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Friday, November 20, 2009, 05:45 am PT (08:45 am ET)

Steve Jobs e-mails terse response to upset Apple developer

When an emotional Mac developer wrote a lengthy e-mail about an issue to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the multi-billionaire responded succinctly via his iPhone.

Development company The Little App Factory hit a stumbling block when Apple requested they change the name of their application iPodRip, which had been around since 2003. The software, which has more than five million downloads, allows users to transfer songs from their iPod and iPhone to their computer.

Apple requested that the company change the name of the application, because it had the word iPod in it. Jon Devor, CEO of The Little App Factory, decided he would take his issue directly to Jobs who, surprisingly, replied to his note. The e-mail reportedly read:

    Change your apps name. Not that big of a deal.

    Steve

    Sent from my iPhone


In response, The Little App Factory changed the name of their software to iRip, avoiding any potential legal issues with Apple.

E-mails from Jobs, particularly short ones, are not unheard of. In 2008, the Apple co-founder told one Mac user that changes in video camera technology reduced the need for FireWire on the 13-inch MacBook.

Earlier this month, Jobs was named Fortune magazine's "CEO of the Decade" for his role in turning Apple into the most valuable company in Silicon Valley. The 54-year-old has helped his company dominate the portable music player space and change the smartphone business.

Devor's original e-mail is included in its entirety, courtesy CrunchGear:

    Dear Mr. Jobs,

    My name is John Devor and I’m the co-owner of a small Mac shareware company named The Little App Factory and a long-term Apple customer and shareholder. I doubt you’re aware but we recently received a letter from a law firm working on Apple’s behalf instructing us that we had violated several of Apple’s trademarks in our application iPodRip and asking us to cease using the name and Apple trademarks in our icons.

    We have been distributing iPodRip since 2003 with the aim of providing a method to recover music, movies and photos from iPods and iPhones in the event of a serious hardware failure on their Mac which leads to data loss. Our goal has been to provide the highest quality product coupled with the highest quality service in a bid to resolve some of the angst that is generated by such an ordeal; service befitting of an Apple product. In this department we think we have succeeded as we have approximately 6 million customers, many Apple employees, music artists and other notable people in society. In fact I’d argue that our customer service is the best of all competing applications in our niche as many of them are scams and frauds that leave Apple customers with a terrible taste in their collective mouths. We fear very much that tens of thousands of Apple customers looking to recover their own music and having heard of our product via word-of-mouth or otherwise, will instead find a product produced by one of our competitors, and will wind up the victim of a scam (one closely-named competitor charges a hidden monthly fee, for instance).

    It is quite obvious that we mean Apple no harm with the use of the name iPodRip, or of the inclusion of trademarked items in our icons, and in fact I believe that we have been providing an excellent secondary service to Apple customers that has potentially caused you many repeat clients. In fact, we are quite aware that Apple support and store staff have recommended our software on numerous occasions as far back as 2004 so we have felt that we were doing something right!

    With this in mind, we are in desperate need of some assistance and we beseech you to help us to protect our product and our shareware company, both of which we have put thousands upon thousands of hours of work into. Our company goal is to create Mac software of the highest quality with the best user experience possible. I myself dropped out of school recently to pursue a path in the Mac software industry, and you yourself have been a consistent inspiration for me.

    If there is anything at all you can do with regards to this matter, we would be most grateful.

    Best,

    John Devor