Will Apple Block Adobe's 'End-Around' Into The iPhone End Zone?

Adobe sidestepped Apple's Flash non-proliferation iPhone pact but will Apple let it slide?

Adobe Flash and the iPhone don't mix, at least that's been Apple's policy when it comes to mixing iPhone apps, the mobile Safari browser and Adobe Flash. But Adobe thwarted Apple by adding a Flash-to-iPhone compiler in the next version of Flash Professional CS5. There are apparently five recompiled Flash apps that have already slipped by the App Store police. Looks like Apple needs to beef up its App Store border patrol. Apple Insider is reporting the Flash converted apps are Chroma Circuit, Trading Stuff, Fickleblox, Just Letters, South Park, That Roach Game and Red Hood -- all game or graphic's oriented apps and not applications that would use the standard UI elements and controls within Cocoa Touch. Apple claims it isn't allowing Flash on the iPhone because of its impact on performance:

Apple has claimed that Flash Player would degrade the iPhone's performance, with its CEO, Steve Jobs, saying that Flash "performs too slow to be useful" on the iconic smartphone. - Computer World

I don't buy it. Everybody else wants Flash and Adobe's software on their mobile platforms so why not Apple? There are probably several reasons why Apple doesn't want Flash comingling with the iPhone but the predominant reasons are money and the App Store, gatekeeper of the iPhone. Gartner analyst Mark Driver has similar views:

The main reason Apple says no to Flash is in order to maintain tight control over rich application experiences through its application store. In other words, if I can access cool Flash games via safari with built in flash then why would I pay for them or more specifically why would I pay Apple for them? - Mark Driver, Gartner Analyst

There could be other reasons, including Apple wanting to maintain a consistent user interface and user experience, or it could be bad blood from Apple and Adobe's storied past. And this situation won't make the relationship between them any better. Adobe used Apple's own words against them, making it difficult for Apple to capriciously pull the apps back and claim foul against Adobe.

After looking at the software terms, agreements, and allowable content that Apple permits in the store, we decided that our best option was to provide our developer community with a compiler to help package SWF content into a native iPhone application. (Of course, we made sure we did this in a way that aligned with Apple's legal terms.) - by Aditya Bansod from Adobe's Developer Connection blog

Apple hasn't responded to Adobe's presence inside the wire and Adobe's tone makes it sound like they're on the iPhone to stay. I fully expect Adobe to make an all-out blitz to gain iPhone developer mindshare because desires for cross-platform apps can now include the iPhone in the mix.

The real question is what will be Apple's next move? Will they attempt to close loopholes in agreements and reverse Adobe's calculated move, or have situations like Apple blocking Google Voice on the iPhone made Apple a bit more skittish about its protectionist ways. The situation could get very interesting.

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