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This article was published on November 19, 2009

Steve Jobs To Small Developer: “Change Your Apps Name”

Steve Jobs To Small Developer: “Change Your Apps Name”
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

steve-jobs1When the Apple legal team comes down on you hard for the name of your product, what do people do in desperation? Email Steve Jobs, of course. Sometimes, he will even get back to you.

TechCrunch has surfaced an email dialogue between The Little App Factory (makers of the popular iPodRip, now iRip software), and the Jobs himself. Jobs responded by iPhone, of course.

The problem stemmed from the name of iPodRip, which contains the word “iPod,” which is a big no-no to Apple. After legal warnings from Baker & McKenzie, concerning the name and icon set the application was using, the company decided to hop up the corporate ladder.

The email from The Little App Factory to Steve Jobs, shortened some for brevity:

Dear Mr. Jobs,

My name is John Devor and I’m the co-owner of a small Mac shareware company named The Little App Factory and a long-term Apple customer and shareholder. I doubt you’re aware but we recently received a letter from a law firm working on Apple’s behalf instructing us that we had violated several of Apple’s trademarks in our application iPodRip and asking us to cease using the name and Apple trademarks in our icons.

We have been distributing iPodRip since 2003 with the aim of providing a method to recover music, movies and photos from iPods and iPhones in the event of a serious hardware failure on their Mac which leads to data loss. Our goal has been to provide the highest quality product coupled with the highest quality service in a bid to resolve some of the angst that is generated by such an ordeal; service befitting of an Apple product…..

It is quite obvious that we mean Apple no harm with the use of the name iPodRip, or of the inclusion of trademarked items in our icons, and in fact I believe that we have been providing an excellent secondary service to Apple customers that has potentially caused you many repeat clients. …..

With this in mind, we are in desperate need of some assistance and we beseech you to help us to protect our product and our shareware company, both of which we have put thousands upon thousands of hours of work into. ……

If there is anything at all you can do with regards to this matter, we would be most grateful.

Best, John Devor

I assume that many an email is sent to Steve Jobs in desperation, or annoyance, but it seems that Steve checks his messages. He got back to the team in the following  way:

Change your apps name. Not that big of a deal.


Sent from my iPhone

Following the advice from Steve, the applications have been renamed, and the icons changed. Question, if all that was requested was a name and icon change, as TechCrunch is reporting, then why did the company bother to petition Steve Jobs? It seems a small thing to change the name of the application, which they had to do anyway.

Steve said it best, it really was “not that big of a deal.” Sadly, this kind of developer support and interaction cannot be found in other areas of the Apple kingdom. Also, what is Steve Job’s email address? I have a few petitions of my own!

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