Adobe preparing to sue Apple over Flash support?

By on April 14, 2010, 3:43 PM
According to unnamed inside sources, the ongoing strife between Adobe and Apple may soon climax, as the former plots to sue the latter. Adobe has long been displeased with Apple's decision to exclude Flash support on its iPhone OS devices, and this week Cupertino kicked a gas can on the fire.

Apple recently updated its iPhone SDK developer agreement to block the use of cross-compilers like Adobe's Flash Packager for iPhone, which essentially converts Flash apps to native iPhone apps. The move was reportedly the "last straw" for Adobe, and the company is supposedly gathering its legal team.

Adobe hasn't confirmed nor denied the rumors, saying only: "We are aware of the new SDK language and are looking into it." If the matter is dragged to the courts, will Apple be strong-armed into supporting Flash, or will Adobe's legal pursuit blow up in its face?

User Comments: 30

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TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm just curious what exactly would the legal basis for their law suet be? I'm no law expert, but seems to be its apple's device, they can enable or disable support for any 3rd party software they want right?

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Apple are trying to destroy Adobe. Good luck to Adobes lawyers imo.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

I'm with TorturedChaos, I don't quite understand this lawsuit...anyone care to explain?

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Monopoly. Abuse of power. Lawsuit.

Guest said:

"I'm just curious what exactly would the legal basis for their law suet be? I'm no law expert, but seems to be its apple's device, they can enable or disable support for any 3rd party software they want right?"

It stifles competition. What do you think would happen if Microsoft announced that from now on ONLY Internet Explorer would be allowed in Windows, and all other web browsers will be disallowed.

I'm no law expert, but seems to be its Microsoft's software, they can enable or disable support for any 3rd party software they want right?"

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I agree with Guest, Apple need a bit of shoving from people like adobe to get competition going, its bad enough apple have some how got away with no "browser pop-up" and since everyone (including myself) would like to have the option to switch on flash on my iphone or to choose different browsers, opera is good but still isn't what it could be due to having to bend the app to work past apples rules just to get it in the app store.

natefalk natefalk said:

The difference between Apple and Microsoft (Windows) is that Apple is a hardware company. It would be more like only allowing one browser on the PS3 or Xbox360. While, I hate the idea of not allowing Flash on the iPhone/iPad; I suspect Apple will win this battle.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well I'm not saying I agree with apple or adobe, but as natefalk said Apple is a hardware company. Actually I don't think you can put alternate browsers on the PS3, at least w/o running Linux on it. There is a lot of hardware out there you can't tweak to run anything you want - at least w/o jailbraking or cracking it.

I just think Adobe doesn't have much of a foot to stand on. I mean lets sue Sony b/c I can't run fire fox on my PSP.

The whole thing just seems a silly tho. Its a pissing match between Apple and Adobe, nothing more.....

Guest said:

Best way to get Apple to use flash would be to get flash on every other handheld device. If it works and users are happy with the experience then Apple would have to make a business decision. Currently it is apples product and if Apple (rightly or wrongly) does not want Flash then they don't need to allow it. Kind of like a communist approach, Apple will decide what users want. not the users. Either way it don't matter to me, I don't buy apple products because other similar products have more software options available.

Guest said:

natefalk, who produces the mac OS and Safari browser if Apple is only a hardware company?

Guest said:

Big brother, I mean Apple, needs to be put in their place. These big corporate pigs need to allow others in on their monopoly so they can compete. Apple users should have a choice to use Flash on their devices. Simple as that. But no, Apple wants to control you. I hope Adobe sues the **** out of them.

Guest said:

I don't know how a Court would decide, but there are two different issues here:

Sale of applications that do not run well on a particular device could injure the reputation of the device and reduce sales. Apple might thus have a valid argument for banning Flash from the iPhone and iPad if Apple can show that Flash demands more resources than is available on those devices or otherwise does not perform well on those devices.

It is MUCH harder to justify banning use of Adobe- -and other non-Apple--compilers to prepare native iPhone apps. Absent some persuasive technical justification, my guess is that it would not pass muster under the anti-trust laws.

Guest said:

it's funny how Apple is everything that Apple "stood against" in the 80s/90s. Particularly Microsoft. It's no accident that Apple is succeeding with this methodology either. It works, but they keep playing that "1984 won't be like 1984" act while they big brther the $hit out of every business association they have.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Maybe it's just me, but Apple seems to think they're perfect. They blamed the wireless issues on their iPads on everything but the iPad, despite its users wanting to use flash, they still say "no". I mean come on Apple, grow up. Stop blaming people for your problems and listen to your customers.

If your worried about your hardware not being able to handle it, that's Adobes problem. People know that when they download 3rd party software that they run the risk of screwing something up. If you're not going to let Adobe run, then I guess to be fair, you'll need to restrict all the other 3rd party apps. And if your hardware can't support flash, then I guess you really aren't all that superior, huh?

Now ya'll don't think i'm saying this just to bash Apple because i'm a "Microsoft fanboi" because even though i'm a Windows user (XP and 7), I will just as equally bash Microsoft like I have done in the past.

Apple needs to ask its customers/users what THEY want. Isn't that SUPPOSED to be the point of a product? To give the customer something they want? If you care about your customers, listen to them...ya bunch of greedy, selfish *BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP*

Guest said:

Apple has about 14% of the smartphone market and the iPad just came out. So Apple definitely does not have a monopoly. There are many other smartphones out there that support flash such as all Android, Blackberry, Palm, Nokia phones.

So the consumer has a choice, Apple is not denying, hindering or stifling anyone from buying a device that supports flash which in the smartphone market is about 86% of them.

In no way shape or form is Apple stopping Adobe from marketing flash to the other 86% of the smartphone market.

Guest said:

I wonder if the main legal action will be over the recoding of flash language software.

ie: okay to not include but not okay to convert from flash to ipod loanguage.

unrealmp3 unrealmp3 said:

With Flash coming to Android (already on my Archos 5 IT), Apple will have to justify to their customers why the competition has got it to work but not them.

LightHeart said:

In the legal court, it seems Apple is within it's rights to block Adobe.

BTW, I think Adobe software is bloated and is not that great, it's just currently the defacto standard with Flash. Silverlight and HTML5 are coming along.

In the court of public opinion, it seems Apple has an inflated ego, bullying all other vendors around and not playing nice.

In time all things will balance out however if you tip the scales too far one way, the sway may be greater than one would like.

natefalk natefalk said:

yes, Apple makes software. But they own the hardware that they put the software on. Windows doesn't own the machines that runs it's software. That's what I mean by Apple being a hardware company.

My point with the PS3/Xbox is like ToruredChaos can't put on another browser. Sony controls what software runs on their machine (same w/ Xbox).

I don't like this as a web developer because Flash is a widely accepted format. Not too many companies are going to spend the money to "redo" the Flash on the website just so it will work with Apple. It's just not practical for Apple to expect the development community to cater to them; it should be the other way around.

Guest said:

I cannot understand why apple is treating adobe fans like this, becouse everyoe knows that a lot of people that use adobe software mostly use mac pc's take all the designers i bearly know any professional designer that works on microsoft pc, i like apple products myself, and i work as a designer and always used, when i heard that flash would be able to export on the iphone i was over joyed i never pretnded that apple can act like this, and to make it worse 2 days before adobe cs5 launch, they just did it to kill the hype.... apple iphone feels great but the fact that browsing is always showing missing plugins it looks bad.....

Guest said:

@ the most recent Guest post (besides myself): You must not know many people then, no offense. Of the many companies and individuals I've worked with over the years in design and editing, it's about 55/45 between mac and windows, and often because entire companies use Mac (it's funny to see 45 macs all in one room), or entire companies are using Windows (sometimes on Mac hardware even). It's more of a stereotype that editing and designing is mostly macs.

Adobe has continually been bloatware, especially with CS3 and after, and of course flash has its problems; there is no fault in Apple's justification with that. However it does significantly hurt the online experience since many sites use flash with minimal or no alternative (since HTML5 is still in specification drafting, so that can't reasonably be considered at the moment).

It'll probably end up coming down to who has the better legal team.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

There is a huge damage component to this situation, which may be why Adobe is looking at pushing it. With Apple's very public media darlings the iPhone and iPad refusing to support what is essentially a standard on the internet (Flash), they are forcing alternatives to be pursued over Flash. Adobe can argue that this anti-competitive stance by Apple is actually drastically hurting their business, and there are grounds for a damages suit.

Either way, even if it doesn't get to court and end up with an Adobe win, it could be a huge black eye on the part of Apple, showing their true colors to more of the world than just those of us who are tech savvy - that they are bullies who will only allow what they want on their systems, and demand complete and utter control over their domain. Makes sense in theory, but too many other big companies have been put in their place when they had those same attitudes (like Microsoft), I am not sure Apple would like to get thrown into the public opinion ThunderDome over this.

Guest said:

@Burty117: If you can't say anything intelligent, don't say anything at all.

Both of these companies are spoiled, anti-competitive heaps of aristocratic BS. Nobody sues when one of these companies fails to observe open source standards, as they SHOULD all do, but I'll be damned if any of them should be FORCED to do anything. Freedom should be freedom for everyone. But Apple itself is no victim. Steve Jobs is so insecure that he'll sue the second he feels the slightest hint of competition from anyone.

It's good on both of them. I hope Adobe wins, because this will allow users to bypass the iTunes store, and screw with Apple. But Flash itself is a bad, bad, bad thing. It's full of security holes and has performance issues that are inexcusable. Let the Apple users have Adobe's garbage. It'll make it easier to hack your iPod, iPad or whatever crap you've got.

Guest said:

To say apple is just a hardware company is like saying walmart only sells clothes. Who developed the iphone os's, who makes all of the mac software? I am an owner of the iphone, but would never buy the ipad because it lacks flash. I have owned an iphone for a few years now, and i hate it when i go to a website i need something from and i can't pull it up because something on that page has flash, not a big deal, its a phone, it's expected. If i buy something that is supposed to be a computer, and run whatever i want on it, and i can't pull up a website, that is just a peice of garbage to me.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Adobe is doing this as a step to try to stop the dam from breaking, they know if they don't do something soon, that a large portion of the web will eventually convert over to html5 and h.264. And IMO its about time, flash has sucked balls for a LONG time. It takes up way too much processor on all but the most modern machines.

Apple knew that they wouldn't be able to promise 10 hours of battery life on the iPad if Flash was enabled, so they didn't allow it, and I don't understand how anyone can argue with a straight face that Apple should have to allow it. The thing is Apple is a minority in every market except mp3 players (maybe even one there too, but they are the most well known), so there is no anti-trust/monopoly argument here, and 99% of the buyers of an iPhone or iPad KNOW that it doesn't support Flash, so again the consumer is making the CHOICE not to have Flash.

Adobe gets a big Fail on this.

Guest said:

It's not the same as PS3... Apple's devices and machines are not gaming consoles, they are multi-purpose computers geared towards a multitude of end users who all want to use their machines and devices for different things. There is no logic to not supporting Flash. It's just an assface move from Apple.

Guest said:

You obviously don't know alot about Flash. It's supported H.264 for the longest time and the stuff you can do with HTML5 is nowhere near what you can do with Flash.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

If that was directed at me, you are right I don't know a whole lot about flash although I did help develop a land mine detection simulator with it a few years back...

I think you are missing the point though, the h.264 whether or not it is supported in flash is moot, the problem is if you are using flash to do it you are still using flash which is hard on battery life and opening up another avenue of exploits.

And Flash is only not supported on the iPhone and iPad (Apple laptops/desktops support it), if you've done some crazy stuff to your web page to out-do html5 it is probably complex or involved enough that you wouldn't want to use those sites on an iPhone or iPad, you'd want a real computer with a mouse and keyboard.

Guest said:

Look into the field of law called antitrust.

Guest said:

Adobe would sue on the basis of anti-trust and monopolistic activity. The bottom line is that it's clear Apple was fully aware that Adobe was building Flash CS5 to support the iPhone/iPad/iTouch platform. As soon as Adobe had gotten close to a release of CS5, Apple puts out their "you have to use Apple's dev environment..." b.s.

I own an iTouch and it pisses me off to no end that Apple is treating me like a child and telling me what I can and cannot run on the device that *I* paid for. If I want a "buggy" experience, that's my call. The reality is that I'm not likely to have a buggy experience by running Flash apps. It's more likely that Jobs will lose a ton of money because I'll find games and apps that are coded in Flash and I won't spend money at his precious iTunes store.

It amazes me that people really think Jobs is trying to protect them from a poor user experience. I know Macheads love the guy, and I fully admit that Apple makes really sweet devices, but nobody can truly be so stupid as to think Jobs is block Flash due to how it performs on the devices. This is solely for monetary reasons.

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