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European Union teams with FTC on Apple's Flash policies

updated 11:15 am EDT, Tue August 10, 2010

Months left in investigation, source claims

The European Commission has joined with the US Federal Trade Commission in probing Apple policies towards Flash, a source for the New York Post claims. Little else is known about the effort, although the Commission has taken a strong stance on interoperability, with which Apple's locks on iOS and the App Store may come into conflict. A combined investigation could take as long as four to six months, the source says.

At the heart of the conflict is a sudden change to App Store rules several months ago, blocking the use of cross-compilers for iOS apps. While affecting other companies, the move is thought to have been aimed squarely at Adobe, which was on the verge of releasing a cross-compiler for Flash by way of Creative Suite 5. The technology was in fact going to be used for magazines such as the iPad version of Wired, and forced Adobe and publisher Condé Nast to come up with workarounds.

The Apple policy may violate competition laws, as it effectively forces companies to develop either for iOS or for other platforms, instead of both. For its part Apple claims the rules ensure the quality of apps, preventing companies from resorting to the lowest common denominator when coding. Apple, the FTC and the European Commission have declined to comment on recent events.

by MacNN Staff



  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    VIolate competition laws?

    Is Apple preventing anyone from creating competitors to their devices? Should they also be expected to have Real Player as well as other esoteric format player "just in case"?

    I hate flash banner and I don't want them. Even though have jailbroken devices, I have no intention of installing the flash implementation. I don't want more ads and most of the games require a hardware keyboard making them unplayable on an iPhone or iPad anyway.

    If you don't know how to program in anything other than flash then you don't deserve to call yourself a programmer/developer. You are just a graphic designer who knows some action script.

    The simple solution is to buy a book and learn how to program in Objective-C. MSFT does not go out of its way to help you develop for Windows devices without windows desktop so I don't see a problem with having to use OS X and X-Code.

  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple's policy doesn't FORCE anyone to do anything. Developers have FOUR fundamental choices in this matter:
    1) build within the iOS framework and keep on the Gravy Train
    2) develop a workaround that isn't in violation of Apple's policies to EARN their keep
    3) design for other OS' and teach Apple a lesson
    4) stop whining and find another line of work that allows them to design once and profit many times

    As long as there are OTHER OS's to develop for, there is no law that can force interoperability.

  1. Raman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title


    Seriously. I used to think developers were more intelligent than that.

  1. zooachtiv

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hey Adobe... HOT TIP!

    Make a version of flash that doesn't:

    A) Eat battery power like Sookie eats chicken wings
    B) Work w/o a mouse and keyboard
    C) That is stable
    D) Actually compiled for an iPhone/iPad

    b**** all you want, but you have to PROVE to Jobs/Apple/us, that you can make a decent product, that really does work.

    We will know shortly when YoYo 2.2 is released. Play your stolen movies, turn on your Wifi hotspot so your script kiddy friends can use your bandwidth.. Lets see how long your phone works.

    My buddies Droid, while cool, last about 2 hrs.. Not cool.. And it drops calls too!

  1. IxOsX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just an Opinion

    I see most of the folks here are juts against Flash. I myself dislike flash a lot and agree with most of what are been written here, on the comments.

    But I think the question here is to allow the consumer, the possibility to access to a very popular and spread format over web sites.

    I myself, owner of a iPhone 3G (now sluggish with the iOS4), have for several times need to quick access to a site that have some info on flash, but can't do it with an iPhone, or an iPad. This is the real attack subject: "the choice of access to web contents". So this subject is not just b/w, is more complicated than just the possibility to allow some Flash developers develop for iOS. It's just a different perspective of the other Commentators.

    But I agree that it's true that flash sucks! :-)

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Am with Apple on this one

    Automatic gut reaction... if the European Commission is investigating ANYTHING, I am against it. These screwlooses somehow feel that any developer or manufacturer (from Europe) should be able to get whatever they want. And this complaint is sent out as a disguise "beef" for their alleged consumer.

    As someone said above, "hey, develop for another platform." I see the malware is starting for Droid... bring it on, apps from anybody, anytime, anywhere.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2010


    comment title

    I pray that Adobe Ad Player NEVER gets on any iOS devices. I also PRAY Apple removes it from Safari for Mac. PLEASE JUST GET RID OF IT. PLEASE. ALL IT DOES IS LOAD ADS, IT HAS NOT A SINGLE OTHER PURPOSE.

  1. bonaccij

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The thing is...

    it's not really whether you can develop flash for the iPhone or not. They think that Apple is putting limitations on how people can/will view content. That is what is at the heart of this debate.

    That said, I think that the EU and the FTC should also investigate:
    * Sony, for not allowing any cross development on their PlayStations
    * Microsoft, for not allowing cross development on their XBox
    * Nintendo, for not allowing cross development on their Wii Systems

    Here's the thing. People think that because they bought this device they should be able to do with it whatever they want. This case will end up going nowhere, because that stance is just ridiculous. Regardless whether Flash is good or bad, how much you love it or hate it - Apple doesn't believe in the technology. I, for one, don't think they should be FORCED to do anything with it. Since the ruling has come out that you can now legally jailbreak your phone - leave it up to those people. They are fully capable of making flash work on a jailbroken device. I will NEVER understand why the FTC and EU think they should muscle their way into this situation. It is no different than the above stated cases - and they do nothing about those.

  1. dankothehun

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Our taxpayer dollars at work

    I am so excited about the fact that the FTC is spending our good money for nothing. Since when does every web browser need to be able to be able to work with every plugin available?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's amazing how so few people actually bother to read the article or understand the basic concepts, but just see the word 'flash' and immediately jump to "I don't want it!" and "It's not anti-competitive!".

    This is about cross-compilers, not flash run-time or plug-ins or anything else. It's Apple's arbitrary policy of saying "Not only do you have to create an app that utilizes our language and API, but you must use our tool to do it."

    At this point it becomes a money issue. If a developer has a program in some development environment other than Apple's, they can't use it. They'll have to re-code from scratch (or some semblance there of), causing them to add another code-base to a project. And all that costs money, in development, maintenance, and support.

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