Apple targets GetJar in app store name battle

11 Jul 2011
Mobile Apps

Apple sends cease and desist letter to independent, free app store

Apple is once again attempting to block rival firms from using the term "app store".

The iPhone maker sent a cease and desist letter to independent application site GetJar, telling it to stop using the term "app store" - suggesting it describe its business as a "mobile download service" or an "application download service" instead.

The legal warning follows a suit with Amazon over the name of its "Appstore for Android". A judge recently refused to issue an injunction blocking Amazon from using the term, but the full case is yet to be heard.

It’s not as if we were waiting around for Apple to come up with the idea of app stores

GetJar said it will not stop using the term "app store", accusing Apple of "bullying".

"We were here long before Steve and co. We were built by developers, to help developers. Not to help sell handsets or search results," said chief marketing office Patrick Mork in a post on the GetJar blog. "In the words of Twisted Sister: 'We’re not going to take it!' Steve Jobs isn’t our dad."

The site said it started as a developers' platform in 2005, and first used the term app store in marketing material in 2009, "so it’s not as if we were waiting around for Apple to come up with the idea of app stores".

GetJar said it doesn't believe Apple is worried about competition from the much-smaller rival, as it actually redirects iPhone users to the Apple App Store. "It would be presumptuous of us to think so given the difference in size and scale that’s apparent between the two companies," Mork said. "Better yet, we don’t even compete with Apple. Nobody can on iOS as [it's] a closed ecosystem."

Closed market

The company said the cease and desist letter is the latest sign that the app market is becoming "increasingly closed".

"Its character is dictated by larger companies exercising excessive force to get bigger shares of the pie," Mork said. "For example, Android was supposed to be free and open; yet developers can’t choose their billing solution... If Apple isn’t suing Amazon, it’s suing start-ups."

Apple last week announced it had sold 15 billion apps from its store, while GetJar has sold two billion.

Apple has yet to return request for comment on this story.

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