By John Gruber
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The tech slang “app” was voted the 2010 “Word of the Year” Friday by the American Dialect Society, beating out Cookie Monster’s “nom, nom, nom, nom.”
The shortened slang term for a computer or smart phone application was picked by the linguists group as the word that best sums up the country’s preoccupation last year.
I don’t think there can be any argument that Apple pioneered this usage, but it’s still just a word. That’s what we call computer applications now: apps. “Apps”, no matter who coined it, are not specific to Apple platforms.
But: Apple’s trademark application isn’t for just plain “app”. They’re asking for a trademark on “app store”. There’s a department store chain with a registered trademark for “Christmas Tree Shops”. “The Container Store” is a registered trademark. Given those, could Apple get “The App Store”?
But: I would think that I could open a store called “The Gruber Container Store”, or “The Daring Fireball Christmas Tree Shop”. I suspect that what Apple wants to block with this trademark application is something like “WebOS App Store” or “Windows Phone App Store”. So the more I think about it, the more I think Microsoft is right, that Apple shouldn’t be granted a trademark on just plain “app store”. It’s true that Microsoft has a trademark for “Windows”, but they aren’t selling actual windows. Whereas Apple’s App Store is a literal store for apps.
★ Thursday, 13 January 2011