Adobe vs. Apple is going to get uglier

You think things are bad now between Apple and Adobe? Just wait until the lawsuit.

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Usually I write about security here, but Apple's iron-bound determination to keep Adobe Flash out of any iWhatever device is about to blow up in Apple's face. Sources close to Adobe tell me that Adobe will be suing Apple within a few weeks.

It was bad enough when Apple said, in effect, that Adobe Flash wasn't good enough to be allowed on the iPad. But the final straw was when Apple changed its iPhone SDK (software development kit) license so that developers may not submit programs to Apple that use cross-platform compilers.

Officially, Adobe's not talking about such actions, but there's no question that Adobe is ticked off big time at Apple. I mean how often in print does one company representative say about a former partner, "Go screw yourself Apple," as Lee Brimelow, an Adobe platform evangelist, did on his personal Web site, The Flash Blog. While Adobe had him retract some of his words, and the blog now has a big disclaimer, "[Adobe would like me to make it clear that the opinions below are not the official views of the company and are entirely my own.]" we can be sure that within Adobe's offices far stronger words were used to describe Apple's attitude towards Flash.

For now, Adobe spokesperson Wiebke Lips maintains that "We are aware of the new SDK language and are looking into it. We continue to develop our Packager for iPhone OS technology, which we plan to debut in Flash CS5." Flash CS5, which is part of Adobe Creative Suite 5, arrived on April 12th, but, at this point, it can't be used to create i-device applications.

Indeed, the net effect of Apple's licensing change, according to John Gruber of Daring Fireball, is to make it impossible to use cross-compilers, such as the Flash-to-iPhone compiler in Adobe's upcoming Flash Professional CS5 release. This also bans apps compiled using MonoTouch -- a tool that compiles C# and .NET apps to the iPhone." In other words, Adobe, Microsoft, not only can you not have Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight running natively on an iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, you can also forget about creating an iWhatever program that can get around that requirement.

Adobe, the king of Internet video with 95% Web browser market penetration, is not one bit happy about being locked out of Apple's lucrative mobile device market. Novell's MonoTouch group is "reaching out to Apple for clarification on their intention, and believe there is plenty of room for course-correction prior to the final release of the 4.0 SDK." Adobe, which doesn't want to let go of its hold on Internet-based video, isn't anything like as optimistic.

So, unless things change drastically between Apple and Adobe in the next few weeks, from what I'm hearing you can expect to see Adobe taking Apple to court over the issue. It's not going to be pretty.

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