EU Jumps into iOS Code Restriction Investigation

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Apparently the European Union has decided to join with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in investigating Apple’s policy prohibiting cross-compiler tools for building iPhone applications. The policy became headline news after Adobe complained publicly that the move meant developers couldn’t use its Flash-based iPhone app development tools.

Word that the EU is participating in the FTC’s investigation comes from unnamed sources, according to the New York Post. Despite the assertion, there isn’t any official word from the FTC that it is actually conducting an antitrust investigation into Apple’s coding restriction policies.

The assumption, however, is that the FTC has launched an official investigation because the organization withheld related documents from the media over concerns the release could negatively impact law enforcement-related functions.

“We have located 189 pages of responsive records, all of which are exempt from the FOIA’s disclosure requirement,” FTC general counsel Joan A. Fina told Wired in response a request for documents related to Adobe’s complaint.

Since the agency doesn’t confirm ongoing investigations, the denial for documents has been interpreted to mean an investigation is underway.

Apple chose to ban third-party compilers that don’t directly call iOS APIs to avoid lowest common denominator situations where developers write an app to deploy on multiple smartphones, but code only for the least capable device. Apple contends it is within its rights to limit the types of tools developers use to code for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Assuming an investigation is underway, it could take several months before it is completed.

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43 Comments Leave Your Own

geoduck

I so nothing whatsoever wrong with Apple or MS, or RIM saying “We developed this platform. This is our standard for creating apps for that platform. If you want to sell apps for this platform you must follow our standards.”

I just do not see anything wrong with that.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

And yet, geoduck, if Apple were to put fiber into the ground to your home, you would every problem with them saying, “We put this fiber in the ground. This is our standard for data and services that use that fiber. If you want your data and services to travel on that fiber, you must follow our standards.”

I’m trying to understand that philosophy that adamantly supports net neutrality but has no problem with Apple’s hypercontrol of the iOS platform. Help me out.

daimao777

geoduck I think you’re missing the point.  Apple has every right to decide what code or programming language to use for their platform but they shouldn’t be able to dictate HOW you write/compile that code.

Let me give you an example.  It is like Apple saying you can use the Safari browser which can handle HTML/Java/Flash/Javascript etc code.  But also insisting that you code/compile your HTML/Java/Flash/Javascript ONLY with their tools… does that seem right to you?  Why can’t I just code/compile with whatever tool I want?  See the difference?

Nobody likes a micromanager.  And that is EXACTLY what Apple is.

JonGl

The age of the busybodies. Keep it up, and there won’t be anybody left to innovate.

JimmyDean

Here is my problem with the whole issue…MS can’t get away with just putting IE on Windows for the EU, it has to give a ballot because MS is being selfish…but Apple, this is perfectly fine for them to do what ever they want. When did the rules for all become the rules for some?

Tiger

You cannot compare Microsoft and Apple in this situation. Apple makes and sells the hardware and operating system that is optimized for that system. They set the standard. It is put out there as a choice. Microsoft didn’t make the hardware, but required those that do to USE their OS and browser, which is why they got in trouble. And to date, they still haven’t been fully held accountable, even by the EU. They’re STILL fighting in court. Also, they’re not required to preload any other browser, they just can’t prevent you from installing another and making it your default. Big difference. (and yet to run Windows Update, you still have to have IE. Go figure!)

If anyone is to blame here, it is Adobe. Their track record as a developer should be what’s on trial. It’s no wonder Apple has been in a spat with them. When it takes months and years before Adobe will bring comparable tools to the Mac side instead of the Windows side and in some cases, even longer, they make themselves out to be the bad guys. Trash, I mean Flash, is the problem. Compiling using it will perpetuate the problem.

Plainly put Adobe, put up or shut up. Flash is awful. I’m blocking it now because I’m sick of the errors, crashes, and hangs it created in Safari and Firefox.

And to all those sites who use it, you’re LOSING customers not gaining them by continuing to use this faulty technology. I, and apparently millions of others, don’t view your ads. And if your entire site is in Flash, I don’t go there at all after discovering it. Never.

Flash really is just that bad. I make my choice with my dollars and you make your choice to NOT want my dollars. Apple is just helping me with my choice. Not yours!

daimao777

Tiger, this has NOTHING to do with Flash.  Did you even read the article?  The issue is basically this, “Apple contends it is within its rights to limit the types of tools developers use to code for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.”  Apple wants to CONTROL the tools you use to create apps.  That like saying you can ONLY use MS Word to create a document.  You can’t use Notepad, TextWrangler, Open Office etc… even though those ‘tools’ would create perfectly good documents that can be read by Apples own text programs.

Again, this has NOTHING to do with Flash.  This is Apple saying you can’t use Adobe products to create APPLE apps.(NOT FLASH apps.)

JonGl

Again, this has NOTHING to do with Flash.  This is Apple saying you can?t use Adobe products to create APPLE apps.(NOT FLASH apps.)

Correction. It’s _all_ about Flash. Adobe has created a tool that allows developers to use Flash to create/develop an “application” and then compile this into an iPhone app that could then be bought on Apple’s store. It is this that Apple has disallowed.

If you want to understand why. Just think of being constrained to solely what Flash is able to do in your iPhone apps. I hate to say it, but if Apple allowed Adobe’s code, the iTunes store would be even more full of useless junk that was indistinguishable from the rest of the junk.

As a customer who has a hard enough time filtering out the junk that’s on the iTunes store, and as a firm believer in free enterprise, I’m all for this. (free enterprise means that the government can’t tell Apple they have to let Adobe play in their sand box.) As an aside, has anybody seen flash on any other phone OSes? Hm…

-Jon

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@JohnGL: Flash is running in the Browser on my Nexus One. Verizon customers will be able to pick up a Droid 2 with Froyo and Flash pre-installed on August 12.

And like every time this discussion comes up, I ask if anyone has tried Fruit Smash Organic from the App Store. Anyone? Is it still there? Made with Flash.

This is so high school. It’s like when people I knew in high school would say bad things about blacks or Jews. All I had to do was introduce them to someone who was black or Jewish and they’d stop acting like such silly bigots.

JonGl

Yup. One phone. And how long has Android been on the market? Doesn’t it run great? How about those hover spots? Look. You may like having Flash on your phone, and you may find it useful, and may even like this one game that works, but let’s be honest. Why should Apple, which already uses a heavy hand on app approvals, be _forced_ by the government (or people like you) to allow Adobe Flash on its phones? I love how you immediately invoke bigotry to make your argument. Speaking about “high school”... Somehow, you always bring ad hominum attacks into these discussions.

-Jon

daimao777

Jon,

I’ll have to disagree.

1) Nobody is forcing developers to use Adobe products to create Apple apps.  Therefore you won’t be limited.

2) There is no other way to put this so I’ll say it.  You’re wrong about being limited to ‘Flash’ abilities anyway.  Here is what CS5 can do.(Before Apples new rules.)

“The applications are built using the current rules of Apple’s iPhone Developer Program. They are designed and built utilizing Action Script 3 with Flash platform tooling. Developers can take advantage of the accelerometer and the multi-touch capabilities of the iPhone using Flash Professional CS5.”

Flash apps doesn’t even support multi-touch and accelerometer!(Yet)  So how can you be limited to what Flash does?

Again it’s just a platform to code, what is wrong with using tools you are familiar with to make apps for Android, Flash, iPhone or whatever?

daimao777

A friend just told me Flash 10x does/will support multi-touch etc.  So I was mistaken.  But the point is it didn’t until recently but you could have still made apps for the iPhone that did.

aardman

@daimao777.  Your point is valid if the code developed/compiled on a 3rd party platform is completely interchangeable with code compiled on Apple’s official platform.  But it isn’t.  Apple undertakes that apps developed on their platform will not be disabled by iOS updates.  They cannot guarantee this for Adobe.  They do not want to guarantee this for Adobe.  They have no obligation to guarantee this for Adobe.

Now if iOS apps developed using Adobe’s platform become ubiquitous and an iOS update disables theses apps, who’s brand and rep gets tarnished in the eyes of the consuming public?  Adobe?  Of course not.  It would be Apple.  So Apple’s brand becomes hostage to Adobe’s actions.  NO GOVERNMENT WILL ALLOW AN ANTITRUST REMEDY THAT MAKE’S ONE COMPANY’S REPUTATION AND PRODUCT QUALITY HOSTAGE TO ANOTHER COMPANY.

End of story okay?  Those whining “How come Microsoft . . . blah blah blah . .  whimper, sniffle, sniffle, mama!” have no understanding of strategic behavior and antitrust.  Furthermore, argument by analogy has its limits.  You can’t use brute force analogies on two fundamentally different situations.  @Tiger above already told you the fundamental difference between Apple and Microsoft.

Tiger

Tundra’s right. An analogy can’t tell the whole story.

So how about 3?

If the EU and the FTC rule in favor of Adobe, companies who make “platforms” could soon all be forced to open their systems as well.

All gaming console makers will likely have to open up their boxes to other platforms and technology. Right now, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are allowed to dictate everything about their platforms and the tools used to develop games. Period. This can of worms may not be one they want opened up.

Another example is automakers. My car’s GPS system is now 3 years old. I inquired about upgrading. The technology is from a vendor that Mitsubishi licenses the software from. Theirs and only theirs. The odd thing is that I can’t even buy it from the maker. They have signed an exclusive agreement requiring that I have to buy it from Mitsubishi at their marked up retail price. I have no options. And yes, it’s perfectly legal. To buy the DVD, which I figured would cost about $50-75 is actually $350! All for a bunch of maps. I exercised my choice and I didn’t buy it.

Automakers can control what software goes into their platform. Game makers can control their platforms.

And lest we forget about electronics manufacturers and their ability to control what goes on their platform. (Anybody willing to hack your Sony DVD Blu-Ray player and install a different OS and video technology on it?)

The problem here is who is defining what is “perfectly good” to use daimo’s words. Can Adobe dictate that their proprietary technology has to be used despite the obvious problems with the technology and their track record for lagging so far behind?

Is it anticompetitive IF there are other competitive choices already? Its not like developers don’t have other options. It’s not like consumers don’t have other options. They do in both cases. They have RIM’s platform. They have Windows. And now they have Android. Just because they want to “write once, run anywhere” doesn’t mean they can actually make that happen.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Tiger… Terrible example. Pardon me for saying this, but if you bought the automaker’s premium electronics, you’re pissing money. Any serious car aficionado has known this for 20 years. Having done that, browse over to Crutchfield.com and get yourself a system that will last you a few years. One thing that the aftermarket providers can do is provide harness-level support for their gear. “IP” protocols in the automotive industry ensure that third party parts suppliers can get in.

When buying a new car, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to add a third party electronics/entertainment/comm system for 1/2 the price as the factory wants, which is as good or better than the factory provides and which looks factory installed.

daimao777

I hear all you guys.  I really do.  I own an iPhone.  I’m typing on my Macbook as we speak.  And I’m waiting for the iPad to come out with a camera so I can get that as well.  That’s really why I’m upset that Apple still hasn’t learned lessons from its own past and that of others.  Companies DO NOT LIKE dealing with Apple.  They do so only because Apple is popular right now but as soon as a good alternative comes out do you really think they will continue to support Apple being the dictators they are?  They have no goodwill with the other players in the industry.(At least not behind closed doors.)  A closed garden only works for so long.

aardman

if Apple were to put fiber into the ground to your home . .  .

Stop it right there.  Textbook case of brute force false analogy.  Fiber to home is a public utility and/or requires easements through publicly owned lands.  If Apple does lay fiber to home, there is a whole welter of technical, legal, and antitrust regulations that they must observe.  iOS apps are completely different.  No matter what prism you look through, a pull-my-finger app developed for iOS, or any app whatsoever, can never fall in the same category as fiber optic to home.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@tundraboy… Fine, then in the spirit of Google and Verizon, let’s consider a last-mile wireless Internet solution. Go!

JonGl

Let me cut to the chase as I see it. Adobe should not be allowed to use the brute force of government “regulation” to force Apple to allow it to do what it wants. Period. You can argue the details, etc. but all you do then is grant the validity of the premise that Adobe should be allowed to use the government as a blunt weapon to force Apple to do its bidding.

-Jon

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Jon, I agree 100% with you that they shouldn’t. But what we think doesn’t change that they probably will, and they will probably get overt and covert support of many smaller tools vendors who became collateral damage in Jobs’ War on Flash.

Apple’s restrictions are a dick move in the computing market and a stupid move in a portion of the economy that has had a regulatory target on it for 15 years. It’s bad business. Complain all you want about who doesn’t like it, the fact is that Apple will not be able to have its way on this.

aardman

@Bosco, sure you can install aftermarket auto accessories.  But the automaker has no obligation to support it, much less, guarantee it.  You can do that to with iOS.  It’s perfectly legal.  It’s called jailbreaking.  Apple has no legal right to dictate what you put in your jail broken iPhone.  But they’re not obligated to honor the warranty either.  They’re not even obligated to ensure that your jail broken iPhone doesn’t ever get bricked.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@tundraboy… Wrong. When you install aftermarket accessories on an automobile that are OEM spec or designed to work within the OEM specs, your warranty cannot be voided. It’s actually a matter of law.

aardman

Apple?s restrictions are a dick move in the computing market and a stupid move in a portion of the economy that has had a regulatory target on it for 15 years. It?s bad business. Complain all you want about who doesn?t like it, the fact is that Apple will not be able to have its way on this.

If Apple doesn’t have its way on this, then you have to take down the game console vendors as well.  No, people object to this because it’s Apple doing it and they don’t like Apple.  Plain and simple.

aardman

@tundraboy? Wrong. When you install aftermarket accessories on an automobile that are OEM spec or designed to work within the OEM specs, your warranty cannot be voided. It?s actually a matter of law.

You’re wrong.  I didn’t say the warranty for your car gets voided. Where did I say that?  I said the automaker’s warranty will not cover the third party accessory or component AND any damage to the rest of the car that is caused by the third party accessory/component.

You know every debating trick in the book.  But I know them too. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

daimao777

Let’s put it this way.  What do you think would happen if Apple said all software written for Snow Leopard must use Apple tools only.  Answer?  Apple would be gone overnight because nobody would support them.

I’m not saying that they can’t do that but it would be a stupid move.  So why is it a smart move for iOS?  Just because they are the leaders in this race for now?  Such a short term outlook and typical of Apple if you look at their history.  God I hope they open up a little more.  I really do like the products they make.  But as soon as all the newest and best stuff start popping up on Android or whatever and iPhone users have to wait to get ‘ports’ I will leave Apple behind.  Remember how ridiculously long it took Skype to come out on OS X?  Apple wants other companies to open up(movie, music, game makers etc) but damn if they want to play by the same rules.

JonGl

The only way it is a “mistake” is that it may be a PR move mistake. Honestly, I don’t see Apple losing on this one, as too much is at stake—however, knowing the “government can do anything it wants” attitude prevalent today, I may be wrong. I’m perfectly fine with Apple keeping Adobe out of their space. IMO, it was just a back-door way for Adobe to force itself on Apple, which, IMO, is an ugly and stupid move. But you are correct. It doesn’t really matter what we thing now that the government is involved. wink In other words, this whole debate is rather senseless. wink

-Jon

JonGl

Remember how ridiculously long it took Skype to come out on OS X?  Apple wants other companies to open up(movie, music, game makers etc) but damn if they want to play by the same rules.

Interesting you should mention Skype. I seem to recall that the original beta was on the Mac very quickly at the very beginning. I got my own name as my screen name, and that doesn’t usually happen if I’m not in at the earliest stages. Yes, some features came late (audio, skype-in, etc.) but they had an app early. But here’s the point I want to make. Apple generally cares about one thing with developers and developer tools—the end-user experience. They force a lot of consistency on the developers. And if a developer doesn’t want to play along, you won’t see Apple whining and begging and “incentivizing” developers to play along. Apple generally lets the market work. When enough people want it, the developers respond. (and the Skype folks, btw, worked hard to make the Mac app buzzword compliant from the very start, and yes, it has caused the Mac app to lag behind Windows,  but then again, so does the Linux version) I only wish their competition would behave the same.

-Jon

aardman

Let?s put it this way.? What do you think would happen if Apple said all software written for Snow Leopard must use Apple tools only.? Answer?? Apple would be gone overnight because nobody would support them.

I?m not saying that they can?t do that but it would be a stupid move.? So why is it a smart move for iOS?

Because Apple wants to position IOS as the device platform for people who want a mobile device that is tightly controlled and works smoothly all the time.  If that’s what you want, then go get an iPhone. If you want to sacrifice the ‘works smoothly’ part for a little (or a lot) more openness then jail break your iPhone or get an Android.

What is it with you people who think Apple, or any other business for that matter, should cater their business exclusively to please you? 

Steve Jobs said it himself, this is what they’re doing and if people like it then good.  If enough people don’t like it and enough of them don’t buy it, then they’ll obviously have to address it.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@tundraboy… The automaker cannot refuse to service your battery or alternator (just) because you have an aftermarket stereo installed. Apple can refuse to service your iPhone if they see you have jailbroken it. This is why your metaphor is off-base. “IP” works much differently in automotive than it does in computing.

And this… No, people object to this because it?s Apple doing it and they don?t like Apple.  Plain and simple.

That’s just lazy thinking. You can do better than that. I did like Apple, a lot. I do not like that Apple is imposing high costs for deploying to their iOS platform and justifying those costs with bullshit reasoning and FUD. Cross-platform software is not worse, nor is it necessarily lowest common denominator, nor is it necessarily precluded from taking advantage of new platform features before vendors officially support them. I’ve given example after example, detail after detail, unrefuted in most cases and weakly refuted in others. And you guys still swallow the Apple narrative hook, line, and sinker.

Would you at least concede that the only thing Apple wants in this arena is control? Then we can debate whether that is good or bad.

daimao777

Exactly right, Apple wants control.  I like Apple products myself but I’m no sheep.  And these same people have the nerve to think MS is evil.  At least MS wanted to dominate just the OS.  If Apple had its way:

- Control Hardware.
- Control OS.
- Control how programs are created for OS.
- Control internet experience.

Did I miss anything?  An Apple dominated world would plain suck.

daimao777

Ok, that last comment of mine sounded a bit harsh.  It’s my first time posting comments and I have to admit it can become addicting.  I think I need to stay off it… I can think of better uses of my time. smile

I’m glad we’re able to express our opinions.  I’m sure in the end the market will sort this thing out.

Voice

@Bosco
Tundraboy never said the auto maker could “refuse to service your battery or alternator (just) because you have an aftermarket stereo installed”.  In fact, when you threw that straw man up the first time, he explicitly pointed out what he had said.

If you put in an aftermarket stereo and it fries your car’s electrical system, however, the automaker certainly *can* refuse to cover the damage under the car’s warranty.  No argument there?  Good.

Apple’s development restrictions for iOS don’t now, and never have, limited developers to Apple’s development tools.  Just to native code development.  They don’t want an intermediate layer worming its way in to the point where nobody bothers to support the new technologies Apple integrates because the middle-ware doesn’t support it.

They’ve been bitten by that in the past, and don’t want to deal with it again.

Top it off with the fact that Adobe was complaining that Apple wouldn’t let them put Flash on the iPhone for a good 2.5-3 *years* before they had anything that could even *potentially* be put on an iOS device, and you should be able to understand the lack of sympathy a lot of us have for Adobe’s position.

JonGl

Cross-platform software is not worse, nor is it necessarily lowest common denominator, nor is it necessarily precluded from taking advantage of new platform features before vendors officially support them.

All good “cross platform” software is not write-once-compile-many. Even the hero of cross-platform, open source, Firefox, has platform-specific code for the various platforms. I’ve compiled Firefox for X11 on my Mac, and I can assure you, it’s no easy matter, and not just a recompile from the same code base. On the other, it sure seems that this Adobe compiler will be a write-once, compile-many scenario. Yuck. Java ought to have already proven the futility of that! OK, there _is_ Qt, but even that may require code to be written to allow for the various platforms… I have no experience with it.

-Jon

Novice

Please read Steve Job’s open letter FIRST because this article doesn’t explain the situation clearly.

Explained in simple terms:

Q. What happens if Flash is used?

A. Well, The goal of Flash is to be a used in ALL platforms. No problem so far. For that to happen, Flash has to be as GENERAL as possible to support EVERY platform (because if Flash is too specific for one platform, it won’t work in another platform).

Now here’s the problem: As always, APPLE is always pushing the limits with invention (we all now enjoy the luxury of TOUCH SCREEN MOBILES) and find in-ordinary ways to come up with new things or at least leave the DOOR to that PATH open. If APPLE allows Flash for the developments of APPS, all the developers would have to use the SAME lowest common denominator FILE LIBRARIES that was created for every other JOE platforms. But remember, this is APPLE.  They want to come up with new stuff for their own good (just as Flash wants to be as GENERAL for their own good).  By relying Flash in between, APPLE’S door to come up with cool stuff becomes as SLOW as FLASH’S improvement, which is 100% dependent on the improvement of all the other JOE platforms.

Explained in simple terms.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Voice: Why try to compare automakers and Apple then? The IP regimes and other laws that dictate the level of control they can assert are very different. It’s not a valid metaphor if you’re arguing that Apple either has a right to behave as it does or that it is right to.

You’re just parroting Jobs on the tools and languages stuff. I’ve pointed out numerous times that many third party tools and environments have facilities for calling platform native stuff. So while they may not expose it immediately at a higher level, it’s exposed for use just as easily as for any C programmer going “native”. At any rate, there are trade-offs associated with any development technology. Apple chooses to highlight negatives it perceives while failing to note that millions of apps were made possible for Mac because of third party development tools—tools that make software development accessible to more people and/or less expensive to develop software. Apple’s dishonesty about this dynamic out to be a flashing red light for those considering paying premium prices for a premium brand. However, as you can observe in any Mac forum, it’s actually manna for the true believers.

John Dingler, artist,

Regulatory bodies investigate all of the time; It’s what they do. However, the imposition of remedies may not occur. The withholding of some documents could just as well be a sign of prudency, with the regulatory body ready to drop the imposition of remedies suggested by Adobe, but it has not gotten to that perfunctory step yet. We just don’t know.

The only news in this article is the that the two regulatory bodies are tag-teaming, everything else being interesting speculation.

In my opinion, I am not sure if I would like the EU imposing its Socialistic, big bugub’nt hand on the US, and on this issue. Sounds to me as if it’s willing to thwart Apple’s operations considering that the company allegedly pays out less than other tech companies grease the hands of neo-Cardinals, bureaucrats, and legislators.

Voice

@Bosco
As for the automotive comparison, I’m not the one who made it.  I’m just the one who shot down your straw man the *second* time you put it up there, in response to it being shot down the first time.

As for my “parroting Jobs on the tools and languages stuff”, I’m not.  I’ve simply read the pertinent information, and, as such, I’m aware that developers are free to use whatever tools they want so long as those tools produce native C or C++ or ObjectiveC code.  This requirement exists to prevent a slow-moving bit of widely-used middle-ware from interfering with Apple’s ability to update their platforms and provide new features and functionality.

A tool which produces native code allows a developer to make the changes necessary to support functionality that the tool doesn’t yet support on its own.  A tool which *doesn’t* produce native code, does not provide this capability to the developer.

The fact that Apple already gets tons of complaints about the quality of the tool in question here (Flash) even though they have nothing to do with the tool simply makes the reasoning for forbidding intermediate platform type middle-ware all the more clear.

It has nothing to do with Apple wanting to control users or developers, and everything with them wanting to ensure that their users and developers have access to the functionality their platform provides.

You’re free to disagree with the concept, but that doesn’t actually change anything or make Apple’s motives nefarious.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

A tool which produces native code allows a developer to make the changes necessary to support functionality that the tool doesn?t yet support on its own.? A tool which *doesn?t* produce native code, does not provide this capability to the developer.

@Voice: Here you’ve proven that you just don’t know what you’re talking about. An example of a tool which does not produce native C-code and can provide such capabilities to developers is REAL Studio (n?e REALbasic). It can do it through its plugin mechanism and via “declares”. REAL Software, in the past, expressed intentions to target iPhone and worked on a path to fulfilling those intentions eventually. With the War on Flash and the tortured logic that supports it, that possibility is gone.

Voice

@Bosco
You’re overstating your case again.  As of July 16, 2010, REAL Studio was working toward supporting Cocoa.  If they, as the development language/environment creators have to work toward supporting the basic framework for Mac apps, they *don’t* provide the basic capability to make use of Apple’s new technologies without waiting for an outside source to update their middle-ware.  The fact that you had to include “its plugin mechanism” as one of the tools to facilitate this should have clued you in.

If I want to write code for the iPhone, I don’t need XCode.  I don’t need any Apple applications at all.  I just need the SDK (for the headers and such) and a C/C++/Objective C compiler that can target the ARM architecture.  With REAL Studio, on the other hand, I’d apparently need to wait for them to write their wrappers (and such) to support Cocoa, and then wait each time Apple updated iOS so that the REAL Studio team could update those wrappers to support the new functionality.

I’m making no claims as to the quality of REAL Studio or the intentions of its developers, but if you’ve got to wait for a third party to update their software to take advantage of new features, you run the risk of not being able to do so for significant periods of time due to a delay that neither you, nor Apple has any control over.

That is exactly what Apple wants to avoid.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Voice, You underestimate what you don’t know, both about the business of tools and how new features are supported. On business, tools companies don’t get to pull this stuff out of their butts. They invest a lot of money over a long period of time to get on new platforms. Some were investing money with the goal of supporting iPhone OS in mind. Apple’s lockdown of the platform and the one-language policy was both unexpected and unprecedented.

On features, Google for how a “declare” works in REALbasic. Whatever new stuff Apple wants to put in their frameworks, developers using REAL Studio have a means to incorporate it into their apps long before REAL decides how or whether to officially support it. We’ve been doing it with plugins and declares for more than a decade. Want Cocoa views today? MBS Plugin does them. You claimed that supporting new features wasn’t possible with non-native tools. You might have heard this from Steve Jobs or the likes of Jon Gruber, because you could not be in a position of actual knowledge and make such a claim without being struck by lightning. They are lying, and you’re not evaluating what they are telling you in light of available facts.

As to what Apple wants to avoid… They want to avoid 1 million plus Flash developers creating millions of apps which will run on their platform at much lower cost with much less development knowledge needed than Objective-C development. Other development platforms are just collateral damage. Apple wants to avoid the influx of Flash because it’s more than good enough for 98% of apps you’d ever want to see on iPhone and would effectively take Apple out of deciding what could be on its platform and what couldn’t.

WaltFrench

?If you want to sell apps for this platform you must follow our standards.?

Geoduck, if I were Apple I’d put it a bit differently:

?We will sell your programs in our store if (in our sole discretion) we believe that it advances our goals for the devices we sell.?

They could stop there. People who wanted more explanation should be told,

We welcome your creativity and the benefits it provides our customers. However, no app exists in a vacuum, and we consider what economists call ?externalities? of apps and reject apps that detract.

?We will not sell your app in our store are if (a) it tarnishes the reputation of our many other fine developers by association; (b) it provides a means to bypass our carriers? network quality control or usage charges; (c) it is programmed in ways that may cause it to malfunction or fail to provide expected functionality on future iOS versions or devices; (d) it misrepresents its functions or (e) threatens the users’ expectations of privacy. Unfortunately, as new concerns arise we may feel the need to limit apps for other reasons in the future, and we may take a ?shoot first, ask questions later? approach.

?While Apple was able to negotiate unprecedented flexibility for its customers, most iOS devices are connected to wireless carriers’ networks and Apple has agreed to support their terms of service. We necessarily put tighter restrictions on the iOS devices than we do with our MacOSX, iPod or other lines. As some threats to their networks become apparent, or obviously overblown, we will revise our specific policies.?

The big point, which nobody, including apparently the FTC or EU, is talking about, is that Apple’s restrictions DO NOT exist in a vacuum. They were created at a particular moment in time, and they have been revised in response to other carriers’ tactical and strategic moves. Note especially how Verizon has played catch-up with Apple, allowing some flexibility that they are now furiously backtracking on.

Apple indeed DID blow the doors off the stagnant (even, crumbling) wireless fiefdom that AT&T built, and Verizon followed suit when they realized they had passed on a huge hit device, and had to support Google’s efforts to build a competitive capability. But now that Verizon has a competitive capability, the current market is coalescing BACK to the old arrangements.

I am especially surprised at Google ? just days ago I saw them as likely to be promoting ubiquitous access regardless of carrier or hardware company, setting itself up to be the dominant pathway to the internet thru search, video, etc. They would, I thought, have to wait a year or two before squeezing Bing off Android, etc. But they have moved breathtakingly quickly in forging a partnership with Verizon, partnering to shut down competition and openness

Some of the horseshit that Google mouthed is being shown to be just that: they are providing software support to help Verizon lock down the Droid X: purchasers CANNOT load an unapproved version of Android ? even Froyo! (A hardware lock provides an even more secure method than Apple put in place to prevent booting the phone with a rooted OS.) Today, we see news of yet another Android app yanked from the Android Marketplace, clearly because it used an exploit to root (bypass the carrier lock-in). Google previously wiped an app from users’ phones after they had selected and downloaded it; they felt no compunction to notify users or let them opt-out.

Google, dishonestly mouthing “openi-ness” blather, is facilitating the carriers’ locking down user phones in ways that Apple hasn’t dared to. I fear that as the balance of power shifts away from the tech innovators ? when everybody has an OS almost as good as the iOS ? then the carriers will go back to their game of selling Americans their spectrum again, locking it up with long-term contracts, special services, incompatible devices, etc. I am floored at how quickly the old moneygrubbers have shut down profit opportunities for innovation, and most of all by how quickly Google moved into their camp to share in their monopoly profits.

geoduck

?We will sell your programs in our store if (in our sole discretion) we believe that it advances our goals for the devices we sell.?

Yes that would be better. Much more diplomatic. However I’m in a cranky mood today.

The point I did not flesh out well was this:
It is Apple’s environment
It is Apple’s OS
It is Apple’s store
Apple is not a monopoly.
This is a private property issue and the private property in question belongs to Apple.

You do not buy Apple’s software. You buy the right to use Apple’s software and accept whatever terms Apple puts in the EULA (or MS, or RIm, or Adobe, or whomever). You may not like it, but that’s the way it is.

Apple can do bloody well what they want with their terms. Specify coding tools, specify hardware, whatever.  If their developers agreement says that you must wear a lime green leisure suit while coding you have the option of not developing for iOS. There’s plenty of other platforms out there. However if you want to play in Apple’s pool you’ll need to dig out the polyester and play by their rules. They have their reasons for demanding what they do and neither you nor I are privy to what they are. Whether it is ‘justified’ or ‘fair’ or ‘good for developers’ is utterly irrelevant. It’s their ball. You always have the option of walking away. Some have. Many more have not.

The FTC and EU should butt out. The only one that could be hurt by this is Apple. If Adobe wants people to use their tool to code for iOS they should shut up and write one that meets Apple’s rules, not whine like a child. Harsh, yes but like I said I’m in a cranky mood today.

WaltFrench

@geoduck said,

Apple can do bloody well what they want with their terms.

I’m actually a capitalist by trade but an economist by training. I recognize many instances where our markets are “incomplete,” leading to inability for consenting adults to do legal business at the right price. Monopolies, and near-monopolies such as in the wireless phone networks, cost our society dearly.

I agree with you, unlike the troll I will not name who threw out a spurious argument to your original post, that Apple is no such monopoly but I am fine with govt agencies applying corrective remedies if they find such. It’s regrettable that I don’t trust the agencies more ? the FCC’s tolerance of back-room deals are incomprehensible to me now that ultra-deregulation is no longer in favor in Washington ? but I think that a hearing into Adobe, Google and other practices in terms of how they have conspired against Apple would be a bit of fresh air. Why Apple has been so weak in presenting its case to the public is quite beyond me, tho.

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