Controversial Clause 3.3.1 Adobe to sue Apple?

Something which gives us a fairly clear indication of the state of Apple’s relationship with Adobe, and the nuts and bolts behind the controversial Developer Contract clause 3.3.1, is the very differing reactions coming out of two software companies affected by it.

On the one hand we have Adobe, who really seem to be the target of this clause, who are considering suing Apple over the clause. Various sources close to Adobe are saying that the company is seriously considering taking Apple to court over their decision to block cross-compiled apps on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

This comes towards the end of a week where various representative and employees of Adobe have attacked Apple via blogs and press releases with varying degrees of venom. There have also been veiled threats of taking this issue all the way to governmental bodies in the US, with the claim that Apple is purposefully trying to do irreparable damage to Adobe’s business.

Clause 3.3.1 when taken at face value serves to make not only Adobe’s new CS5 Flash Deployment tool (aimed at allowing Flash developers to create iPhone native apps from their work) useless. But also to stop developers using tools like MonoTouch and Unity.

Conversely the company behind the very popular cross-compilation tool Unity, which is responsible for many top ten entertainment hits for the iPhone, has a more laid back view. Unity Technologies CEO David Helgason has been very calm about the whole issue, and came out with this update yesterday :

We have no indication from Apple that things are going to change,” Helgason said. “We have a great relationship with Apple and will do everything we can to comply with Apple’s TOS (also, these are ‘beta TOS’, and these easily get changed) so that we can provide uninterrupted service to our more than 120K users.

Adobe and Apple’s history is fairly checkered. Once stalwart allies. Adobe famously undermined Apple in recent history by delaying Intel native apps for OS X, and even advising people that the Apple platform should be abandoned for the PC.

It seems that some of these decisions are now coming home to roost for Adobe. What is interesting is that a relative newcomer like Unity is behaving more the way you would expect an industry corner stone like Adobe to.

My personal opinion is the same as David Helgason’s. Unity have nothing to worry about. Clauses can change, and Apple can decide in it’s own stores how to apply it’s own rules. If a product like Unity is allowing people to produce quality software for Apple’s platform there is absolutely no reason for them to be unkind to it.

I also believe that, although Adobe and Apple have a lot of history causing a breakdown of communication between the two companies, Flash is not suited to mobile platforms at the moment, and Apple’s decision is based on providing the best user experience possible for it’s customers. It’s that simple. Flash does not fit into that plan. Especially the nature of Touch Interfaces and the hardware running mobile devices while Flash is so unstable and resource hungry.

What’s your view on this? Do you wish you could have Flash apps on your iPhone? Are you worried for Unity, or do you think Helgason has taken the right approach to this?

Let us know you thoughts in the comments.

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7 Comments on “Controversial Clause 3.3.1 Adobe to sue Apple?”

  1. Kazuya

    去你媽的品質控管!這又是一個典型的白癡蘋果教徒發的文章,我打賭你絕對不是開發者,CS5的發佈技術跟Unity是一樣的,如果說Unity可以發佈出成千上萬個遊戲,並且在App store上大放異彩,為什麼現在不行?跟Flash吃不吃電耗不耗效能有啥關係?他根本不是在iphone上跑Flash啊!連這種基本的架構和道理都不懂,還敢大放厥詞,說什麼品質控管!說真的,蘋果最該品質控管的就是你們這群無知無恥無能的教徒!

    這種朝令夕改,前後矛盾的使用者協議,根本就是可笑至極!
    這就是我的意見!對你這種無知無恥無能的教徒,你不配我用英文回答你!

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  3. Elliot

    Adobe's pissed because they've put all this effort into Flash's new publish to iPhone button. Who knows what kind of talks or communication Apple and Adobe had before all of this, but I'm sure when Adobe saw that, it was a big “WTF” moment, causing all of the knee jerk blog posts from Adobe employees. Apples products are the way they are because they really pay attention to quality control. Without their obsessive control over quality and “pretty” interfaces, Apple would just be another Microsoft… which probably would not ever have gotten off the ground. Sucks for all the Flash developers if they can't publish. Sucks even more if Unity developers can't publish. But if Apple doesn't want Flash's resource eating software to eat up all their customers' mobile battery life when they just want to watch a video, then their going to try to do something about it. It's quality control. It's their device.

  4. Joe Smith

    My view? Apple is way in the wrong. This could be compared to Microsoft telling everyone that they must use C# for all apps built. To me, this is more then reprehensible. I'm tired of people saying that Apple can do whatever it wants. No other technology company is more evil than Apple at the moment, yet everyone runs around ignorning the absolute dictatorship Steve Jobs is trying to run. Oh gee, look I have a pretty interface, meanwhile Apple is stealing money from EVERYONE. Bullshi*, the reason they don't want flash to run on an iphone is for one reason and one reason only. It has NOTHING to do with user expercience and everything to do with Apple again, getting more money by taking a cut from every itunes download of some tv show or movie. When is the tech industry going to wake up and pretend Apple isn't being evil and do something about it? I'm fed up!

  5. Pleximus

    Very good post! I am very vested in both Adobe and Apple. This was a good read. I can not tell which side “seventoes” is preaching for. What “rumor”?
    Mac's are where they are today because they do indeed demand solidarity, piloting their own ship. It was the opening of the code that almost caused Apple's demise. I will and always will be Apple. I go to Windows on my Mac when needed, so no loses for me either way.

  6. seventoes

    This is a stupid rumor.. What kind of case would Adobe possibly have?

    “Apple made something new and won't let us play on it!”?

  7. Rmunix

    Jobs has done this sort of moves before, in the 80s he refused to allow people to clone Macs, as a result Macs became a niche, and PCs are what they are today. PCs flourished because there was an ecosystem of companies all working and making money together. Apple likes to go it alone. It remains to be seen, but history could happen again since there are a lot of companies entering the mobile and tablet space. They have a lot of resources put together, Apple is only one company. Instead of closing down its platform, Apple should try to lead the way and open up to more developers.

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