Last week, Apple went to Washington, D.C., to answer questions from U.S. lawmakers about consumer privacy in the mobile marketplace. The visit was triggered by the discovery that Apple's iPads and iPhones tracked and kept users' locations for up to a year, creating a step-by-step picture of users' movements. For some, the company's renowned "1984" commercial, warning of a Big Brother-like future, took on an ironic twist.
Apple's partners can also find the company, with its opaque business practices--and with CEO Steve Jobs in the role of supreme leader--uncomfortably like a Soviet-styled bureaucracy. Few know this better than app developers, especially publishers, given the stranglehold Apple has on magazines with its In-App-only subscription requirement--publishers, by the way, that know better than to get on Jobs' bad side. One Condé Nast magazine that is about to launch its app, for instance, has decided not to do a piece that might potentially offend him.