by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
developers, development, iphone

adobe, apple

Apple Reminds Everybody That It Controls The iPhone Ecosystem

from the from-the-do-you-have-permission-for-that?-dept. dept

Last week, when Apple announced version 4.0 of the iPhone OS, it also made a significant change to the license agreement for its iPhone developer program. One section of the agreement was changed to say that iPhone "Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine" -- a move that blocks developers from using cross-platform development tools and third-party development environments. So, for instance, if a developer already had an app written in .NET, they can no longer use something like Monotouch to port it to the iPhone. There has been a lot of speculation that this was just the latest step in the ongoing spat between Apple and Adobe, since the latter company will soon release a Flash-to-iPhone compiler, triggering a "go screw yourself Apple" from an Adobe employee.

But this move is actually bigger than that: it's Apple's attempt to lock developers in solely to the iPhone. Steve Jobs claims "intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform", and they do -- from Apple's perspective. By requiring developers to use Apple's tools and follow its rules, the hope is that developers will follow along blindly and develop first for the iPhone, since it's currently the best monetized channel to market for them, and then will develop for other platforms later, if at all. The issue for Apple, though, is that it's not competing in a vacuum. Everybody and their mother are opening app stores, with other major smartphone platforms like Android and BlackBerry building theirs into viable competitors for the Apple channel. And as the App Store continues to get flooded with apps and becomes more competitive (and it becomes more difficult for developers to earn a living there), its position at the top of the pile is far from assured. At that point, heavy restrictions on developers and the closed ecosystem becomes a real burden for the company, not a benefit.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    John Nemesh, 12 Apr 2010 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Don't like it? TFB!

    What about Unity? Is that dead too? How about the dozen or so OTHER dev tools that will be blocked by this nonsense? Are they dead too?

    I am SICK AND TIRED of hearing fanboys decry the worthlessness of Flash, when THEY ARE TOTALLY MISSING THE POINT!

    The point is not buggy code, battery life, or even an ego trip against Adobe.


    Apple wants you to program ON A MAC, with their tools, SO YOU CANT EASILY MAKE A PORT! They are tired of seeing their great apps migrate to Android (or even WebOS...there are some tasty game ports coming out lately). They want Apple apps to be ONLY on Apple, and this is one way they can make it harder to port over to another platform.

    Next time, try to make an INTELLIGENT comment, instead of a fanboy rant!

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.