Adobe does 'end-around' Apple with Flash dev tool, says analyst

Adobe exec says ability to recompile Flash apps 'good for Apple, good for iPhone users'

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On Monday, Ludwig told reporters that Adobe built its development tool without any help from Apple.

Today, he argued that Adobe's move to open the App Store to Flash developers is good for Apple. "This is good for Apple, good for iPhone users," he said. "Apple has made a lot more money than we have from this announcement, since we haven't sold any development tools."

There are ways for Apple to spot iPhone applications created using Flash Pro CS5, Ludwig admitted. "It's certainly possible," he said, noting that by digging into the resulting iPhone code, Apple would be able to spot Adobe- and Flash Pro-specific APIs, or application programming interfaces.

Gartner's Baker said it was impossible to know whether Apple had been forewarned that the applications were developed using Flash Pro CS5 before it okayed them for the App Store. Apple did not immediately reply to questions today about Flash Pro CS5, and whether it would block other software recompiled with Adobe's tool from the App Store.

"I don't think anyone knows the answer," said Baker, "but [any disapproval] would be in keeping with Apple's tradition of favoring its own technology or code, whether it's H.264 for video or their own code base for iPhone apps."

Adobe plans to roll out a public beta of Flash Pro CS5 before the end of this year, and will ship a final product in the first half of 2010.

"There's been an extraordinary response, to be honest," said Ludwig. "It's the most vocal response of any announcement from us that I can remember, certainly in the last five years.

"The combination of seeing applications running on Windows Mobile, Palm's Pre and other phones, and the fact that developers realize they can now reuse their code, that story has been a long-time goal of developers who want to get into mobile," said Ludwig.

"But is this going to change Apple's mind about Flash on the iPhone?" Baker asked rhetorically. "Probably not."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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