Adobe Waves White Flag In iPhone-Flash Battle


According to a blog post from an Adobe product manager, the software company has decided to discontinue future development of software tools that support Flash application development on the iPhone platform. Mike Chambers, principal product manager for developer relations for Adobe's Flash platform, wrote on his personal blog Tuesday that while Adobe added cross-compiler tools to support Flash development for the iPhone in its Creative Suite 5 (CS5), Apple's new iPhone developer license now outlaws those tools from the iPhone operating system.

"We will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5," Chambers wrote on his blog. "However, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature."

In essence, the iPhone support tools in CS5 are useless because of changes Apple made just days before Adobe software was scheduled to be released. This led to reports that Adobe was contemplating and even preparing a lawsuit against Apple for effectively leading Adobe on and then pulling the rug out from under the company after they had already invested the time and money to add cross-compiler tools to Flash Professional CS5.

Whether or not Adobe still pursues legal action remains to be seen. But in regards to pushing Flash support for the iPhone, that effort now appears to be dead. And it has many, including Chambers, steamed. Adobe's product manager trashed Apple in the latest example of the vicious war of words between the two companies. Specifically, Chambers criticized Apple's behavior in building a walled environment that locks customers and developers into a restrictive, proprietary platform.

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"To be clear, during the entire development cycle of Flash CS5, the feature complied with Apple's licensing terms," Chambers wrote. "However, as developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at anytime, and for seemingly any reason."

Chambers went on to write that cross-browser, cross-platform and cross-device development is "the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms."

Apple has argued that Flash technology would degrade the performance of the iPhone and CEO Steve Jobs has stated repeatedly that Flash is problematic and runs too slow.

Chambers, on the other hand, argues that there's "no technical reason that Flash can't run on the iPhone." He also wrote that he will be shifting all his focus to Google's Android mobile OS, which encourages open application development and supports Flash. It's likely that Adobe will throw its full support behind Android and work even more closely with Google going forward.

"We are at the beginning of a significant change in the industry," Chambers wrote, "and I believe that ultimately open platforms will win out over the type of closed, locked down platform that Apple is trying to create."