back to article Adobe to sue Apple 'within weeks,' says report

Adobe intends to sue Apple over the recent SDK change that bans iPhone and iPad applications translated from languages Steve Jobs doesn't like, according to a report citing sources close to Adobe. IT World reports that Adobe will sue Apple "within a few weeks," after the Jobsian cult not only barred native Flash from the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Adobe's faux pas

    Adobe likes to say that 96% of all computers in the US have Flash installed. What it doesn’t say is that more than 60% of all smartphone web traffic, and 96% of all “Mobile Internet Device” (that’s a euphemism for “iPod touch”) traffic doesn’t run Flash at all.

    Additionally, it’s not as if Adobe had created a great mobile Flash platform and Apple stomped all over it to be mean. Adobe didn’t have a mobile version of Flash that could even play Flash videos until Flash Lite 3 appeared, well after the release of the iPhone. Even then, that product couldn’t run most of the Flash content created for desktop PCs.

    Adobe didn’t pass that hurdle until last summer, when it introduced an early version of Flash Player 10 for Android. But that version still doesn’t play back everything the PC version does. The latest 10.1 version for mobiles is supposed to do better, but it’s still in demo stages and requires a Cortex A8 class processor, meaning it only runs on Android or webOS devices from the last several months.

    If Apple supported this, it could only run on the iPhone 3GS. So Adobe’s mobile strategy is actually just now emerging. Apple has been selling the iPhone for three full years now. There was no suitable version of Flash to sell, so Apple made its own plans.

    To hear from the tech media people who feed from the Adobe propaganda machine like ducks being force fed for foie gras, you’d think Adobe has had a real mobile strategy all this time and Apple has just been playing the role of a conniving obstructionist.

    The truth is that it’s Adobe’s fault there’s no Flash on the majority of mobiles, because the company was completely happy just misleading the world of pundits while talking instead of doing. Well it’s not 2007 anymore, it’s 2010, and that’s three years of work that everyone else has put into HTML5.

    Adobe hasn’t done anything to earn the rights to cram the Internet back into the Flash box it likes to sit upon as it collects taxes from those creating content that only plays back via Adobe’s own players. Adobe never been on top of things in the mobile world, and the desktop version is not exactly doing all that much anymore either. As companies shift their resources from everything Flash to HTML5, Adobe’s desktop monopoly over interactive content will rapidly erode. It’s not Apple’s fault that’s happening, it’s Adobe’s. - source - Daniel Eran Dilger

  2. wtfF0nzie

    Lethal weapon

    Murtaugh: "Get that trash off my lawn!"

    1. Anonymous Coward


      >Adobe likes to say that 96% of all computers in the US have Flash installed.

      They like to say 98% since that's the current figure - also while you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise due to the constant hype, even the Apple loving IDC survey of a couple of months back only put Apple as having 25% of the smartphone market. Less that 10% of iPod owners use the Web browser once a month...

      Support for Flash player on tiny screens on which the vast majority do very little and very different browsing is largely irrelevant - dictating the software which developers can or cannot use to build apps is a different matter. I'd rather Adobe used their money porting CS to Linux - if they really care about developer freedom they will, but a legal case will at least inform Joe consumers.

      The idea that Adobe will lose its position as a result of HTML5 is laughable - most iAds will be written in CS5 and once HTML5 browser support is mainstream in a year or maybe two, ie when MS decide its time and force the IE upgrades through, we'll mostly be bashing it out with CS6.

      Whatever happens with HTML5 there's a mass of great Flash online which isn't going anywhere - hop down to the Apple's site and look at the list of 'iPad Ready' websites - sums up the actual user experience to expect nicely - two tiers, like the early days of Apple Web browsing, kid yourself you're on the better tier if you like.

      1. Ian Davies

        Reading better helps comprehension

        "even the Apple loving IDC survey of a couple of months back only put Apple as having 25% of the smartphone market"

        The comment didn't mention marketshare, it was talking about share of traffic i.e. how much iPhone/iPod owners make use of internet access. On that metric, iPhone users are bigger than everyone else combined.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Presumably the much quoted AdMob stats...

          ...which measure ad impressions including those within applications, not actual traffic. Data by carrier and web logs tell a different story altogether. Certainly the case that iPhone is shaping up to be the best platform for fans of advertising though.

    2. _mark
      Thumb Down

      That's a Load of Fanboy BS

      all you anti flash people are probably the most boring folks ever.. so willing to take the web back to the dark ages. pathetic. the funny thing is, no one complained about flash before iJobs announced it not being on his silly little restricted products.. I know what’s coming next so here:

      HTML5 better than Flash is a myth folks..

      If you watch towads the end of the video on the Android HTML5 animation framerate is like 3 – 12 Frames Per Second. Pathetic. While Flash 10.1 is 28-30 FPS and looks pretty normal. I benchmarked HTML5/JS VS. FLASH/AS animations myself using an animated cloth simulations and came up with very similar results about 2 months ago.. HTML5 and Javascript is worse than Flash and Actionscript in chewing up CPU AND MEMORY!! It’s what I suspected. HTML5/JS beats flash only when the animated particles / spites or physics crunching is VERY LITE.. when it is intense (lots of stuff going on at once) Flash is FAR SUPERIOR!!! It’s a fact.

  3. F1reman
    Jobs Halo

    Wouldn't any real developer...

    ...write in the native code rather than use a GUI or higher level language to do it for them?

  4. Mr Brush
    Thumb Up


    Where's my popcorn?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Way to go Apple!

    I think it's great Apple is forcing vendors to use standard open source / cross platform languages. The Java crap for example is memory and CPU intensive. Mobile devices should be lean and fast so C, C++ type stuff is a great way to go.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No way!

      I once used a C++ app that leaked memory, so it's clearly not a viable language for Job's Utopia of never-crashing software. As for C?! How many crap programs have been written in that old warhorse? Clearly not suitable.

      In fact, only developers who have solved the halting problem will be allowed to program for iThings in the future.

      1. Chemist

        Re : No way!

        Funny, the Linux kernel is almost entirely C - I've not had one crash since about 1997.

        Maybe it's the quality of the programming ?

        1. Bod


          "Maybe it's the quality of the programming ?"

          That is exactly what it is. There are virtually no guards against sloppy programming in C and they can and frequently do crash and leak memory a hell of a lot. A kernel written in C has to be absolutely perfect quality.

          C++ is the same, but if you don't use the inherited underlying C way of allocating memory, limit the direct use of pointers, and use libraries like STL instead of trying to re-invent the wheel (badly) then sloppy developers can at least avoid some of the mistakes. Java and C# take it to another level so developers don't have to be so concerned about how the compiler and target platform works at the memory and pointer level and just crack on with developing apps. Yes it protects sloppy developers, but also for those who aren't sloppy it allows for increased productivity whilst not sacrificing quality (and a note to those who scoff at such languages, no you can't just ignore object and resource disposal. It's still an issue, and in fact those who come from a C/C++ background understand it more and can make more reliable and efficient Java/C# apps).

          They all have their place though. I'd fully trust a kernel written in C, if it's developed by the likes of Torvalds and peer reviewed by the best. I wouldn't trust an end-user application written in C by a fresh graduate out of Bangalore who did a business degree and is trying to get into IT, but I'd be happier at least if those apps are being churned out in a high level language that translates into safe code. The app itself might be rubbish but at least it's not going to kill the device.

    2. Annihilator

      Native code

      Native to what? The processor? Cos I'm pretty sure the majority of people gave up on assembler a while ago and relies on compilers now...

    3. Jon Double Nice

      And using vi

      but only if they're a really real developer

    4. sabroni Silver badge

      Real developer?

      pompous much? Real developers use whichever tool satisfies all the requirements and gets the job done quickest. When you say "native code" are you advocating everyone writing in assembler?

  6. Anonymous Coward


    this catfight gets more comical by the day.

    hopefully adobe will be told to piss off and it'll be another nail in the coffin of proprietary plugins on the web.

  7. Chas
    Jobs Halo


    And how is any different to game developers working on Xbox, Wii or PS3 titles? They have to use the prescribed tools or they don't get to play.

    Flash is a craptastic pile of ordure, particularly on the Mac where it regularly maxes out the CPUs and more often than not crashes the browser. Sight-disadvantaged? You're out of luck with Flash. In any case Adobe still haven't delivered a mobile version of Flash that works as the desktop version does.

    It was mainly Adobe's intransigence that forced Apple to develop Carbon. Even then, Adobe made Mac users play second fiddle to Windows for years and charged a fortune for buggy products. And you can't even buy PS or Dreamweaver without having to buy practically the whole kaboodle - how's that for ignoring the needs of the user.

    They cannot claim monopoly abuse since Apple have no monopoly in mobiles. Some may deride Jobs for being a power-mad martinet but it's that tight rein on the system that has made the iPhone et al such a phenomenon. If what Apple has done serves to make a better platform, then I'm all for it, although Apple could mitigate the furore by allowing certain libraries for physics engines and the like that are available from other sources to be used.

    Payback's a bitch, ain't it Adobe?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Flash on the Mac

      "Mac where it regularly maxes out the CPUs and more often than not crashes the browser"

      Just about an hour ago I had to shut down flash - it was running at 118% of CPU (using both of the cores) and the lap top was getting very hot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because Games devs

      Don't have to put up with "ye, you can use this... Na. I was only kidding! Oh you spent $$$? Haha. Should have read the T&Cs"

    3. Bod


      "it'll be another nail in the coffin of proprietary plugins on the web."

      So we can say goodbye to QuickTime then too. ;)

      1. Player_16

        QuickTime runs mostly programs...

        ...rarely ads on the net.

  8. dave 46
    Jobs Horns

    Anti competitive again

    Apple wants application lock in, they do not want people using frameworks that allow them to easily re-compile for other platforms (such as android, windows mobile or whatever Nokia is doing this week).

    If it's hard to move to new platforms developers will be less likely to do it, the apps remains only on iPhone and the paying customers don't get tempted away.

    Anyone who thinks this is defending slow apps that don't take full advantage of your iPhone's hardware is just being numb.

  9. Paul E

    Where do you draw the line then?

    "...write in the native code rather than use a GUI or higher level language to do it for them?"

    Yes lets all start writing assembler shall we???

  10. JeffShortland
    Thumb Up

    And not even any fanbois.....

    This is little more than one company bitching that some other company wont let it play in it's tree house. It's not monopolistic, it's not vindictive, It's just preference.

    Apple sure as hell isn't stopping you from buying another phone, one that uses flash.. but really, what are you missing by not using it? some shopping ads and Hulu. Whoop de do.

    I'm not here to side with Apple because I like the iPhone, just because Adobe is crying over the club house.

  11. StooMonster
    Jobs Horns

    Unity 3D iPhone ... don't die!

    Hoping that Unity will live through this, even though it allows programmers to code in C#

    Apple have gone mad, here's a Google Docs spreadsheet of some of the best-selling software on App Store and which middle-ware was used to create it Even Tap Tap Revenue that Steve Jobs demoed running in multi-tasking uses the Lua programming language.

    Also, it looks like measurement and analytic services other than Apple's will be blocked too. New York Times ran an article that discusses Flurry (a mobile analytics company, their products can tell developers how long sections of their game take to complete or pages take to read etc.)

  12. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Jobs Horns


    Apple could simply have power drain specifications to reject inefficient apps. Bad code comes in all forms so the coding language restrictions do a poor job of hiding Steve's raging ego. There are also certain tasks where JIT-compiled JavaScript, Java, Perl, etc. can run very efficiently.

    Developers using Flash rarely have intentions of efficiency. It's too often a short-cut language for rapid offshore development. Adobe can run a big angry lawsuit only to find all of their apps being rejected again on technical grounds. It's all going to be amusing.

  13. Phil Rigby

    Adobe need to understand...

    It's APPLE's platform. They can do what they want as far as rules go on who can run what. It's their device, their OS. Period. If they want to stop any flash stuff, they can. If Adobe want to boycott it or other idiots like that "go screw yourself" guy, well there's plenty of other people who'll develop for it. Just look at the amount of apps available.

    If people like EA Games can put Need For Speed on there without violating SDK T&Cs, I don't see why people are bitching about closed platform. And the poster who mentioned about Xbox/PS3 etc coding is exactly right - you try building an Xbox game without Microsoft's approval and toolkit and you see what happens to it.

    Adobe just need to fook off.

  14. Inachu

    This is how I wish things would be played out.

    I wish adobe would go ahead and play but apples rules.

    Make flash per the specs apple sets forth and let us at least see flash in some way or another.

    Then while we have this crippled flash then Adobe takes apple to court then wins then Adobe releases a better version that will work with all websites.

    Let the choice to use flash be on the shoulder of the consumer and not the corporation.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho

      What's good for the goose...

      Not that I believe this will happen, but it's possible that Adobe will play tit-for-tat and decide that they can't support all Apple products in general, pulling support of Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.

      I hope and pray that's the next step in the escalating hostilities between both sides. Who needs reality TV when you have reality itself?!?

    2. Steen Hive
      Thumb Down

      Unity 3d

      I hear yah. Unity - a great little, innovative company with an outstanding product - they've just unveiled iPad support too, and that jackbooted thug Jobs is pulling the rug from under their feet as we speak.

      This is why monopolies and monopolistic control of any market hurt, all you apologists. And for the last fucking time - the market isn't phones, the market is software for the iPhone.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Unity requires XCode for iPhone builds.

        So it's *probably* safe.

        Even so, anyone who puts all their business eggs in one platform basket is doing it wrong.

        Also, for the last fucking time, the market isn't software for the iPhone. The iPhone is popular, but that's only because Apple's competitors have been so incredibly shit. Don't blame Apple for taking advantage of the faults of their competitors.

        1. Steen Hive

          Unity requires.

          The mono runtime too. Oops.

          Of course the market is iPhone software, you know like there is a market for windows software, mac software, android software? That's what these people are jumping through hoops to try and compete in, and quite often having their hard work and great products nullified by dictat.

          "You are free to develop and/or buy (insert other platform of choice here)" has bugger-all to do with this. Apple exerts 100% monopoly control on this market, no matter how significant or not you think that market is.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            re: Unity requires.

            Sorry, but you are very, *very* wrong. It doesn't *actually* work like that. It's a problem if Apple don't allow others to develop software for *other* platforms, but they do. Saying that you can only use ANSI C based languages (excluding C#) and HTML/CSS/JavaScript isn't making people jump through hoops! If you want to compete in the iPhone app market, then these are the requirements, it *is* as simple as that. Much like the IOC require that all athletes not take performance enhancing drugs! "It's not fair! I don't know those languages!" isn't a valid argument against the policy! Working hard isn't a reason to relent on this either! Hey, that's not Apples fault if these 'hard-working' (go and read ReWork) people have backed the wrong horse! That's business. As it stands, there are other platforms, and as Sean Timarco Baggaley eloquently pointed out "...Apple's competitors have been so incredibly shit." So this is an opportunity for those spurned developers to take action and reverse this--that'd be a much more effective "fuck you, Apple" that all this moralising and idealising! If you don't like, do something about it! Adobe suing just goes to prove Jobs right, they *are* lazy...

            Your claims of monopoly abuse are wrong for the very simple reason that there are competitors; the market *isn't* iPhone software. If that were true, it could be argued that Apple have a case against Corel, Autodesk and to lesser extent Microsoft, to name three obvious companies, for *not*, or stopping, writing software for the Mac platform--which is just silly.

            1. Steen Hive

              Deliberate conflation

              No,no and NO!

              "Your claims of monopoly abuse are wrong for the very simple reason that there are competitors; the market *isn't* iPhone software. If that were true, it could be argued that Apple have a case against Corel, Autodesk and to lesser extent Microsoft, to name three obvious companies, for *not*, or stopping, writing software for the Mac platform--which is just silly."

              These companies ( Adobe, Unity, Opera etc etc ) don't make phones, don't make phone platforms, but you are mistakenly or disingenuously trying to conflate *their* market with Apple's market.

              You also seem to have difficulty conceptualising the market in desktop software - in fact you have it arse-backwards - if Adobe refuse to code for MacOS because they think Jobs is a prick, it is *not* monopoly abuse, but if Jobs decides to block Creative Suite because he has a bad haemorrhoid day, it certainly IS. Jobs is engaging in anti-competitive behaviour in that case, Adobe is not.

              1. Player_16

                Re: Deliberate conflation.

                OK. Apple does have 100% on the App market -the Apple App market. You cannot go out and buy apps from someplace else -unless jail-broken. Apple Apps runs on ONE platform so it cannot be a m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y on the interweb. If the App store disappeared tomorrow, the interweb will keep going without a blink. Adobe makes plug-ins for the interweb market -12 y.o. plug-in's. Adobe controls THAT market with their plug-in's. Adobe could be considered a monopoly but only if you're ball-&-chained to running that plug-in in which case, you are not. If Adobe's plug-in's malfunctioned tomorrow, the interweb will keep going without a blink (minus the ads, games, some web programs and YouTube and video pr0n). Adobe freely admits it gives the responsibility of Flash upkeep to the platform (Linux, Apple, MS, Android, etc). If it does not run correctly, it's the platforms fault - that's stupid.

                "...if Adobe refuse to code for MacOS because they think Jobs is a prick, it is *not* monopoly abuse..."

                Adobe has to code (plug-in) for Apple for Adobe is freely displaying their products on the web (Flash) to be freely accessed by all. It is up to (your example) Apple to grant or deny the tools needed for access: Apple denied. If Adobe actually refused the plug-in outright over the MacOS for those personal reasons, THAT would be monopoly(?) abuse because Adobe's plug-in would work on those other platforms but Apple's and Adobe would be breaking the laws of fair-trade.

                "…but if Jobs decides to block Creative Suite because he has a bad haemorrhoid day, it certainly IS."

                No! Creative Suite is a program not a interweb-only program. He does not have to permit that program on his platform but he would be interfering in the livelihood of others that use the program on a regular bases on HIS product. So he better have a real good reason for doing so otherwise it would be anti-competitive behaviour NOT monopoly abuse due to the interweb does not depend on Apple products.

      2. Steen Hive
        Thumb Up


        "pulling support of Photoshop, Illustrator, etc."

        One can but dream! Much as I love using and working on MacOS, I would pay good money to see the look on the supercilious little cock's face if they pulled that one out of the hat!

        1. Player_16


          '...little cock's ... pulled that one out ... hat!'

          I'm struggling with my imagination. Did you realise what you wrote?

      3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: What's good for the goose

        Oh please, oh please let me have a front row seat for a dueling handbags at dawn bitch slap between Apple and Adobe.

      4. Dave 142


        And do themselves out of the enormous amounts of money they make selling these products? Adobe may not like what Apple are doing, but they like money a whole lot more.

    3. Michael
      Thumb Up

      sounds good to me

      jmp 0x00

    4. Ian Davies


      "Apple wants application lock in"

      whereas Adobe just wants us all to have our own unicorn and be nice to each other, right?

      "Anyone who thinks this is defending slow apps that don't take full advantage of your iPhone's hardware is just being numb."

      Anyone who thinks that cross-compilers like Adobe's Flash packager for iPhone are going to do anything - ANYTHING - other than commoditize the hardware and native feature sets of different phones into a shallow, lowest common denominator pool of supported features, is being galactically disingenuous.

    5. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Don't talk wet

      Application lock in? Since when has writing native code using the proper APIs been "lock in".

      Christ, that makes any OS that provides an API a platform to lock in people. I don't see Microsoft pushing the "posix" API.

      I don't see Microsoft helping the world run Win32 API applications on Linux, OSX and Unix. In fact, they tried to subvert and kill off the best attempt at "write once, run anywhere", i.e. Java.

      Of course Apple doesn't want people porting substandard trash from Android to Windows to iPhone. Android's development platform is vastly different to the iPhone and different to Windows Mobile.

      WinMo is C++, Android is Java based and iPhone is Objective C.

      All have completely different APIs. Anyone writing an application to run on all would have to use a very high level language. This would create very suboptimal code, bloat, slow, buggy, just shit! and what's more the developer would still ask for a couple of quid for the privilege.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        re: Apple doesn't want people porting substandard trash

        Of course they don't, the app store is drowning in enough of that already!

        1. magnetik

          well ...

          If you're gonna download a lame fart app you at least want it to run at a decent speed, right?

    6. David Kelly 2

      Re: This is how I wish things would be played out.

      > Let the choice to use flash be on the shoulder of the consumer and not the corporation.

      Already is. If the consumer wants FLASH then don't buy iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Steve Jobs should be congratulated for standing his ground.

      I rarely see FLASH used productively. Even at The Register its primary use is for animated advertisements. Click2Flash has greatly improved my web browsing experience.

    7. Bod

      Their platform

      So Apple can do whatever they want with their device, their platform and say exactly what can and cannot run on it.

      Yet Microsoft cannot do the same with theirs for fear of being hauled through the courts on anti-trust competition cases.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really am fascinated to see what grounds there are

    for anyone to build a case for suing Apple. "Taking away the lawn we wanted to park our tanks on without asking"?

    The only group who are going to win from this farrago are the lawyers.

  16. John Savard Silver badge

    Only One Basis

    If Adobe does sue, as rumored, I think there would be only one basis on which they could do so: antitrust law.

  17. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Yes & No

    I can see Apple's point in not including/allowing flash, but I think the SDK license change is a step too far.

    1. Ivan Headache

      You mean

      Apple doesn't trust adobe to run flash properly?

      I can't see that there's anything they can sue about.


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