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iPhone Developer Authors: Jason Bloomberg, William Schmarzo, Mauro Carniel, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, APM Blog

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John Deere’s Digital Transformation Runs Afoul Of Right-To-Repair Movement

When you buy a high-tech device like an iPhone, you realize much of the value is in the software, and you expect to agree to a handful of End-User License Agreements (EULAs) in order to use its apps.

Before John Deere became a software company

Before John Deere became a software company

After all, the creators of those apps have spent untold millions of dollars and person-hours creating them. They deserve to protect their intellectual property.

Smartphones, OK – but what about that tractor? John Deere is now in hot water with the ‘Right to Repair’ movement for making farmers sign EULAs in order to use their farm equipment – EULAs that prevent farmers from repairing their own gear.

There’s more to this controversy than meets the eye, however. John Deere is but one of thousands of enterprises undergoing digital transformation as it becomes a software company that runs its technology on tractors, rather than the other way around.

Background: Jailbreaking Farm Equipment

The origins of the John Deere controversy arose in the debate over ‘jailbreaking’ iPhones and other high tech devices. At issue: Apple’s right to protect its intellectual property had come into conflict with consumers’ right to run whatever software they wanted to on the smartphones they purchased.

The legal question behind this controversy centered on a part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that Congress passed in 1996. As written, DMCA criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works and also criminalizes the act of circumventing such an access control, according to Wikipedia.

However, subsequent to the passing of the DMCA, regulators took up the question of whether there should be exceptions to the law – situations where consumers might have the right to circumvent technical protection measures (TPMs) intended to protect intellectual property in certain limited situations that would also protect the rights of the intellectual property holders.

After an extensive discussion period, the US Copyright Office delineated several such exceptions in 2015, including guidelines that would allow consumers to jailbreak their smartphones. In fact, the new regulation specified 27 classes of intellectual property that the regulator would exempt from TPMs.

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Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: Ted Van Pelt.

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.