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Apple's new developer license terms simply leave no other option, says Adobe

Its been a bitter couple weeks between Apple and Adobe.  While the pair's relationship has long been icy due to Apple's lack of desire to support Flash on the iPhone, in recent weeks Apple vocally attacked Adobe and more.  

Apple's latest SDK version -- 3.3.1 -- add terms prohibiting developers from porting Flash apps to iPhone binaries.  Reads the terms:

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

That prohibition appears to ban the ports made with Adobe's CS5 iPhone linking tool.  That tool replaces Flash calls with iPhone OS X calls that yields a binary that looks almost identical to a C-language app, but was originally written in Flash.

Yesterday Adobe's Mike Chambers, Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform at Adobeannounced that the company would be officially dropping support for iPhone ports after CS5.  

Chambers makes it clear he has little respect for Apple's moves mentioning many examples of Apple's App Store restrictions and censorship.  He writes, "However, as developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at anytime, and for seemingly any reason."

Chambers expresses his frustrations as he comments about the reasoning behind Apple's move.  He writes, "The primary goal of Flash has always been to enable cross browser, platform and device development. The cool web game that you build can easily be targeted and deployed to multiple platforms and devices. However, this is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms."

He warns developers to prepare to have their apps developed in Flash to be kicked out of the iTunes store.  Many developers mention on their sites or promotional materials that they use the Flash porting tool.  That indiscretion could make Chambers prediction come true in many cases.  After all, it's hard to recognize a port via the binary, but if the developers itself has talked about porting it, it's an easy catch.

Chambers concludes, "Personally, I am going to shift all of my mobile focus from iPhone to Android based devices (I am particularly interested in the Android based tablets coming out this year) and not focus on the iPhone stuff as much anymore. This includes both Flash based, and Objective-C based iPhone development. While I actually enjoy working in Objective-C, I don’t have any current plans to update and / or maintain my existing native iPhone applications (including the AS3 Reference Guide, and Timetrocity). As I wrote previously, I think that the closed system that Apple is trying to create is bad for the industry, developers and ultimately consumers, and that is not something that I want to actively promote."

Steve Jobs has defended his stance on Adobe several times.  He say it's "buggy" and virus-prone and crashes Macs.  He's dodged the question of ports, but has alleged that the Flash platform in general leads to deficient code.

Updated 4/21/2010 @ 2:48 pm

According to CNET, Apple has responded back to Mike Chambers' comments regarding Apple and Flash. "Someone has it backwards--it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe's Flash is closed and proprietary," responded Apple spokeswoman Trudy Miller.

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RE: Drop support for OSX now also.
By amanojaku on 4/21/2010 11:52:44 AM , Rating: 0
I was gonna say the same thing this morning... And then I woke up. Graphic designers who love Adobe love their Macs more. Sure, plenty of people will follow Photoshop, CS, and everything to whatever platform is supported, but if Adobe abandons Apple it will screw over Adobe way worse. Mac fanatics WILL NOT USE WINDOWS, no matter what.

And Apple wouldn't hesitate to make its own Photoshop and CS clones.

By MrDiSante on 4/21/2010 12:27:58 PM , Rating: 4
To the best of my knowledge, Apple isn't actually capable of writing more than interface wrappers around other people's code, or at least hasn't demonstrated that ability in the past 20 years. Writing a Photoshop clone requires a lot more than that.

As well, I think you're severely underestimating the pain in the ass it is to move from one system to another when all of your staff have been trained for it, as well as all of your projects and tools. Photoshop is Photoshop whether it's on a Mac or a Windows machine. They'll wine for a bit and get used to it. GIMP or whatever else you decide to use requires significantly more training/overhead to move to.

RE: Drop support for OSX now also.
By CU on 4/21/2010 1:24:02 PM , Rating: 3
Apple couldn't re-make all of Adobe's software over night. It would take years. Not to mention how to handle all the 3rd party plugins and tools that work with Adobe's software. Will they rewrite those also? I think it would hurt Apple more than Adobe? Mac has competition ie. Windows, while Adobe doesn't have much competition. So, the designers will have to follow Adobe.

As for Mac fanatics not using windows no matter, what do they do when the go to work or school that doesn't use OSX? Or do they base thier school and job choice off of what OS they use there?

RE: Drop support for OSX now also.
By nikon133 on 4/21/2010 5:43:20 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with you. People who's work depend on Photoshop, Illustrator... would have no choice but to get them on Windows. A lot of them would probably bootcamp (or virtualize) Windows on their Macs, but at the end of the day, for most (if not every) copy of CS not sold on Mac, Adobe would sell a copy more for Windows.

I'm really hoping someone will give Apple good spanking one of these days. I know Apple is one of the wealthiest IT companies over there, but they are still only one company, and supporting one minor desktop platform (OK, and one mainstream mobile platform); for what they are, amount of bullying coming from them is really annoying.

I would really like to see some sort of coalition formed in order to teach Apple some manners. Say, Adobe and MS. They are not natural enemies - Adobe is not doing OS, Office suites nor server products, while MS is not doing design suites. Number of potential stumbling points between them is relatively low.

By PitViper007 on 4/21/2010 2:59:40 PM , Rating: 2
Mac fanatics WILL NOT USE WINDOWS, no matter what.

They will if the company they work for tells them they will, or they will find another job. The company I work for made the shift from Macs to PC about 4 years ago. There was a lot of grumbling and griping but those Mac users, many of whom had NEVER used a PC before, made the switch. Now we do still have a few Macs in house, but they are primarily for jobs coming from outside customers.

RE: Drop support for OSX now also.
By T2k on 4/21/2010 5:47:13 PM , Rating: 5
We're a viz/anim/web house and there's only one Mac here with Photoshop, the CEO's pet machine which he only uses to review stuff.
The other Mac is an old dual G5, strictly there for the web team to test compatibility.

Everybody including illustrators (running Photoshop all day long), animators, compositors etc they all work on Windows - as a matter of fact the software choices on OS X are simply laughable, most simply does not even exist.
The networking and directory services etc are all a joke compared to what's available in a modern Windows-based (Win2k8 R2) domain.

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