Adobe ceases Flash-to-iPhone development, Apple unfazed by decision

Australian Macworld staff
22 April, 2010
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Mike Chambers, Adobe’s Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform — and isn’t that title a mouthful? — said in a blog post on Tuesday that the company will be ceasing its efforts to bring Flash-based applications to the iPhone. This follows Apple’s recent revision of its iPhone developer program license to include a statement prohibiting apps that have been developed using non-native technologies — such as Flash.

The move was largely interpreted as a shot directly across Adobe’s bow, as the company’s recently announced Creative Suite 5 included an easy way for Flash developers to convert their existing web-based games and other Flash applications to iPhone apps. That feature was Adobe’s way of sidestepping Apple’s choice not to allow Flash on its mobile platform. But even though the Flash-to-iPhone functionality already exists, Chambers makes it clear that Adobe is “not currently planning any additional investments in that feature”.

Chambers went on to detail how the feature had only recently been blocked by Apple’s change of terms. He also took shots at the mercurial nature of the company with regard to its iPhone developer program and described how Adobe’s inherently cross-platform focus differs from Apple’s tightly controlled walled garden approach.

Moving beyond its efforts to play nice with the iPhone, Chambers says Adobe is now focusing on Google’s upcoming Android phones and tablets, working closely with Google to bring technologies like Flash Player and Adobe AIR to the Android platform.

Apple doesn’t sound terribly broken up about Adobe’s announcement.

In response to the blog post, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told CNet on Wednesday:

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.

Ever since the launch of the iPhone, Flash has been persona non grata on the platform. Apple has repeatedly preferred other technologies for a variety of reasons, including performance and supporting open standards over proprietary ones such as Flash.

Even Steve Jobs has reportedly derided Flash on several occasions. Developer Greg Slepak e-mailed the CEO to complain about Apple’s insistence on banning intermediary development technologies like Flash from the App Store and Jobs reputedly responded: “We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.”

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