Apple Changes iPhone Developer Agreement Again

The ever changing iPhone Developer Agreement has again been amended. Earlier this year, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) changed the agreement to exclude interpreted code. This was done to keep Adobe Flash-based applications out of the App Store. Adobe had created a compiler and released it as part of its CS4 suite of development tools that took programs developed in Flash and turned them into native iPhone Apps. Sensing that it had been outflanked in its ongoing battle with Adobe, Apple instead changed the agreement to exclude anything whose origin was anything other than Apple’s own programming language and development environment.

What Apple didn’t know at the time was that several of the App Store’s most popular games used, in whole or in part, a programming language called Lua. The Tap Tap Revenge line of games from Tapulous supposedly use Lua in some part and rumors are that EA games do as well. Seeing the potential for an embarrassing take down of popular products or once again getting caught in an App Store double standard, Apple changed the agreement. The paragraph that effectively banned Flash-based games from the App Store originally read:

No interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).

This has now been amended to read:

Unless otherwise approved by Apple in writing, no interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s). Notwithstanding the foregoing, with Apple’s prior written consent, an Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application.

So now as long as a developer has Apple’s permission to use interpreted code they can. Although this serves the immediate purpose of letting Apple off the hook of having to ban Tap Tap Revenge from the App Store it does open up a whole new problem. Now Apple has to justify every time it disallows the use of interpreted code for one developer when it approves another. Would an FTC anti-trust investigation worry about the subtle differences between Flash and Lua or just see the whole operation as anti-competitive? Apple may have closed one loop hole but it opened itself up to another avenue of attack.

What do you think of this latest amendment to the developer agreement? What do you think of Apple’s practice of changing the rules every time the game goes against them? Leave us a comment and let us know.

[via Apple Outsider]

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