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Apple Checkmates Adobe

The latest Apple Developer Program License Agreement says in clause 3.3.1 that developers can’t use any foreign tools

Opening Keynote at Cloud Expo

Adobe introduced its Creative Suite 5 (CS5) Monday, the thing on which nearly 60% of its revenues depends, the thing that's got to sell better than recession-tossed CS4 did, in the middle of a hailstorm that drew more attention to it than it normally would have gotten.

Last Thursday Apple quietly rewrote its rules for developers and barred the backdoor that Adobe was figuring on using to get Flash onto iPhone, iPod and iPad, having already been barred from using the front door because Steve Jobs, as everyone must know by now, loathes Flash.

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CS5 includes - or is supposed to (we'll see when it ships in 30 days) - an Adobe-advertised write-once Flash-to-iPhone compiler that was supposed to dodge the Apple police. But the latest Apple Developer Program License Agreement says in clause 3.3.1 that developers can't use any foreign tools or cross-platform interpreters or compiler, only Apple tools. Any apps that don't conform won't be allowed in the iTunes store.

Supposedly the reason, according to Steve Jobs himself, who was drawn into e-mail explanations in the ensuing brouhaha, is that cross-platform compilers make for substandard applications. It's also widely speculated that Apple, in its effort to be remain chi-chi, doesn't want the same apps popping up on, say, oh, Android.

Apple's maneuver drew an acid remark from Adobe evangelist Lee Brimelow who wrote in a now redacted blog that "This is a frightening move that has no rational defense other than wanting tyrannical control over developers and, more importantly, wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe." He closed with the words, "Go screw yourself Apple."

Daring Fireball blogger Jon Gruber, who discovered and reported Apple's tightened regulations, however, wound up saying that "From Apple's perspective, changing the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement to prohibit the use of things like Flash CS5 and MonoTouch to create iPhone apps makes complete sense. I'm not saying you have to like this. I'm not arguing that it's anything other than ruthless competitiveness. I'm not arguing (up to this point) that it benefits anyone other than Apple itself. I'm just arguing that it makes sense from Apple's perspective - and it was Apple's decision to make."

Anyway, CS5 and its 250 new features - like support for GPUs - does a lot of other things and will sell for $1,300-$2,600 starting next month.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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