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Will Adobe Sue Apple Over Flash? 980

An anonymous reader writes "Apple's iron-bound determination to keep Adobe Flash out of any iWhatever device is about to blow up in Apple's face. Sources close to Adobe tell me that Adobe will be suing Apple within a few weeks."
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Will Adobe Sue Apple Over Flash?

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  • I'm conflicted (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShadowRangerRIT ( 1301549 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:36AM (#31831542)
    In a battle between two vendors, one with a closed source, insecurt framework and the other with a closed platform, which side do I root for?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:42AM (#31831630)

    Suing Apple is a NEGATIVE action and is not going to get you anywhere. Instead you can hit Apple in other ways. For example, why not take a POSITIVE action and port your software to Linux, providing those of us who rely on your software a great alternative to supporting this ass hole run company.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:42AM (#31831638) Journal

    Louis Gerbarg has written up a very good explanation [] of the issues involved.


    Adobe is a large company with a significant, and complicated, relationship with Apple. They have frequent high level contacts and meetings. Adobe has known for quite some time about Apple's desire not to have Flash on the iPhone. There is no doubt in my mind that if they asked Apple to bless this they were rebuffed, and if they didn't ask the only reason they didn't was because they knew Apple would say no. In either event, they announced the product to their customers and sold them on an idea they were not in a position to deliver, hoping Apple would be unwilling to piss off developers by not fulfilling Adobe's promises. They tried to force Apple's hand by putting Apple in a position where in order stop the Flash they would have to do it publicly in front of Adobe's users. That was a bad call on Adobe's part.

    Read the whole thing.


  • TFA wasn't clear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:43AM (#31831654) Homepage Journal

    What grounds are they suing under? Breach of contract? Why should Apple be forced to use Adobe's stuff if they don't want to?

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:46AM (#31831704)

    I suspect that this isn't about supporting Flash as much as it is about Apple's not allowing linker-level Flash ports. There are good reasons to not allow Flash on the iDevices, it's much harder to make the case for Flash apps that have been converted to stand alone applications.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:51AM (#31831814)

    Adobe failed to keep their promise to provide a (first) free (then low-cost) license for Display PostScript (which was mostly written by NeXT so that Apple had to revise their Rhapsody OS plan (which included a free run-time license for Windows), delaying Apple's then much-needed new OS and opening the crack which became Carbon.

    This cost users of Apple's new OS:

      - nxhosting
      - automatic display of .eps graphics
      - easy previewing of .ps files
      - automatic previewing of PostScript fills and stroke effects

    and nifty applications like which depended on such.

  • Re:TFA wasn't clear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @10:54AM (#31831870)

    The short version: Apple is telling developers that they can't buy Adobe *tools* to produce *native* Apple-platform applications.

    The long version:

    1. Adobe Flash is buggy and crashes a lot. Steve Jobs also seems to have a personal beef with it for some reason.
    2. Apple says, "No flash on our iAnything platforms."
    3. Adobe says, "Please?"
    4. Apple says, "No!"
    5. Adobe says, "Okay, we've made a compiler that takes a Flash script and compiles it to an iAnything native application, using HTML 5, Apple's C-variant, and Apple's API."
    6. Apple says, "We've added a clause to our developer contract that says that developers are not allowed to use anything that translates code from one language to another for the iAnything platform. You have to use OUR tools, and you must write in OUR language from the start, or you - the developer - cannot play with us."
    7. Adobe says, "..."

  • by rimcrazy ( 146022 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:00AM (#31831996)

    They have a platform worth billions. Tens of billions. They have chosen to make it closed. You as a consumer can chose to use there platform or not, that is up to you. For them, to potentially put the fate of a multi-billion dollar product in the potential hands of a company that makes development content for this multi-billion dollar platform and not control it is suicide.

    You can argue the merits of closed or open but in this case the point is moot. iPhone is closed and Apple wants it that way. They are not going to put their fate in the hands of Adobe. The only legs Adobe may have to stand on is if they were lead to believe that their platform was to be accepted (written contract or verbal) and then at the 11th hour to be shafted? Well then maybe they have a case.

    Hey, I was the engineering dept. manager back at VLSI Tech back when chip sets was a good business. Intel decided, rightly so, that they could not put the fate of their CPU's in the hands of 3rd party chip set vendors. In ONE product cycle (after they finally figured out how to make them) they took 90% of the PC market with their chip sets. Did it hurt? Yea, it hurt. We went from $250M/yr to $25M/yr in 12 months. I lost my job along with a host of others. That being said, I still can't fault Intel for what they did. Quite frankly I'm surprised it took them as long as it did. The case in point with Apple and Adobe is no different.

  • Re:I'm conflicted (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:16AM (#31832322) Homepage
    The problem isn't so much that the iPhone/iPad shouldn't be running Flash due to performance/battery limitations, it's that Apple changed the rules without telling Adobe. It's as if you worked for 2 years on a shiny sports car only to be told, 3 days before you'd be able to take it on the road, that its category had been banned from using the roads ever again. I don't think Adobe would've been that pissed off had Apple told them BEFORE they started working on their Flash exporter.

    I just don't know what Apple is thinking here though because as the GP said, Apple needs Adobe as much if not more than Adobe needs Apple. Adobe's products are a major reason Apple sells well in the first place.
  • Re:I'm conflicted (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:19AM (#31832402)

    Why doesn't Adobe just stop making the photoshop and stuff for Apple and make them for linux and MS only. That would kill a large portion of Apple's business.


    Apple users would resort to Bootcamp, and Windows. /cacklemaniacally

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:21AM (#31832460)

    *Sigh* So when you bought your iPod Touch did it not say Windows PC or Mac OS X only right? It was fairly clear on my box that there was no Linux support.

    Apple basically sets their stuff up so that if you buy 1 piece of Apple equipment you're going Apple all the way or the whole thing will break. There's no TECHNICAL reason for that situation, and the artificial creation of such a situation should be regulated IMHO.

    No there's no technical reason. Just practical ones. Apple doesn't want to support Linux. Many companies don't. That's their choice. You changing your OS is not the responsibility of Apple.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:24AM (#31832510) Journal

    It is simple. Flash crap is everywhere wether you want it or not. But it is trivial to get a non-iPhone phone.

    So I am with Apple 100% on this. Flash has to die and die horribly.

    They really got themselves to blame. Apple is just paying them back for the years Adobe did not support Flash on Apple OS/Hardware.

    If Apple can kill Flash, it killed a dependency on a 3rd party provided who determines what you can and cannot do.

    Quick test: If I launch a 128 bit CPU that is completely different from x86 or ARM, then will Adobe support it? No of course not. But Apple might want to do something like that one day, and it then doesn't want to have to beg Adobe to please release flash for their new product.

    Apple already has enough problems with MS products not running on its OS, it doesn't want an endless number of 3rd party providers that can screw a product launch.

    Doubt it? What killed Vista? Lack of 3rd party support with drivers. Why does MS still have to support 32 and 16 bit? 3rd party software vendors.

    Right now, Apple can do whatever it wants with its platforms and screw any slow ass 3rd party provider.

    And of course, they don't have to worry about the endless security holes in Flash or its piss poor coding standards that can bring a desktop PC to its knees, let alone a mobile phone.

    Flash die!

  • Who cares? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki.cox@net> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:37AM (#31832768)

    I'm not being mindlessly dismissive here, but what does Adobe seek to gain here? To sway the hearts and minds of a handful of pundits while Steve Jobs rolls out products that make HTML5 development attractive?

    This part is redundant, but needs to be asked, why is Adobe not fixing flash? Is it cheaper to litigate and wage a PR war than it is to fix the damn browser plugin and development tools?

  • by gabereiser ( 1662967 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:37AM (#31832780)
    haha, so true. I actually support Adobe on this one. If people want flash, give them flash, I personally will stick to HTML5. But we should still have the option....
  • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:42AM (#31832864) Journal

    How the hell can one company require another company to use their products? Apple wants only things written in a certain language, and that can't be used to re-execute additional code, etc etc, to be installed. Have we already forgotten /Launch from pdfs, a week later? And flash itself allows additional, non-Apple-approved, code to be run. That's the point...whether or not you or I like the policy, it's not as though Adobe is being singled out. They just feel like they are because they have such crap products that are near-monopolies themselves.

    "How can you shut us out!!! We would have had our monopoly locked down if not for you...and now people are all abuzz about html5 instead! You bastards!" Yeah, I don't see how that's a legally binding thing. Ford can decide that they won't install Pioneer radios in their cars...what legal grounds would Pioneer have to suing them in to forcing them to use their product? Especially if Pioneer radios somehow broke a policy that Ford has (such as - no apps that can be used to write new apps that can be run).

  • Re:I'm conflicted (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:55AM (#31833114)

    Did you get to the bottom of my comment where I say that Adobe would have a lot of difficulty showing that Apple is a monopoly? Here, I'll quote myself for you: In this case, the facts to support the second argument (the one I provide) would be difficult to show; so that will be Adobe's burden.


    Yeah that was after first calling them a monopoly yourself, in the first paragraph. Your original post calls Apple a monopoly and then says Adobe will have a hard time proving it. That suggests "yeah we know it's true but proving it is more difficult." Except that it's not true. Surely you can see the relationship between saying something that isn't true, and having someone correct it.

    Since Apple is not a monopoly in any market, the first paragraph where you said that they were is the one that got corrected. Now it is in harmony with the second paragraph -- that is, it will be difficult for Adobe to show that Apple is a monopoly because Apple is not a monopoly. You can get all defensive about that and use bold and say cutesy stuff like "Toodles" if you need to, but you were wrong and got called out and obviously you don't handle that well.

  • Buyout? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Altus ( 1034 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @12:01PM (#31833250) Homepage

    My first though (after a brief "Sue them for what?") is that perhaps Apple should attempt a take over of Adobe. Adobe has plenty of good pro apps that would go great along side Apples pro apps.

    But then I think back to what I know from having worked with Adobe. Its a highly bloated organization, not run in a very efficient manner. Their authoring tools are great, but a lot of what made them a great company doesn't seem to be there anymore. The project that I worked on with them was very poorly conceived, poorly executed and was already on its third or fourth iteration (none of them ever went anywhere beyond the pilot program I worked on).

    For Apple, buying adobe could be too much of a drag, they would want them to be a subsidiary but the changes they would have to make to streamline to corporation could be more than Apple would want to bite off.

  • Re:I'm conflicted (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @12:14PM (#31833488)
    Your original post [] stated this:

    I think it would also be a reasonable argument that Apple can't use its monopoly in one area to force its way into another monopoly. In this case, the first monopoly would be in mobile browsers, and the other would be in user web experience.

    You stated that Apple has a monopoly in mobile browsers. Apple absolutely does not have a monopoly, not in mobile browsers, not anyplace else. It's reasonable to ask if you understand this "monopoly" concept when you blatantly use it incorrectly.

    If "noticing you said something that's just plain false" qualifies as "read[ing] way, way too much into [your] post" then so be it. Amazing the mental gymnastics people will perform to avoid admitting "hey, I was mistaken", isn't it?

    You're human, humans make mistakes, it's alright and understandable that you can't get every little thing right. It only becomes an issue when you were demonstrably, obviously 100% wrong and refuse to admit it.

  • Re:I'm conflicted (Score:2, Interesting)

    by windex82 ( 696915 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @12:23PM (#31833652) Homepage

    Our [] pre-press department used to run nothing but mac. Well one died so I replaced it with another apple.

    We recently hired a new artist and needed to add a machine so I priced out a windows machine as well and checked to see if any of our existing staff would want to use the windows system. Most did (6 of 8); two wanted to stick with macs. So I moved the user who just got the new mac to the PC.

    Total for the mac: $3100 (again, I had just paid this much to replace the failed one)
    Total for the PC: $950

    The user is much happier because the system is much more responsive (than the other brand new mac) and works with the rest of the network correctly. (group policy, authentication, etc)

    I'm hoping I can make this place Mac free as the rest need to be replaced.

  • Re:I'm conflicted (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @12:44PM (#31834010)
    And exactly which product would all the professional Adobe software users (the ones that actually make money using it) move to? I think that it would be more likely for pro users to move to Windows than to stop using the tools that they've been using (and making a living with) for years.
  • Re:I'm conflicted (Score:3, Interesting)

    by careykohl ( 682513 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @12:53PM (#31834188)
    Well the argument now isn't about allowing Flash, it's about allowing C/C++/Objective C applications that Adobe Flash CS5 exported from an application that was originally built with Flash. Apple had a case when they wanted to keep Flash off and keep everything C/C++/Objective C based, but if Adobe has managed to build a compiler that turns Flash into Objective C then Apple has no business rejecting apps simply because they were developed on software from a company they don't like.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:05PM (#31835692)

    Consider the possibility that Flash (or Monotouch) becomes the dominant development platform for the iDevice. Aside from resource issues (a Monotouch 'hello world' on the iPhone is a 5mb file while an objective C version is 50 kb (see this thread []) and the impact that could have on multitasking (being able to run fewer apps), look at the features the framework offers.

    So, lets say that Apple releases firmware 5.0 next year with a bunch of new features and 75% of the apps are written in flash How long will it be before these apps can take advantage of the new firmware? The answer is - when Adobe gets around to releasing a new version. So there is an iPhone with all these new features that the consumer can't use... and Adobe is waiting to get the android or windows phone up to a similar level so it can release something that can again target all the devices. This isn't a good situation for Apple to be in.

    Another thing to consider is if a new firmware release exposes a bug in the runtime libraries that are brought in. Now you upgrade the firmware, and a majority of apps on your iDevice crash. Who does this reflect badly upon? Apple and the developer... and yet Apple can't go and fix a bug in a third party runtime and the developer has to wait until there is a new release from Adobe.

    In these situations it is Adobe (or Novell) that will control the iDevice experience - not Apple. That is just not something Apple wants to let have happen.

  • Re:I'm conflicted (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @03:07PM (#31836954)

    Kinda sorta. HTML5 is not a drop-in replacement for Flash video, if it was it wouldn't exist because "standard" methods of embedding video have existed for a long, long, time (iframe with a src=rtsp://, for example, which generally loads your favorite movie viewer)

    The reason companies like Hulu use it is because Flash also offers DRM. Flash's main rival is Silverlight. Netflix uses that... because it offers DRM. And there's also another rival Flash has, though most people are unaware that the technology is just as capable as Flash. It's called Quicktime. And guess what, Quicktime has DRM too.

    If Apple was serious about HTML5, and were promoting it as an alternative to Flash, the iPad, iPhone, et al, wouldn't come with Quicktime built in.

    Make no mistake. This is about a bunch of self-serving jerks trying to foist proprietary multimedia frameworks on you, whose selling point is DRM (selling point to the webmaster, not to you) whether you're talking about Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, or Miguel De Icaza.

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