Removing Special iPad App, Apple Snatching Disabled People’s Voice

It’s true but pathetic that sometimes industrial battle snatches someone’s happiness and smile. If that battle snatches the voice of children, then that’s more pitiful. I never thought in my life that I had to cover such a news for our readers as well as for the whole world. There are many disabled people who have difficulty in speaking. They use different types of app or synthesizer to speak clearly. Maya, a four year old girl in New York has been using an iPad app called Speak for Yourself (SfY) to communicate with the outside world. Due to industrial battle regarding ‘Patent’ issue, Apple has removed this app from its iTunes store. So children like Maya and other people who use SfY will be unable to speak, if they can’t update the app.

4 Year Old Girl Maya Uses SfY To Speak, Image Credit:

Those people who have already read the first portion of my article might have a question, “why Apple has remove the iPad App – Speak for Yourself (SfY) from its iTunes store?” Well, here’s behind the scene. Prentke Romich Company/Semantic Compaction Systems (PRC/SCS) contacted Apple and claimed that it infringes their patents and requested Apple to remove ‘Speak for Yourself’ from the iTunes store. But Apple didn’t agree with that. Therefore a case was filed and was running regarding ‘patent’ issue. When Apple saw, for months – nothing happened, then the company decided to remove the app from their store until the dispute with PRC/SCS comes to an end. Then on June 4, Apple notified SfY that the app had been removed from their store.

Ultimately, this a battle between two companies regarding the patent issue. PRC is a 46 year old company whose motto is “We Believe Everyone Deserves A Voice”. But the patent battle has endangered many people like 4 year old kid Maya. The app helps Maya to ask her parents questions, express her feelings or mode, even to say her dad ‘I Love You’ clearly. In one line, Maya can’t speak without this app. Due to the patent battle, Apple has removed the app from their store. For this, the SfY team has lost the ability to send out updates or repairs to the people who are currently using the app. Therefore, the updates of SfY can’t be downloaded. Without the update, SfY becomes useless. It means, the app might stop working. And this would no doubt let Maya and other people who are using the app unable to speak.

Maya’s parents tried other communication apps for her daughter before SfY, but they didn’t find anything that were a good match for Maya. They also examined PRC’s devices but those were not good fit for Maya too. At last, they found Apple’s app SfY which costed around $300 and Maya grabbed it instantly. Besides, they preferred SfY because it worked on an iPad, which was easier for Maya to handle and was better than a $8,000 device.

As Apple has removed the app from its iTunes store Maya’s mother, Dana Nieder, is concerned. Because so far she knows that without the update the app is useless. Therefore, she said that her daughter’s ability to speak has become a casualty of a patent battle between two industry. For her daughter, this app is not a game, rather it’s a necessary, irreplaceable voice. This is all about patent issue, a monetary issue, a legal issue, a business issue, therefore it should be handled in a business versus business way, within the court system, rather not by snatching her child’s voice. In addition, PRC’s decision to fight for the removal of this app from the iTunes store isn’t just an aggressive move against Speak for Yourself, rather it’s an attack on her and other parents’ child. No one should have the power to take this app away from her daughter.

The upsetting fact is Apple received communication from a lawyer explaining that the claims of infringement were invalid and the court had not ordered the removal of the app from the iTunes store. After all this, why Apple still removed the app from its store, that has turned into a mystery. On the other side, PRC whose motto is “We Believe Everyone Deserves A Voice” how can they reconcile their mission statement with their strategic removal of Speak for Yourself from the Apple store. Don’t they know, removal of the app from the Apple store would create problem to the current users who are using it as their only voice?

This is absolutely unconscionable. The removal of Speak for Yourself from iTunes doesn’t seem fair. Though I don’t know much about ‘patent’ or ‘patent related issues’ but considering the humanity, I, myself along with our TheTechJournal team strongly protesting this. If you guys are with us and would like to lend your voice to this fight, spread this story.

Source : Nieder Family
Thanks To : Techland

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