September 29th, 2008 — Wordman
Apple has rejected a number of iPhone applications from their store recently, because they “duplicate functionality” of Apple applications (or, evidently, of apps Apple might write). Apple is now adding a new wrinkle: they now warn that notification of these rejections is included in non-disclosure agreements.
So, forget for a second that this whole process is stupid, bad business, insipid, and almost certainly illegal. Instead, imagine that you are a developer who gets an app rejected like this. In addition to being angry and disillusioned, you also have a problem: you now can’t tell your fans why the app they are waiting for will never come without violating the NDA. About all you can say is “we have stopped work on this application”. If anyone demands an explanation, all you can say is “we can’t tell you”.
I suggest an alternative solution. Rather than say “we can’t tell you”, explain it with a phrase that has no actual meaning whatsoever, but one that will come to be known to mean “Apple screwed us over with their idiocy but we can’t tell you that”. I offer up the following phrase (which, I must stress, has absolutely nothing to do with the iPhone, Apple or the app store, but is merely a way of stating the inexplicable): “an overabundance of doughnut gravy”. So you might say something like: “We regret to inform you that we have canceled all work on application X. We found we could not continue after suffering from an overabundance of doughnut gravy.”