Tag Archives: Apple

Apple opens dictionary, abandons lawsuit over “App store”

Apple and Amazon have settled their two-year legal dispute over the term “app store.”

It’s about time common sense prevailed. Even though Apple had the gall to deny it, “app store” is as obviously descriptive of a store selling apps as “book store” is of a store selling books, or “grocery store” of a store selling groceries. Insisting on trademark protection was ridiculous.

Actually, that reminds me of the time way back when that Barnes & Noble (I think it was B&N, anyway) tried to bring a false advertising claim against Amazon for saying that they were the world’s largest book store. The idea was that since Amazon didn’t have a physical storefront, they weren’t a book store, but a book seller. I seem to recall that didn’t stick either, but took a similarly ridiculous time to settle out.

Apple: Supported After All

The other night I had to take the MacBook into the Apple store to get it checked out after a toddler-related spill. I got there for my appointment and waited…and waited…and waited….

Killing time with my Android phone felt a bit weird. If I hadn’t needed to stay close to the Genius Bar I could have at least browsed the gadgets and played with an iPad or a newer laptop with a Retina display, or something. There’s only so long you can spend looking at boxes of headphones and cases for devices you don’t own. I briefly considered reading the new Flash comic book I’d picked up earlier in the day, but thought to myself, “Nah, I bet this isn’t supported here.”

Then I saw this on the wall:

Flash at the Apple Store

Well then, I guess it’s supported after all!

App Store: Apple vs. the English Language

A few months ago, Amazon opened a section of their online store where they sell apps for Android devices. Following the same boring-but-descriptive naming scheme that Microsoft pioneered with such products as a word processor called Microsoft Word, a flight simulator called Microsoft Flight Simulator, and so forth, they call it the Amazon Appstore.

Apple, of course, is suing them for trademark infringement. Amazon’s stance: “App store” is a generic, descriptive term for a store that sells apps. Apple counters: “Is not!”

It’s a bit more eloquent than that, but look at this:

“Apple admits that the current edition of the Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘app’ as, in part, ‘[a]n application, esp. an application program,” Apple said in the court filing. “Apple further admits that the current edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary defines ‘store’ as, in part, ‘a retail establishment selling items to the public: a health-food store.'”

And the best part:

“Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words ‘app store’ together denote a store for apps,” the document said. [emphasis added]

Really? Funny, I thought that was how the English language worked.

(In the interest of full disclosure: I own an Apple laptop, and Android phone, and use Amazon’s affiliate program…but not their app store.)

Links: 1.0 Releases, Sci-Fi and Science Fact, The Missile that Wasn’t

  • Matt Mullenweg on Apple, WordPress & tech release strategy. 1.0 Is the Loneliest Number
  • Robert J. Sawyer on the relationship between science fiction and science fact: The job of sci-fi isn’t to predict “THE future,” but “to suggest a smorgasbord of possible futures, so that society may choose the one it wants.”
  • Mystery California missile turns out to be a contrail lit by sunset, seen almost end-on so that it looked vertical. The photo actually reminds me of a contrail I once saw.
  • A fun recreation of George Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jette. The photo was staged back in 2006, but I hadn’t seen it until it popped up on Reddit a few days ago. I find it amusing that people have been posting lyric fragments from Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George in notes on the photo. There’s also a side-by-side comparison of the painting and the recreation.