Apple made developers who wanted to write applications for the iPhone sign a non-disclosure agreement that was rigorous it even forbade them from publishing Apple's letters rejecting their app from its iTunes store. More seriously, the NDA also prevented developers from learning from each others mistakes and publishers from writing how-to manuals for would-be application developers. So after loud complaints, Apple today announced it would drop the non-disclosure agreement for released iPhone software. Developers rejoiced. Explaining the need for the NDA in the first place, Apple also landed a few only slightly veiled jabs at an old rival, Microsoft. I couldn't help but be reminded of a scene from Pirates of Silicon Valley, which I've embedded below.
We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don’t steal our work. It has happened before. While we have filed for hundreds of patents on iPhone technology, the NDA added yet another level of protection. We put it in place as one more way to help protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others.