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Daily Dose - Is Adobe Ready to Sue the Ever-Living Crap Out of Apple?

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"Within a few weeks," says one report, Adobe will drop the lawsuit-bomb on Apple for locking out their Flash-to-iPhone compiler in the revised iPhone/iPad SDK development terms.  The report comes to us via IT World, and they said that the change in terms was the "last straw" for Adobe.  There's no word yet about the grounds on which Adobe plans to sue Apple, but Adobe did issue a complaint to the SEC shortly before the change in Apple's terms.  In that filing, Adobe complained that Apple was harming its business.

Vulnerability in Oracle's JVM Makes Noise
It appears that has been compromised by hackers and is serving up attack code that attempts to exploit a critical security hole in Oracle's JVM.  Researchers have posted about the vulnerability for awhile and criticized Oracle's response.  Oracle believes that users can wait for a patch scheduled for July.  Security researcher Alex Sotirov tweets a different solution: "I uninstalled Java more than a year ago and haven't had a single problem with any website," he wrote. "Why are people still running Java in the browser?"  Hackers also recently broke into Apache's JIRA server through a cross-site scripting attack.

Silverlight 4 Now Available
Even though the "launch" of Silverlight 4 was on Monday, the actual release did not occur until today.  Silverlight 4 should be available for download here.  Because of Silvelight 4's elevated permissions feature, it now has printing, clipboard, and charting functionality.  Silverlight is becoming Microsoft's solution for creating low-cost business applications by not requiring the .NET environment.  Silverlight 4 also continues to eclipse WPF's functionality.

A Flash Video-to-iPhone Transcoder; I Wonder How This Will End
Today it seems that Apple has another backdoor technology to contend with.  The US company, RipCode, has a technology called the TransAct Transcoder V6 that takes Flash requests and converts them into a format accepted by the iPad and iPhone using a cloud farm.  The transcoder can also convert Silverlight into QuickTime, MP4, or MPEG-TS.  RipCode's CEO Brendon Mills weighed in on the recent change in Apple's iPhone terms of development: "The ‘Flash on iPad’ dilemma is really just the latest in a long line of speed bumps on the road towards ‘any-content, any-time, any-place, any-devic’ that we all desire."  We'll see if Mills' optimism is toppled by another possible change in iPhone service terms.

Everything You Should Know About Adobe Creative Suite 5 (CS5)
CS5 is here.  Designers and developers will learn everything they need to know about its new features here.  Aviaquarius rocks for posting this link!
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Christopher Brind replied on Thu, 2010/04/15 - 1:57am

For those interested in Flash, there's also Elips Studio by OpenPlug which lets you use a restricted Flex SDK to create apps for just about everyone mobile device you could think of ... natively.

Nice Robot replied on Thu, 2010/04/15 - 5:22am

I don't think Adobe has a leg to stand on here. Apple doesn't have a monopoly on mobile devices, not even close, so there's little justification for forcing them to comply with any other corporation's requests. Apple has the right to do whatever the hell they want with their products. If they ever monopolize the industry, then courts and regulators can step in and mandate some fairness.

Additionally, Apple's claims of bloat and insecurity are valid and true so if Adobe wants to air that laundry, file a suit. Apple can simply point out all the security flaws that they don't want to expose their customer to.

James Jamesson replied on Thu, 2010/04/15 - 5:54am

Alex Sotirov is confused. The security flaw is related to Java webstart not Java plugin. Java webstart applications do not run inside browser's sandbox. So recommending people not to run Java in their browser sounds like a political point of view not technical. Keep it to yourself Alex.

Adobe has no justification to sue Apple. That would be a bad move unlocking pandora's box for Flash in Apple world. They would not dare.

Jess Holle replied on Thu, 2010/04/15 - 6:36am

I also don't think Adobe has a leg to stand on -- anyone that releases an application on Apple's platform agrees to a list of truly onerous and draconian terms, including Apple's right to refuse any application immediately or at any time thereafter.  Essentially they're the all powerful dictator over everyone playing in this space.  I think this is absolutely awful, but I'm not sure what the courts can do about this if developers agree to such terms.

Developers, on the other hand, can and should reject these terms and find another market.  Sure, there's money to be made in this market -- for as long as Apple likes you and your app.  If they decide your app might decrease their profit or that of their partners (e.g. AT&T) in any possible scenario or that you or their app don't give the right Apple image or whatever all your investment is down the tubes, right then and there.  Developers on the iPhone/iPad are sharecroppers profiting only so long as it pleases Apple.

Igor Laera replied on Thu, 2010/04/15 - 10:07am

I think, their "legal" leg isn't if their app can be "effectively" blocked.

It's more that the shareholders will ask what are they doing to "get it on"
in the iPhone market. And since they can't do anything right now, they have
to go any possible route to ensure that they used any possible option.

"Look, we even tried to sue them! Our hands are tied!"

If I were in the shoes of Adobe, I would go a totally different route:

I would tell Apple, that I will invest some millions into an actionsscript-2-objectiveC
converter targeting the iPhone-API. Apple couldn't do anything against that.

But how will Apple cope with the fact, that they will then get about 1 million flash
converted "Apps" per month, asking to be included into the App store? :)

JeffS replied on Thu, 2010/04/15 - 5:02pm

I don't know if Adobe itself has a legal leg to stand on if they sue (other than for anti-trust, which is inching ever closer).  However, Adobe made a big investment in doing the Flash cross compiler, with the knowledge of the previous terms.  And I'm sure Adobe consulted Apple during (and prior to) the development of the cross compiler.  So maybe that gives them legal teeth.

Other players, like Unity, which uses Mono and is used to make games for iPhone and other platforms, might have a legal leg.  They've already made big investments, and companies that have used Unity  have produced top ranked games that are very popular.  And Apple is completely pulling the rug out from under them.  There was no warning of this in previous terms or conditions.  It's conceivable that Unity and companies that use Unity can force Apple, legally, to allow the Unity engine/compiler on iPhone. 

 But as always, IANAL.

 Regardless of legal ramifications, Apple is quickly making their platform less and less attractive to developers and ISVs.  Writing to the iPhone platform is like walking through a minefield for money.  Sure, the payoff might be big, but at anytime you could step on a landmine, and you're toast.


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