Apple is wandering in the direction of Lawful Evil

Some of you may have heard about the kerfuffle in the last few days between Apple and Adobe. Briefly, Apple made a change to their developer agreement that makes it against the rules to use any language other than C, C++, Objective C, or Javascript when making applications for the iPhone/iPod/iPad. Furthermore, they’ve disallowed abstraction or compatibility libraries. The practical upshot of this is that Adobe’s most-touted feature in its new version of Flash, the ability to compile directly to an iPhone, is now pretty much worthless. Have no doubt, this was a change directed firmly at Adobe, and it encroaches into the region of Evil and perhaps Monopolistic. This post at the Flash Blog pretty much sums up my feelings.

2 thoughts on “Apple is wandering in the direction of Lawful Evil

  1. Ian says:

    Apple Insider has an interesting take on it:

    I think the truth is somewhere in the middle, but my gut feeling is that Apple has gone from being annoyingly restrictive to antagonistically restrictive. I understand keeping a firm grasp on things to control the brand, but this is a step too far. I suspect it will mark the beginning of the geek diaspora from the iPhone, and where the geeks go (and thus where the innovations go), consumers will inevitably follow. It’ll take years to play out, though, and in the mean time, Apple’s going to benefit from the increased homogeneity of offerings in the iPhone and iPad. The consumer market is the one to care about in the short term, so this is all a reasonable short-term move. Like most corporate thinking these days, however, it will come back to bite them in the ass when Google gets their act together and puts together a more-open device which is more compelling and useful.

    I do believe that characterizing this as a war between Apple and Adobe is not really correct. If Apple wanted to strike at Adobe, there are many, many more effective ways of doing it, but it would be a death stroke for both companies. Apple’s not strong enough to survive without all the creative pros and consumers following Adobe to Windows, and Adobe’s not strong enough to move to Windows without taking a severe, possibly deadly hit. Windows already scores with far cheaper hardware and an ever-improving user experience, so it would simply be a stupid move. The iPhone and iPad are factors, of course, but I can’t believe they’re enough to offset the loss of the Adobe-Apple relationship.

    Characterizing this as a strike against Flash is more accurate, but I think it’s more than that — it’s a strike against a perceived (and real) loss of control best represented by Flash.

  2. Ben says:

    This is kind of hard to swallow. The IPhone has never seemed like such a powerful platform that multi-tasking should take such a high priority as to knock an enormous number of developers out of the market. Not even bringing any Apple loyalists who might eagerly purchase the next generation with the naive expectation that their old apps would work on the “new and improved” model.

    The IPhone is a remarkable piece of technology, no doubt. But every good reason for not buying one (the required contract with AT&T, store restrictions, and now this) has come from on high.

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