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Apple accused of stealing ideas from developers again

updated 07:15 pm EDT, Mon June 28, 2004

Apple stealing ideas?

Developer Arlo Rose says that Apple is stealing ideas from its developers. At WWDC today, Steve Jobs introduced Dashboard, a configuration utility that allows users to control and manage "widgets," small application that can perform any number of system, Internet, or other tasks. "While , the first utility to allow users skinable easy to create desk accessory-like objects written in JavaScript, has served as the template for Apple's new feature Dashboard."

Konfabulator, a $25 shareware application that was released last year, allows third-party developers to create "widgets" that users can download. Over 650 widgets, including games, stock quotes, calendars, clocks, etc., are available to users to Mac OS X Jaguar and Panther now.

Apple, in the past, has also been accused of taking ideas from other shareware programs, which has caused backlash from some develops. Karelia Software, producers of Watson Internet search tool, made similar accusations after Sherlock 2, released with a previous version of Mac OS X, offers virtually identical functionality. After its integration into the system, the company slowed the release of updates, and the company today announced that its technology was sold to a major developer, but did not name the buyer.

Dashboard also bears more than a passing resemblance to Panic's Stattoo utility, which mimics some of the functionality of Konfabulator and was released earlier this year.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Dame Scribble

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yeah, I must admit Dashboard looks A LOT like Konfabulator, but isn't it all open-sourced? And if so, doesn't that mean any developer-Apple included-can make an application on those standards? I'm not a developer (for good reason!), but I don't know how 'wrong' Apple is on this one.

  1. goMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Thats great but...

    They all stole from Longhorn's dashboard/widget system... Longhorn's dashboard sits on the right of the screen, and most notably has a big analog looking clock. Sound familiar?

  1. 365

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Absolute rubbish..

    There isn't an ounce of originality in Konfabulator, it's all borrowed ideas from the Windows platform, mainly an application called Object Desktop. If he feels so strongly tell him to sue through the courts.

  1. OsakaBill

    Joined: Dec 1969


    At Least...

    MS buys you out before copying your work.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    At Least... ?

    Yeah, Right.

    It really works something like this...

    Application "A" is announced and shipped.
    MS announces vaporware with the same features as application "A".
    People wait for the "real" MS version of "A" to appear.
    No one buys "A". Eventually "A" and it's developer disappear.
    MS version of "A" eventually appears or is cancelled.

    MS Wins again.

  1. jimothy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Check out Konfab site

    I originally thought that maybe Apple bought the rights to Konfab, like they did years ago with Superclock and Windowshade. Then, I went to the Konfab web site ( ), and saw this headline:

    "Cupertino, start your photocopiers! Why wait 'till 'first half of 2005' when you can get the original Dashboard now?"

    Now I gotta agree, this isn't a particularly class move on Apple's part.

  1. jimothy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Check out Konfab site

    Oh yeah, I just realized I'm lame. No need to tell me that.

  1. outZider

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A: Watson, I have no sympathy. Apple clearly stated that Sherlock was going to evolve into a tool that allowed you to search more than google and your files, and it did. Watson did it first. Apple was going to. Apple didn't steal a thing.
    B: Konfabulator has been done before, with OneClick and more. Konfabulator was the first one to do it /right/. Then the 18,000 Linux and Windows implimentations. Konfabulator can't go after Apple, because they should have gone after StarDock first. They didn't. Life goes on. I wish Konfabulator had the same autohide that Apple has. ;)

    Deep down, I'd like Apple to hand Arlo some money. On the other hand, that would be them admitting they stole anything. They lose either way.

  1. McFarmer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Remember Kaleidoscope?

    Anyone remember Kaleidoscope?

    Mac OS 8 at one point had support for themes. (Apple later back-peddled and removed theme support.) Before OS 8 was available in shops, the fact that it will have theme support was known. It was at that point that Kaleidoscope 'introduced' theme support for OS 7.
    Interesting tidbit was that Arlo Rose had worked at Apple's Human Interface Design Center beforehand. Who 'borrowed ideas' from who?

    Perhaps since those days, both Apple and Mr. Rose hold a few grudges against each other?

  1. TimmyDee51

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just a new spin

    Konfabulator is just a new spin on a very old idea. Even back in the System 6 and earlier days, Desk Accessories provided small, light-weight services to the user while letting other apps run in the mean-time. While I agree that Dashboard is very close to Konfabulator, I wouldn't think it's terribly unfair. Arlo should have gone after Panic, too, if he didn't like the competition.

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