Developing Software: 101

I love people who, rather than accept the status quo, challenge it. So you can imagine my glee when I came across this article over the weekend on CNN about “illegal” iPhone app store, Cydia.

Now, I may be a bit late to the table on this post; I’m not yet an iPhone user. I am impatiently, anxiously, excitedly waiting for my Verizon Wireless contract to end (2 more months!) so I can shamelessly jump on the AT&T and iPhone bandwagon. And yes, I realize Verizon is the superior carrier . . . but the reasoning behind my switch is better suited for a separate post.

As you are probably well aware – unless you’ve been vacationing on a remote island without mobile or WiFi access for the past 2 weeks – Apple rejected the iPhone’s Google Voice app on July 28th. Cue angry mobs of blogging iPhone users.


Now, it’s a common conjecture that Apple’s rejection of Google Voice has more to do with the wishes of its exclusive carrier, AT&T than its own quibbles, but Google Voice hardly stands alone in the list of useful but rejected iPhone apps.

And this is where the unauthorized app store, Cydia has intervened. Cydia is the brainchild of developers whose apps have been deemed unfit by Apple and is operated by Jay Freeman, (handle: Saurik.) Cydia specializes in selling apps that Apple would or already has rejected or banned. The obvious catch being you need to “jailbreak” or hack into (for those of you unfamiliar with the lingo) your iPhone first before you can gain access to it.

As responsible software developers we know the most important part of our job is to create the best user experience we can for our customers. Rather than limiting the use of our product to those situations we deem fit, we want our customers to challenge us. We’d rather work around how a customer needs our software than force our customers to find a workaround that fits their needs.

And while I understand WhatsUp Gold is no where close to being as big or as well known as Apple and while I understand Apple has a lot to think about when it comes to approving and rejecting apps (though this is the closest anyone’s come to figuring out the logic behind their decisions) I can safely say WhatsUp Gold will remain customer driven and customer focused regardless of its company size.

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