Apple punch Adobe in the nuts

The Apple vs Adobe rivalry just got very personal. With the release of the iPhone OS 4 SDK, Apple also took the opportunity to update their iPhone Developer Program License Agreement (which you need to agree to before downloading the SDK).

The relevant bit is in 3.3.1 (under APIs and Functionality) -

Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited.

There are a few 3rd party apps which compile applications for the iPhone, but this is nothing more than a thinly-veiled middle fingered salute to Adobe, whose upcoming Flash CS5 app has long since touted iPhone development as it’s flagship feature.

Apple could’ve given Adobe fair warning - the iPhone-compilation features in Flash CS5 have been known for nearly 6 months - but decided to wait until now, 3 days before Flash CS5 is due to be launched, before making it known.

It’s therefore pretty safe to assume that the timing was engineered to cause as much grief to Adobe as possible (in fact, had John Gruber not picked up on it, the new terms may have gone unnoticed until the first Flash-built iPhone apps submitted to the App Store were rejected).

It’s a ruthless move on Apple’s part but one that they are able to take. The iPhone is clearly the dominant player in the mobile market - the general public won’t care about any of this, so I can’t see this change having any effect on sales of the iPhone - and developers will always be attracted to a successful and popular platform.

The ones who should be worried are the companies that create tools for developers to build iPhone apps outside of Xcode - and the biggest and highest profile of these companies is Adobe. It’ll be interesting to see how they respond...

UPDATE : Lee Brimelow, Adobe Platform Evangelist (whatever that is), has responded.

Posted 4 years ago

Here is a great analysis of the situation -

Phil · 4 years ago

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