Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

Summary: In a move that may be welcome news for users of Adobe's Creative Suite, Apple said Thursday that it will relax restrictions on its App Store review guidelines.

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In a move that may be welcome news for users of Adobe's Creative Suite, Apple said Thursday that it will relax restrictions on its App Store review guidelines.

Specifically, Apple said in a statement:

We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code.

Those sections of the iOS developer license were altered earlier this year. Apple updated its iOS 4 software developer kit to ban intermediary tools that would port applications to the iOS. The move came after Adobe said Creative Suite 5 would include a feature to allow developers to port apps to the iPhone from Flash.

According to a PDF of the standard iOS agreement published today, the amended sections now read:

Previously Apple had:

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

After Apple's move, Adobe basically gave up on further developing the feature. However, Adobe did file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Apple listened to its developers, but the FTC poking around may have had a lot to do with its change on third party developer tools. In any case, Apple's decision to relax restrictions on third party developer tools is quite a switch from Steve Jobs' Flash rant from April where he said "we cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers."

Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olsen said in a research note:

Today's announcement from Apple affects the development of apps for the app store, not the issue of Flash running on Apple's iPhone web browser. With the changes, developers will likely be able to use Adobe's Creative Suite to build apps and then port them to the App Store platform. This is meaningful because Adobe generates revenue from sales of its Creative Suite (57% of revenue in the Aug-10 quarter). However, websites that use Flash will still not work on Apple's devices. That said, Adobe does not generate revenue directly from Flash, so the remaining issue does not directly impact Adobe's revenue. Today's announcement from Apple is a change that will enable Adobe to add a new feature to CS5 and should be a driver of CS5 sales, directly impacting revenue.

We have emails and calls into Adobe for comment, but investors took Apple's move as a positive. Adobe shares surged in early trading.

Update: Jefferies analyst Ross MacMillan also added that Apple's move clarifies a lot for Adobe. He said in a research note:

With the lifting of these restrictions, app developers can now develop using Flash Actionscript (and other technologies) and port their apps to run on Apple's iOS. Adobe had developed a component (called Packager for iPhone) that allowed the compiling step and this shipped with CS5. However, Adobe announced with the CS5 launch (when AAPL introduced new restrictions) that no further investment would be made on this product. Today's announcement reverses these restrictions and Adobe may now market and invest in the packager technology more aggressively again.

Google cheered Apple's move in a blog post. Apple's new terms clarify a lot for mobile ad networks.

Some history:

More: Adobe: Apple's anti-Flash moves won't impact Creative Suite; HTML 5 not ready yet

Topics: CXO, Apple, Enterprise Software, Software Development

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51 comments
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  • Steve Jobs quote..

    "we cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.?

    Why not? Microsoft has been playing THAT game for a few decades now, and they seem to be doing okay.
    daftkey
    • Guess that's why MS stock has been flat for a decade

      While Apple's has skyrocketed :-D!
      @daftkey
      GoPower
      • RE: Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

        @GoPower Actually, no, it has to do with their arrogance and misleading advertisements. And apparen't the arrogance backfired this year. Now they're simply playing catchup because it allowed others to gain momentum.
        jackaaa7
      • Guess that's why MS makes more profit than Apple

        @GoPower
        Or is share price the important factor here? It is so confusing with you guys shifting the "metric that counts" so often.
        NonZealot
      • RE: Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

        @GoPower - Actually Microsoft's stock has been flat because it's considered a "mature" stock by Wall Street's standards, and as such is now relegated to issuing dividends.

        Apple will also reach that point at which time it's stock will also flatten out and then Apple will have to issue dividends or face stockholder wrath.
        PollyProteus
      • It's funny how numbers matter to Apple idiots only when...

        @GoPower

        it supports their argument. Marketshare? no, those numbers don't mean a thing...but stock price? yes, of course that's the most important factor (judging by how often it is brought up my the Apple sheep)

        Ok, since stock price is the most determining factor, Google's price is nearly double Apple's, therefore Google's business model, android o/s, and everything beats the crap out of Apple, or any other company! (see how dumb that sounds?)
        SonofaSailor
      • You need to look at the number of shares outstanding before...

        @SonofaSailor: [i]Ok, since stock price is the most determining factor, Google's price is nearly double Apple's, therefore Google's business model, android o/s, and everything beats the crap out of Apple, or any other company! (see how dumb that sounds?)[/i]

        ...comparing stock prices. Apple has 913.56M shares outstanding. Google has 318.71M shares outstanding. IOW Google has a little over 1/3 the shares outstanding that Apple does. Adjusting Google stock price for the same number of shares as Apple and the stock price becomes $166.12/share. Or approximately $100 less than Apple. IOW Apple is worth more. Easily seen just by looking at market capitalization ($240.33B for Apple and $151.76B for Google).
        ye
      • @ye

        Well played, Sir.<br><br>I <i>had</i> banged out a nice retort, then I realized...LULZ!
        SonofaSailor
  • RE: Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

    "Adobe shares surged in early trading."...thus proving Apple has more power than people give it credit for.
    cyberslammer
    • Fail.

      @cyberslammer... post hoc ergo propter hoc.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

      @cyberslammer
      No, no, no! Anytime something good happens with a company their stocks jump a bit. Bucktooth Sally could have given them a tadpole head and their stock would rise. Are you saying Apple has no more power than bucktooth Sally
      eargasm
    • NO! ..... proving Adobe has more power than Apple has!

      @cyberslammer You got it backwards. Apple is simply admitting they screwed up making that bone headed move in the first place. That they were about to get rung out for in court over. So they bowed down to the future eminent court decision against them. Plus the public's perception that Apple was only attempting to bully Adobe out of the market and actually harm it's other 3rd party developers, they had been attempting to woo in the past 3yrs.

      It also re-opens the door that they shut in keeping Flash out completely in the first place. Work around's were already being put into place for the FLASH ads on iOS. So they were really only harming their own user's experience and Developers of profit making games and software, that also was putting money in their pockets as well.

      The decisions in the past have all gone against bullies, like Apple. More recently like in Microsoft attempting to ban 3rd party developers like Adobe with PDF and Flash out of Vista. Along with them stupidly keeping Norton's (and other Anti-Virus Competitors) from running their products on Vista as well. Also with all the Nvidia and the whole Vista Drivers fiasco about code and kernel access for these 3party developers. Foolish move that also was partly responsible for helping kill Vista at launch!

      Apple is only doing what's prudent for them. They are STUPID, ARROGANT and BULLHEADED, but difinitely not that powerful. Proved by Adobe's stock going up.... lol.. It's a key win for all developers, that Apple has been smart enough to back down on their stupidity and asinine Arrogance enough to finally see the light. Especially after Piper Jaffray announced those latest analyst results. Basically stating Apple was appearing to be headed for stagnation in the face of Android heading for controlling 50% of the Smartphone Market in the future!!!

      For most on Wall Street saw this blackballing of Adobe and other 3rd party developers as the lamest of all moves. With the release of recent polls and analytics that show Apple's iOS Web share use actually declining compared to Android and new sales actually declining. Of course this is partly due to AT&T's move to kill unlimited data plans, along with now pushing their Android phones over iPhone 4's. When they put out that $49 two year contract on Samsung Captivate (with superior hardware no less) and pumped it's sale over iPhones, we know now that Piper Jaffray was on to something. With all top 4 Wireless providers now pushing Android to the hilt for their own economic good!!!

      btw... with just AT&T and T-Mobile selling Samsung Galaxy Series phones, they've managed to sell 1 million in America alone, in half the time Apple has sold 3.5 million iPhones globally. What does that say about the probable sales scenario reports for both Verizon's and Sprint's Galaxy Series phone sales? Yes.... Samsung isn't the largest Electronics Conglomerate for nothing and that doesn't include their Global Sales of Galaxy Series Phones. They also make more silicon than Intel and 70% of the cost in parts of iPad along with 50% of the cost of parts of iPhone 4. So to them they make money selling their parts either way. But naturally much more when you put out your own phone globally on 100's of Carriers and 100's of countries with truly next gen technology through and through over Apple!

      Therefore Apple was really forced to capitulate to the overwhelming forces smacking BIG DOG BONES in their FACE! With not only courts on their back, but Apple being just another 40 Billion a year corporation compared to a Conglomerate like Samsung that's now pushing $200 Billion a year business in South Korea alone. What about their facilities in everywhere from new chip fabrication plant in Texas and massive push into India and China? lol...
      i2fun
  • Step out of the Apple reality distortion field

    Find out just how much you *can* do with Ubuntu Linux.

    The safest operating system on the planet.

    I stake my reputation on it.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate

      I did, and it can't.
      jhughesy
      • RE: Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

        @jhughesy

        LOL!
        DonRupertBitByte
    • Please, ZD, Stop this spammer. NOW!

      This spammer has been filling these boards with spam for months now. Why is he still allowed to post here?
      honeymonster
      • I agree. He should have been banned months ago.

        @honeymonster: nt
        ye
      • RE: Apple throws developers a bone, relaxes restrictions on third party tools

        @honeymonster Trolls don't die easily...
        jedikitty1
      • Well why are you allowed to post here?

        Mr. Sandbox Honeymonster Shill
        ahh so
    • Linux??

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      What the heck does this article have to do with Linux?

      I'm a Linux advocate as well, but there is a right place an time.

      Posting off topic fanboy drivel like that just hurts the cause.

      Shut it!

      Thanks
      ColdFusion_z