern limp.wrist whimps and fem.dems are addicted to simpering, slobbering apologies and tedious sympathies. Negotiate oh..poo oh...pah... Long overdue to start striking_down those p*ssing us off. Cover the field of conflict (business) with gore, blood and broken bodies ... and the office with females wails of pity and terror.


    1. blackworx

      Forget to take your pills today?

      Never mind, the nice men will be along to help you soon.

  44. justkyle
    Jobs Halo

    Succession Plans for Apple

    Good to know that they are "in place."

    However; I hate to be the realist here, but look how poorly Apple did without him...

    Love him, or hate him, he did bring Apple back from the brink of extinction.

    St. Jobs, merely because he does manage to employ some people, whereas without them, what would all of the Apple employees be doing now?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like