Flash Wars: Apple Strong-arms Adobe in Childish Feud

by Matt Klassen on April 19, 2010

Despite Apple’s proven track record of innovation, their cadre of creative products and their firm commitment to thinking outside the box when it comes to technological advancement, sometimes the tech giant can be a real immature pain in the ass.

For some time now users have been waiting for the iPhone/iPad OS to finally run Adobe’s multimedia platform Flash, because it’s always frustrating when you can’t enjoy the full multimedia experience of your favorite por…err, I mean, sports site.  But despite the fact that Flash is still so widely used online, Apple, in its own defense, has repeatedly stated that users don’t need Adobe’s Flash, simply because it’s an antiquated and dying tech.

Now, with Adobe Systems on the verge of upgrading its Creative Suite (CS) product line to bridge the gap between Flash and the Apple OS, Apple has made another surprising move; one that demonstrates some serious hate for Adobe, and one that has some analysts in the tech world shouting “Go Screw Yourself Apple!”  

While many waited with bated breath during the unveiling of the Apple OS 4.0 to see if Steve Jobs and Co. had changed their minds in regards to Adobe and their Flash multimedia software, almost nothing was mentioned. However, just a few days before, Apple had quietly made changes to its iPhone developer agreement, restricting developers from programing in any other language save Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript, and stating that all apps must not “compile through any “intermediary translation or compatibility layer.”

This means that all Adobe’s efforts on their revolutionary Flash-to-iPhone compiler, a key component of their CS5 upgrade, will be all for nothing, as any apps programmed through this process will now contravene Apple’s Developer rules and be banned from the App Store.  

While this revelation certainly stings Adobe, who now has to come to terms with the fact that a year of intensive R&D was basically for nothing, it certainly hurts developers and users as well, and while Apple is entitled to run their App Store in whatever way they want, I’m getting sick of the heavy-handed strategy it continually employs as it tries to dictate what tech consumers should want.

It is this point, for many, that is the crux of the war between Adobe and Apple; the fact that Apple, in the words of Adobe’s Platform Evangelist Lee Brimelow, exerts a “tyrannical control over developers…more importantly, wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe.” Even with the evolutionary, survival-of-the-fittest, principles of business, purposely withholding Flash, an incredibly popular tech, and then taking it one step further to screw-over Adobe, makes it seem like the power of being a successful tech company has finally got to Steve Job’s head.

What would it hurt to allow developers to create bridge programs that would allow Flash to run on non-Flash compliant devices like the iPhone or iPad? I struggle to see how Apple would lose out in the process, as many of its users would be able to enjoy a fuller, richer online experience; one they’ve clearly been yearning for.

Quite frankly, I hate companies that employ these strong arms tactics, as not only do moves like this make them seem petty in the eyes of the consumer, but, at its roots, these actions are downright evil. If Apple does indeed have a good reason for blocking Flash, perhaps I could understand. But the fact that they needlessly target Adobe is both petty and childish, a move that prompts me to think that Apple has some serious growing up to do.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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