Apple’s new agreement statement about preventing Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone app converter

OK. We found something weird about Apple’s new agreement statement for iPhone OS 4 beta. According to it, Adobe’s CS5 tool for converting any Flash app to iPhone app is prohibited. MonoTouch, i.e. C#/.NET for iPhone, is not to be allowed.

Many people will simply consider Apple or Steve Jobs too greedy. They are again too closed, arrogant and so on. Some will think “Apple will be doomed. Steve Jobs is trying to repeat the history with Mac and Windows.”

Well, if you look at the subject only on its surface, yeah, it looks like that Apple is trying to commit suicide. It will create many enemies against Apple Inc. Nowadays, MS is still a kind of enemy, long-time-friend Adobe became an enemy, Google seems to be enemy, at least its Android team.

However, let’s think about it more deeply.
First, try reading John Gruber’s Daring Fireball article. It is well written and shows his insight about this issue.

So, according to his post, the most serious problem is that it can be other company than Apple inc. which controls iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. For some of you who don’t read his post, I will summarize it here. Apple usually adds new functionality to their iP* products but at that moment, the interested “other” companies may not provide the same functionality to their tool or runtime or whatever yet. Then, most of application program which are written with the framework can’t support the new functionality yet. Then, the one which controls the iP* platform is the companies rather than Apple Inc.

I will add one more thing there. If there are bugs in the tools or runtime, it will make iP* platform less stable and give users impression that iP* are not stable.
Well, I don’t mean that companies like Adobe is inferior to Apple Inc., in terms of technology. They have good programmers also. Apple people can introduce bugs also.
What is important here is that Apple can’t control this. They should wait until the 3rd party companies announce new version of the runtime or the tools with those bugs fixed.

OK. So far, so good. It is very insightful comprehension of this situation.
However, there is one flaw in the logic. ( The idea posted on Daring Fireball is not Apple’s idea. There are chances that Apple’s people, especially Steve Jobs, originally thought the move with the same idea. But we don’t know about it. There can be other reason, or they are just greedy or not friendly to Adobe. )
His logic is based on that only Apple innovates the iP* platform.”
By watching PC industry over 25 years, I can say that 3rd party companies and individual developers contributed the enhancement of PC and made this industry evolved.
So, companies like Adobe can make iP* platform better in a way that Apple people don’t expect and imagine. They can provide some good idea on the platform.
In other words, Apple Inc. can’t be the only company which brings innovation and enhancement to the iP* platforms.

However, will it be possible that 3rd party companies provide some fundamental enhancement to iP* platform? If it is PC, they can. However, it is iP* platform. Without jailbreaking, others than Apple can’t put some libraries to its underlying system folders. They can’t patch system files. So, according to its architecture, their innovation can be available only within their apps. On this kind of environment, if they really want to enhance something on the platform, they should talk with Apple people and provide Apple their technology to have it included in the system.

So, fundamentally, there is no chance that 3rd party companies provide something cool technology on the iP* platform or faster than Apple. So, John’s idea on this issue is mostly right. (MonoTouch / Adobe tool cases don’t require them to install any framework or library to system folders. However, what is point here is that, whatever approach it is, it is difficult for them to introduce something system wide service. )

However, I would like to say that Apple people, especially Steve Jobs, should consider this seriously. What is important is not the truth. What is important is public’s understanding or how most people think about this problem. Even though Apple’s intention is good ( let’s assume as such. ), if people don’t think so, then Apple will lose mind share.
And there is also alternative platform, Android. ( and Palm’s WebOS )
Google is selling a propaganda, “Android is open platform’. if more and more people are bought by that propaganda believing that Android is really open, people will be converted to Android, no matter what the truth is.

Apple suffered long time due to public belief like “Apple platform is closed. They are expensive” and so on. Thanks to OS X, which is based on Unix, they slowly started to break the wall, ‘Apple is closed”. Apple people should not build another such wall this time.

This will be a chance for Google. If Apple people don’t want to repeat the history, they should be careful about this and advertise themselves well.


4 responses to this post.

    • Posted by jongampark on April 11, 2010 at 7:55 AM

      It is interesting and probably it is also related.

      But as others comments stated in the AppleInsider’s forum, there is no reason Adobe updates their virtual machine or runtime to abide by the multitasking model of iPhone OS 4.0. But again, it is interesting point also. It can account for its certain portion.

      However, whatever the reason would be, Steve Jobs or Apple people should clearly explain about their movement, because, if not, public will start to think “Apple is evil”, “Apple is closed”, “Apple is not friendly to others’, and this would be big plus for competitors like MS and Google.


  1. Posted by Lenin on April 11, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Really, Apple should rethink of their mindset and should focus on extensive utilisation by market rather than within some class of the entire market. Doing so it am sure it will evolve extensive use by market and hopefully might also help to developer as well and of course to public too.


    • Posted by jongampark on April 11, 2010 at 8:13 PM

      I agree with you.

      I understand Steve Jobs’ purism but it does have good side. However, things should be balanced.

      By the way, we start to lose battery life with iPhone OS 4 beta. My iPod Touch is 2nd gen. So it doesn’t support multitasking, but somehow battery life became worse with OS 4.


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