Thursday 14 December 2017

HealthKit founder disputes Apple's use of 'HealthKit' name

A small Australian startup is "annoyed" and "let down" after Apple launched an identically-named product that does largely the same thing, allegedly without even consulting it.

HealthKit is a young company which allows its customers to store their health data online and share it with doctors or hospitals - largely the same set of features that Apple offers with its identically-named service announced earlier this week at its annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.

The company claims that Apple has not been in touch at all, either to negotiate use of the name or warn it of the announcement. We contacted Apple for comment but received no reply.

Co-founder Alison Hardacre described how she found out about the launch, writing on her company's blog: "I woke up at 4:30 am and turned to my Apple iPhone to check my emails. Someone had emailed me to ask whether Apple stomped all over your name or did we do a secret deal with them. Huh?!

"I got up and turned on my computer and checked our web stats, and discovered we had lots of people on the HealthKit site. A good thing, you'd think. No, not really. Apple liked our HealthKit idea so much that they have used our name and launched a new product called HealthKit.

"HealthKit is already in use, by us! Even the way they write it is the same as us. I'm flattered that they like our name so much and that it's a ringing endorsement for our market opportunity (which we already knew). However, as an Apple fan, I feel let down. They didn't feel that they had to do a quick domain search - it would have taken five seconds to type into their browser and discover us. Would it have made any difference to them? Are they so big that they are above doing an ordinary Google search?"

The blog post urged readers to take to Twitter and tell Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, "exactly how they feel" about the use of the name.

Technology journalist Mark Gurman, who writes for 9to5Mac, broke the news of the upcoming health-tracking service earlier this year. At the time it was called Healthbook, he claimed, and has since the launch said that he is "convinced" that the name was changed at the last minute because of the leak.

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