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Apple is scrapping its controversial and unpopular "fucking" iPhone non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

The company said it's tearing up its existing agreement with members of the iPhone developer program and has promised a new contract minus NDA "within a week or so."

Apple's NDA has infuriated developers and frustrated authors and book publishers. The NDA has stopped individuals on Apple's developer program from publicly discussing what they are building, how it works with the iPhone, and what techniques they are using.

The upshot is that people are "officially" not exchanging tips and tricks, publishers are being forced to cancel otherwise helpful books, and black market advice is thriving.

Apple attributed its U-turn to the inconvenience it was placing on people and businesses, and the damage this could cause to the iPhone's future chances of success.

"The NDA has created too much of a burden on developers, authors, and others interested in helping further the iPhone's success, so we are dropping it for released software," Apple said.

The company said it devised the NDA to "protect the iPhone from being ripped off by others."

"We put the NDA in place because the iPhone OS includes many Apple inventions and innovations that we would like to protect, so that others don't steal our work. It has happened before," Apple said.

The about face comes, though, as mobile giant Nokia gears up for the release of its own touch-screen-based alternative, with other incumbents sure to follow. Apple clearly needed to lift restrictions that would otherwise have sent software developers to rival devices.

It is unclear whether Apple will also lift the current restriction that prevents other big vendors' software - notably Adobe Systems' Flash Player and Sun Microsystems' Java Virtual Machine (JVM) - from running on the iPhone. ®

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