Thursday, May 6, 2010

Apple Wages Corporate War Against Adobe

Adobe recently announced that it is shifting its focus away from trying to get its Flash software to run on Apple products.

Apple has been steadfast in refusing to allow Flash to be used on its iPhone, iPod and iPad products.  Adobe  Flash is the technology used on the vast majority of websites to power media players, games and other animations.   Adobe has decided to shift its focus to get Flash working well on gadgets made by Google, RIM, Palm, Microsoft, Nokia and others.

The letter came soon after Adobe announced it would stop making tools that allow developers to quickly translate Flash code to run on Apple gadgets.  These tools allowed developers to make applications once and then distribute them for use on all phones and operating systems, including Apple's iPhone.

Adobe's announcement followed a change to the terms and conditions of the license that software developers must sign when writing code to run on Apple products.  That change banned developers from using automatic translation tools, effectively forcing them to develop two applications - one for Apple products and one for everything else.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that "when you resort to licensing language" to restrict development, it has "nothing to do with technology".   He added that he found it "amusing" that Jobs thought that Flash was a closed platform.  "We have different views of the world," Mr Narayan told the Wall Street Journal. "Our view of the world is multi-platform."

Ironically, iPhone and iPad products are the definition of "closed" systems-- they cannot be open by users for even the simplest tasks such as changing the battery.  And unlike every single PC and Mac sold on the planet, users of iPhone and iPads are not even allowed to install their own software on these devices-- you must buy software from the Apple store only and software in the Apple store must conform to strict licensing restrictions before being approved by Apple.  Even worse-- at any time, Apple can withdraw its approval of that software (for any reason) and has the ability to remotely reach out to all devices and disable the software without notice.

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