It's a Good Thing Apple's Jobs Isn't CEO of Microsoft

Taking dead aim at Adobe, Steve Jobs has in essence banned developers from using rival programming tools to create iPhone and iPad applications. Given that logic, if he were head of Microsoft would he ban iTunes from Windows because it uses non-native Windows APIs?

Last week, Apple modified the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement to ban developers from using cross-platform compilers that can be used to turn applications for other systems such as Java-created software into iPhone and iPad apps.

The new license agreement now reads:

Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

The change is aimed directly at Adobe. Apple has already banned Flash from the iPhone and iPad. As a workaround, Adobe has been working on on its Flash Professional CS5, which can recompile Flash applications so that they can run on iPhones. Adobe's Creative Suite 5, which includes Flash Professional CS5, was announced today. It's no coincidence that Apple changed the terms of its iPhone developer agreement just before the announcement.

Adobe, as you might imagine, is outraged, and an Adobe evangelist wrote in his blog, "Go screw yourself, Apple."

Many other developers will be hurt as well, and they are also not pleased.

Greg Slepak, CEO of Mac developer TaoEffect, sent a series of emails to Jobs, telling him:

"I love your product, but your SDK TOS are growing on it like an invisible cancer...From a developer's point of view, you're limiting creativity itself."

Jobs answered in an email:

Jon Lech, in his blog, responds by suggesting that using Jobs' logic, iTunes should be banned from Windows:

Is iTunes hindering the progress of the Windows platform by not taking advantage of the latest native Windows APIs? By Steve's logic, Microsoft should start banning apps such as iTunes from Windows.

But logic and consistency aren't at issue here; of course Jobs wouldn't want to see iTunes banned from Windows. Apple is banning the Adobe tools and others because it can, and because Apple thinks it's good for business, and no other reasons.

This story, "It's a Good Thing Apple's Jobs Isn't CEO of Microsoft" was originally published by Computerworld.

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