The Little App Factory

So Long and Thanks for All the iPodRip’s!

iPodRip is a product that helps iPod and iPhone users heal the pain of data loss and to this end it is a beneficial service for Apple as irate customers are generally soothed and will look more favourably upon the fruit company. In fact, over the last 6 years we have helped millions of people recover from these situations and as can be attested to from our Facebook page, we have many happy customers. To us this was a symbiotic relationship: we did our best to provide a high quality service and Apple left us alone. In fact, it worked better then that as Apple regularly recommended our product. This last fact pleased us greatly.

However, all is no longer well as for some reason Apple changed their tune 2 weeks ago. They have stated we can’t use the name iPodRip, can’t use an iPod icon (who knew?) and can’t even retain ownership over our domain names. In fact, our entire business has been thrown into turmoil as we wonder about our future revenue and whether we need to lay-off staff all the while dealing with lawyers; lawyers with very deep pockets.

Now, you may be saying that we deserve it for using Apple’s trademark but no, in Australia it doesn’t work that way. Our Trademark Act of 1995 states that if “the person uses the trade mark in good faith to indicate the intended purpose of goods” then we are not causing an infringement. When we created the name back in 2003 it was quite simple: Apple was advertising “Rip, Mix and Burn” and my software ripped your iPod back to your computer. Hence, the logical conclusion was iPodRip.

So why aren’t we fighting it then? Other than the aforementioned deep pockets, which would effectively bankrupt us before we started, we are loyal to Apple. We are all Apple customers, most of us are Apple shareholders and of course we develop for the Mac OS X platform. No, we don’t think they are doing the right thing by us or their customers but ultimately without them TLAF wouldn’t exist today.

When we look back in history at the big companies and how their slow declines started there were usually two signs: they stopped caring about the little things and their internal departments stopped talking to each other. Apple, this was a little thing but something that your support team needed and your legal department decided against. As the mismanaged App Store also proves, the beast that Apple has become is ultimately becoming unwieldy and dare I say unfriendly. Hopefully this can be changed.

To all the people who are recommended by friends to download iPodRip and run into the countless scams that will now permeate the top results on Google: we’re sorry. We wish we could stop these frauds happening but Apple has tied our hands.

To all our customers over the years, we thank you for your support and gratitude. When we can look back through all the pleasant notes you’ve left us it makes this process of rebuilding so much easier. We hope to be here in another 6 years making products that we love and that bring a smile to your face.

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