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“Third-party developers can become a free R&D resource for Apple,” said Mark Mulligan, an independent media and technology analyst. Apple watches independent developers to see what is successful and then builds some of the ideas into its own software, he said.
Many start-ups, however, will be caught in the storm without protection, left scrambling for cover, as Apple attacks their niche.
“It is something that you always have to keep in mind,” said Gonçalo Catarino, a Portuguese iPhone developer who designed Weddar, a weather-reporting app. “Big players sometimes can be informed about what you are doing and decide it’s a good thing for them to do [themselves]. I think you have to be prepared – but not be scared. The main lesson here is always to have a back-up plan.”