Kickstarter is fast-becoming well-known as a website in which the public can assist budding entrepreneurial ventures in getting the starting financial boost they need (in return for prizes offered by the company or individual for the financial support), and it appears that the site was close to spawning a new success story in the technology industry… until Apple stepped in and refused to assist in the development of a multi-compatible device charger.
This occured when the Cupertino (USA)-based technology company denied company Edison Junior the right to use their exclusive ’Lightning charging technology’ (one that can only be used on Apple products) regardless of the amount that the aspirant company were willing to pay.
Startup company Edison Junior had planned to release a portable mobile device charging station (itself powered by cord or battery) compatiable with all brands of phone and tablet via USB and Apple Lightning (redesigned from Apple’s previous charging method that was controversially changed with iPhone 5), a product that would provide a more universal means of charging devices whether they were Android or Apple.
However, despite gaining $140,000 in support from the site’s members, Edison Junior have cancelled the POP (Portable Power) project after the disagreement with Apple, noting that Apple’s refusal to co-operate with smaller third-party ventures is only hurting their own prospects and customers, as Edison Junior’s CEO Jamie Siminoff recently fumed to Venture Beat: “We are pissed. I think they are being a bunch of assholes, and I think they’re hurting their customers. We would have loved to have made the product. At the same time I feel like we’re making the correct decision [in cancelling]… I’m not willing to compromise on the product [by having it incomplete].”
Apple have come out in defence of their controversial decision, claiming that the POP charger did not comply with their ‘clearly-stated guidelines’ on licencing technology to third-party products. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr said of the issues: “Our technical specifications provide clear guidelines for developing accessories and they are available to MFi licensees for free. We support accessories that integrate USB and Lightning connectors, but there were technical issues that prevented accessories from integrating 30-pin and Lightning connectors, so our guidelines did not allow this. We have been working to resolve this and have updated our guidelines to allow accessories to integrate both 30-pin and Lightning connectors to support charging.”
While the vow to work towards resolving the issue will give the POP project some hope (with reports that Apple have now changed their own-brand ‘guidlines’ on the matter and are willing to make a deal with Edison Junior), the whole situation does seem to be further proof that Apple devices are only good to be used when combined with a fleet of other official Apple products. With Android devices ever-improving feature-wise, Apple will certainly need to be looking over their shoulder and realising that their position of exclusivity in the market is not one which can hold out much longer on reputation alone…