Regarding rumors of Adobe preparing to sue Apple


Just when you think the internet can't take any more crazy it laughs, loosens its belt another notch, and unleashes something like ITWorld's story about Adobe getting ready to sue Apple over the iPhone's lack of Flash support or the iPhone OS 4 SDK prohibiting cross-compilers, or Canada winning Olympic hockey, whatever.

It's not like the real news isn't crazy enough right now, what with iPad and Adobe CS5 shipping and iPhone OS 4 getting previewed all within the last week or so.

Just what exactly is Adobe's cause of action remains unaddressed, of course. Last we checked, being upset -- even being righteously PO'd -- isn't grounds for legal action.

If ever Apple gains a true monopoly position in mobile and abuses that monopoly, then cases will no doubt be made (remember, you can have a monopoly, and you can be abusive, you just can't be an abusive monopoly). Until that time, we get the feeling Apple is going to do everything they can to leverage their technology to get as far ahead of the mobile platform competition as they can. They're going to go at a dead sprint, in fact, until they reach that very line. They want to be so far ahead by the time they have to worry about anti-trust and may be forced to switch gears, competitors will be too far behind to catch up.

Adobe's only option is to do the same -- take Flash further and faster than Apple takes the iPhone. Make it killer on the backs of Android or some other platform. That or sue Apple for patent violations if they have the portfolio stones, because as far as we can tell, there's nothing involving the iPhone's lack of plugin support or cross-compiler acceptance for them to sue over.

Of course, free enterprise means the freedom to sue just because, so ultimately who knows what Adobe will do. We're not lawyers anyway, so if you are, correct us in the comments (pro bono, 'natch).

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Regarding rumors of Adobe preparing to sue Apple


So it sounds to me like adobe is a little pissed off at the bigger better company... Hey adobe.. If you keep bending over and spreading your cheeks, someone is gonna rape your stupid ass... Go make your own platform and write flash for it all day...

Adobe's only chance here is to attempt to prove to a court of law that Apple has a monopoly on the smartphone market and is using said monopoly to unfairly quash competition. While this may sound like Adobe is being a whiny bitch, antitrust is illegal and a kick-ass legal team will be needed to show that Apple is violating antitrust laws.

Adobe- "mommy!!! Apple won't let me spend the night at his house!!!!"
Adobe's mommy- "well adobe, it's Apple's house, he can let whoever he wants spend the night with the rules of his house in effect, if you don't like his rules, go build your own house."
Adobe- "well I'm mad so I'm suing him!"
get a grip adobe...

Actually suing Canada for winning gold would be easier than constructing a legal argument Adobe could actually win.
This would get laughed out of court.

11 comments and 9 apple fanboys...geeek
get serious. adobe worked hard, invested much money & time to implement a flash-to-iphone compiler and Apple KNEW they were working on that and now 4-5 days before announcing the CS5 Suite Apple says "Oh, i almost forget, sorry Adobe, but we don't want your Flash Apps on our Appstore, really forgot to mail you when we heard first about your plans. The Appstore is my (Steve's) best Innovation together with the Iphone and i say what to let in and not! It's my House, where a lot of people can come in, but not you!".
This is so lame, it's like racism.. "Everyone can play with our toy, but no foreigners please!".
It's quality what counts and not the origin. If Apple says "okay, let's first take a look at your flash-apps and see if they work good as the other apps on the appstore, then it's fine. But not this way". If the flash-to-iphone compiler sucks, then okay, bring something better Adobe, but really this way is Totally Lame!

@oneofDakine : yeah right, u are for sure one of these persons, who has no real-life friends, and playing 2nd life the whole day, lol.

@johnsen Actually it's not like racism at all. Apple can do whatever they want with THEIR platform, just like Adobe can do whatever they want with theirs. Apple doesn't need a reason to ban Adobe from the Appstore.
From a web developer standpoint, I'm happy that Apple won't allow Flash on iPhone. While unfortunately, yes, many sites still use Flash (and I wouldn't mind using it on my iPhone either), it's a piece of crap and we need to start evolving to better, efficient technology.
HTML5 is the future, but we can't move forward until we get rid of the present.

i must admit that the flash player for mobile sucks, really. Not even on a 1ghz HTC HD2 it runs smooth. This player is created for desktop versions and not mobile, so i can understand apple, they don't want a sluggish plugin.
But this has nothing to do with the plugin itself. If the compiler sucks, okay, leave it out, but they didn't even touch FlashCS5 Compiler.

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is Apple's technology that corresponds to Flash? Or are they allying themselves with HTML5?

@Johnsen - it doesn't matter whether Apple knew Adobe was working on this or not an they can choose what is usable on their platform. Adobe's got their work cut out for them trying to construct a legal argument that won't get tossed out straight away. There's no sane judge who will allow antitrust claims given Apple's currentarket share.

@johnsen... If apple has rules to come to their platform, follow them... If you don't like them, get out... Are you willing to let a stranger come into your house and rearrange your kitchen because they think it works better? If you give them a key and say do what you want, that's different... But if you set rules because you like the way your kitchen looks and don't want idiots screwing up your efficiency and user friendliness... Then adobe should follow those rules or go build their own freakin house! Apple isn't going to adobe trying to change Photoshop to work for the iPhone or any other platform they use... Get real man

johnsen, this is happening way to often. Developers have a great idea for an app and spend a bunch of time and money developing it just to find Apple will not approve it, "just because". At some point developers will not waste their time on iPhones anymore because it isn't worth the risk. All Apple will get is junk apps that devs can make in a day or so which is worth gambling with.
Google and Microsoft have it right in regards to developers. They are starting to get their GUIs straitened out. Once they do Apple is going to have to go back to work and stop these silly incremental spoon feeding releases. Oh and the absolutely have to get away from ATT. I was lucky to live in a market with good ATT coverage but that is changing lately. I have extremely bad service. I also visited NYC a few months ago and was blown away at the total lack of service. Literally no data at all. It wasn't until Friday night after biz hours that data started to work at all. Still slow though.
Man the fanboys we have here that can't think for them selfs.

Maverick, Apple has been known to fail apps that do follow the rules. That is the problem.
@zeagus, HTML5 isn't Apples product. It is an open standard. It isn't an Apple product competing with Flash.
I totally agree with Apple for not supporting flash. But blocking cross compiled apps is a different story. Novel has a cross compiler too. I guess they can join in on this law suit too. I am sure they will be pissed about this last minute change of rules too.

I don;t think it's right for Apple to say that Mobile Safari is the best browsing experience. Even though Flash isn;t the best thing out there, hundreds of popular sites use flash and can't be accessed on our Apple mobile devices. Yes these sites should move to the much better HTML5, however regardless of how good flash is or not, we need compatibility. Apple won't get ahead until they can convince sites (like they did with YouTube) to switch to HTML5.

Ah.. Problem 1) this rule never existed, so what rule should have adobe be following? There was no-one until last week.
And next thing is... Apple must be thankful to adobe for releasing their complete suite for a mac. Where do you think would be apple and the macintosh today, without it's designers, graphic artists etc.? Answer this question yourself.

I find it funny how people say that it's aAple's product and they can do whatever they want with it when it comes to Apple not letting flash in and not allowing this cross-platform compiler, and yet when it comes to jailbreak apps, people complain that the iPhone and iPod Touch is not open enough and they diss Apple for it.

Adobe should buy Palm. They can flash webos all they want. Everytime I had pc problems was due to flash. It is outdated, and way too buggy. The only winners to any legal action are the lawyers. I do not want flash on my iPhone or iPod Touch.

I'm glad Apple is keeping Flash off of the iPhone OS. It saves me the trouble of tracking down a utility — like ClickToFlash, which I have on all my Macs — that will block Flash before it ruins everything.
Adobe dug their own grave on this. If they had ever put in the effort to make Flash Player a fast, efficient, bug-free plugin for the Mac, Apple probably wouldn't be quite as committed to preventing them from gaining access to the iPhone, where they'd probably put in a token effort.

The probable grounds for a suit would be a violation of the Essential Facilities Doctrine. ( Wikipedia link: )
It is a specific form of monopolization complaint, where a market actor -- not necessarily a monopolist -- maintains control over a specific bottleneck necessary to a market, thereby denying competitors entry into that market. It is well tested, and just shy of 100 years old in the US, and several other countries (including UK and EU) have adopted similar provisions. According to Wikipedia, it was last used against Verizon in 2004.
Note that it does not matter that Apple created the market, and the App Store; this law applies even if that market actor built the market and the bottleneck in the first place. Its origins involved a St Louis trainyard denying access to competing shipping firms; the Court specifically rejected the argument that because the companies built the trainyard, they had sole discretion over gatekeeping its use. In other words, if a market is important enough, and a specific facility deemed essential to market entry, under US law the government can compel equal access through that bottleneck.
Apple clearly is fulfilling the same constructive and anti-competitive roles as the trainyard, so on the face of things, they would seem to be violating this doctrine. I am not a lawyer, so I have no idea if any gov't (US, EU, Aus, etc) would deem the iPhone marketplace important enough to compel access, but, if Adobe is going to sue, I bet that will be their angle.

Everybody knows the reason why Apple won't allow Cross-Platform compilers:
You have to buy our product just to develop on our platform, which ,hate me all you want, is too expensive.
I want to develop, but Apple is too picky on what they want their users to do. I agree Flash doesn't need to be on the iPhone OS, I'm digging HTML5; however, a cross-platform compiler would have been great for Apple. How? Because they can build the dev-base up.
I don't care if they killed off the Flash-compiler, but Apple needs to dig down and think about a Windows/Linux version of their iPhone OS SDK. The amount of porn/imaginary (Heater for iPhone?) apps are still exceeding the amount of apps that actually bring usability to the iPhone OS. I'm not saying that it won't decrease if other platforms develop onto the iPhone OS, but there's a window for Windows/Linux users to finally get the app they want to make out there.

Ermax - I know that I said they were choosig/allying themselves with HTML5 not that theybownebit or invented it!

zeagus, sorry I misunderstood. Zen asked "what exactly is Apple’s technology that corresponds to Flash" and you responded, HTML5. I thought you where implying that HTML5 was Apples technology.
Smalls, you hit the nail on the head I think. I just don't see the logic in limiting devs to Mac only. Macs have a silly 6% market share. The percentage of devs in that 6% is going to be even smaller. Why stifle development like that. Was thinking about loading SL on a PC just to see what xcode is all about and see if it is worth investing time and money in a Mac. Oh wait.. I know it isn't worth it because the odds are Apple will just reject any app I make. Where Apple is really killing them self's is in the enterprise. I am sure there are tons of companies that would adopt the iPhone is they knew their dev team could write inhouse apps for it. I know the company I work for would go that route if it didn't mean buying new machines and all of use stopping real work to learn a new dev platform.
Does anyone know how this new rule effects Novel's cross compiler?

@(Copy of) Dev
The problem is its not a monopoly. the iphone ONLY has 25% of the US market and Adobe will be on Android and RIM, making up more than 50% of the market together. Where is the monopoly?
Where is the denial of entry tot he market? They have a HUGE share in RIM and Android alone, and a pretty good start in the market.
Using that law is a stretch at best honestly.

@ jk shut up s*upid fan boy! Hope apple gets sued I'm tired of hearing da daily news about apple every day getting stricter and stricter trying to do things exactly their way!

@ Johnsen Your a troll get a life and go to big boy grow up classes.
@Go Android Your a tard troll as well. How's that palm thing working out for ya. lol Boy you people are dumb.

@Adobe Good luck with that lawsuit. Fix your s**t. And maybe lord jobs will lay it upon the jesus devices. Your flash sucks. Maybe you should rename it Adobe crash instead of Adobe flash.

@ macgirl15 I have n iPhone 3gs jb cause I play by my own rules u troll. I don't care what apple thinks I should or shouldn't b doing with MY phone dat I paid with MY $$$.
Apple is first suing da competition like htc n now ensuring adobe has no saying in da iPhone market. Like i said I hope everyone unites against apple n put a stop to da nonsense apple thinks they can get away with.
Every stupid article I read similiar to this makes me more n more to switch to android n da evo in da summer
I bet ur one of does trolls dat has n iPhone ipad n mac dat ur daddy bought u. Retard!

@JK the post before reflexively posting.
" where a market actor — not necessarily a monopolist — maintains control over a specific bottleneck necessary to a market, "
Better yet, read the wikipedia link. Essential Facilities does not require monopoly standing, only control over a bottleneck that cannot be feasibly be recreated by competitors.
You seem to want to define the market not as "App Sales" but as "Phone Marketshare" -- but Adobe is not trying to break into the phone market, and never was. That definition is therefore irrelevant, as far as any potential lawsuit by Adobe is concerned. The market that Adobe is concerned with is App Sales, or more importantly, App Toolkit sales, and there, the bottleneck to one is the bottleneck to the other. The question then becomes:
1) Can Adobe (or any competitor) feasibly recreate the bottleneck to mobile app sales that Apple has created with the App Store distribution model?
2) Is the market in question large enough for the government to wade in and compel open access?
The answer to the first is clearly no, if ones defines the market in #1 as iPhone App Sales. If one stretches the market to include all mobile App Sales, it is a bit harder, but one could still make a case, considering that iPhone app sales comprised 99.4% of mobile app sales in 2009 (source: ). In short, Apple clearly (and intentionally) has created a bottleneck over iPhone app sales, which due to the iPhone's dominance, might extend to a bottleneck over all mobile app sales.. (Not passing judgement here; just stating the facts; if the word "bottleneck" offends, call it gatekeeping, QA assurance, or whatever fits.)
The second question is murkier. Even if Apple has restricted an essential facility for a market, that alone is not enough to warrant action; the market itself has to be large enough for the government to throw its considerable weight around. Is the mobile App Market significant enough to warrant that heavy of a hammer? I suspect no, not at this time -- but I bet that is precisely what Adobe would put forth in any suit they may file, and that Essential Facilities will be their grounds.

Um, I thought Steve shut out Flash on the iPhone/iPad platform because a) it was the #1 cause of Mac crashes before b) Apple rewrote Safari specifically to NOT crash WHEN a Flash problem occurred (not IF), and c) Flash's ability to encapsulate calls makes it a potential Trojan Horse for all kinds of other potential problems... oh, and d) it's a battery hog. And guess what - Apple is all about providing an optimal user experience with it's products!
Bottom line - Flash is simply unacceptable by the stringent standards of THE world leader in computer product innovation. Do you have to be a fanboy to get that? Maybe so....

Nilay Patel of Engadget was a lawyer, he doesn't seem to think there are any grounds either:

I don't doubt Adobe's considered suing Apple, but I'm also sure any actual antitrust lawsuit would go just like the Psystar case: poorly.
Right, you have to explicitly define the market being monopolized, and "the market of iPhone OS devices" isn't good enough.
Right, tying etc is illegal, not the monopoly. But first you have to define the market, and Adobe fails to meet that threshold.

@Go Android, I see your points and they are valid but your 12 year old l33t talk kills your credibility. :) If your 12 years old I apologies. Hehe.

I don't think anyone here thinks Apple should allow Flash on the phone. What is shady here is the blocking of cross compiling. This isn't a browser plug in we are talking about. It is native iPhone apps that are being blocked because they are generated with tools other then there own (xcode). This is a new rule, created long after Adobe announced their intentions of cross compiling. As long as Adobe only uses public APIs and the app passes all the normal criteria then the app should be released.
Let me repeat one more time. We aren't talking about Flash here. One more time, we are not talking about Flash. :) We aren't talking about web pages even.

Well my opinion is adobe should of contacted apple before they spend the money, not just go ahead and make it, doesn't make sense when they are playing with SDK anyway see what happens

Unless Apple made some agreement that CS5 would be alllowed, i dont see this gettibg anywhere.

Apple are quick enough to let adobe make software for macs etc like photoshop and so on, if it wasnt for adobe macs would sell as much cause everyone buys them cause its vetter for creating etc, if i was adobe i would say f*ck u apple no cs5 for u! Lets see ur new mac book sell well now, even if adobe lose money it still proves a point they need adobe

Jason, it is possible they did have contact which may be why they think they have a case. No one really knows all the details. It is all speculation. Apple may have a god reason for rejecting cross compilers. But I suspect it's another case of "just because". Also as Smalls said, they want to force devs into Macs. If Flash CS5 can create native iPhone apps then people wouldn't need a mac anymore.
But seriously, why do companies insist on buying Macs for art departments? You can build comparable machines for a quarter of the cost and have much better support then Apple provides.

@ermax i guess it's just to be on a "higher class", not in the same boat as windows users. Without the great Tools from Adobe and the currently only OS which allows to create Iphone-Apps, the Macintosh would be such a useless device. Apple knows it, Steve knows it.
Even Linux is better than Macintosh. The only great Product from Apple was the Iphone, the Iphone OS and the Appstore. That's it. And now their holding on this as strong as possible.

As an iPhone user, I'd love to have flash support. There are many websites that I can't access because they use flash. Many times I want to go on a website of a business to find nearest location but can't because it requires flash. It is an inconvience having half assed web access.

Stop trolling for attention. And when you get back home, tell mommy I'm sorry about the rug burns on her knees.

kid grow up and pick your daddy from the red-light district, because your mommy ain't worth the 10$ she asks for her services. well, at least your dad is. like father, like son.

I wouldn't say the iPhone was the only good product. The iPod was also great. The simplicity of the interface was great. All these new touch screen media players suck (including the iPhone/Touch). They can't be navigated without looking at the screen. Apple makes nice computers too. EXTREMELY over priced but still nice. The problem lies with there OS and their lack of upgrade options. The video card in one of our Macs (man would they ditch these things) died and it was such a pain to locate a new one. Apple was going to take 7 days to ship a new one (they wouldn't even let me pay to get faster shipping). The local Apple stores don't stock parts for "old" Mac Pros (these machines are only 13months old). After doing some research I discovered that the newer card work just fine in the older Macs despite what the geniuses at the store and the tarts at phone support say. So we paid $160 for a card that would have cost $40 for the same card on a PC. Actually, it would have been free because I could have salvaged a card from our stock pile of parts.
Anyways, call me a troll all you want. I am just not a koolaid drinker. I am willing to admit when Apple gets it right, but I am not going to be a fanboy and ignore their flaws.

If I were in the place of Adobe I'd do two things:

  1. Create an app store for adobe, then submit an objective-c app for allowing users access to this new store.
  2. Stop compiling adobe products for the mac, and start compiling them for Linux. Knowing that many if not most uses of the mac is for designers.

Ashraf Amayreh, great points but Apple would never approve an app that gives users access to a competing store. Adobe should just stop compiling OSX builds and call it a day. From a business standpoint it is pointless to support a platform (Linux) with such a small market share. The only reason they are interested in Apple's small 6% share is because probably 75% of that 6% share buy Adobe products. It would be interesting to see Adobe's userbase stats.

official adobe employee, but no official Adobe statement :
Many of Adobe’s supporters have mentioned that we should discontinue the Creative Suite products on OS X as a form of retaliation. Again, this is something that Adobe would never consider in a million years. We are not looking to abuse our loyal users and make them pawns for the sake of trying to hurt another company. What is clear is that Apple most definitely would do that sort of thing as is evidenced by their recent behavior.
quoted :
Adobe is no asshole-company Apple is! Adobe just want to deliver creative content.

Do we know that cs5 will actually export to a swf file or would flash convert it to a compatible file to then be able to access to the AppStore?
Also you'd probably can only use this flash thing on a mac cause you can only publish apps from a mac.

Adobe should call back when Flash is actually usable on a mobile phone. Right now, it's not. They've had almost three years since the iPhone first came out and they have absolutely nothing to show.

@ermax, thx for link. Guess this is the important topic :
iPhone applications built with the Packager for iPhone are compiled into standard, native iPhone executable packages and there is no runtime interpreter that could be used to run ActionScript bytecode within the application.
Just imagine what great Apps you could write, with such an great GUI Flash has to create Animations. This would be so awesome.
Please Google, Buy Apple, take the devloper-team and engineers to your team and destroy this's done. Steve Joby may then create some HTML5 Animations with a MacOSX.

Advertising for a business can be expensive but it doesn't have to be. Many companies spend millions on marketing campaigns, you can start for under $100. Pop out from the crowd with a banner stand and add more of a professional look.

Ya'll do know that Flash is technically impossible on touch screen phones. Unless Apple implemented some cursor pointer in Safari mobile, controlling Flash would never work.

You Guys are hilarious - this is the best read I have had in a long time.
Up front, I'm not an Apple Fanboy - I don't own a single thing of theirs (although I bought my kid an iPod). However, I agree that they should have the right to choose what can and can't be used on their platform.
Then again, I thought MS should have that right too, before Apple sued them. A little bit hypocritical, I feel.

nice we can enterntain you.
However, we don't live in a world where big companies can choose what can and can't be used on their platform which is available for all customers of the world. If Apple says, the Iphone is just for Macintosh-User, no-one really can say something. However, in this case nobody wouldn't even care.
Microsoft tried this game too, and they failed. So will Apple

Flash performance is much better on 10.1. I have went as far as disabling click2flash on a bunch of websites now because it doesn't tax the CPU anymore. If Apple would enable GPU acceleration performance issues would be gone forever. I'm all for HTML5 but for interactive web sites, Flash is still much better, Canvas isn't even close to Flash in that regard. For video I'm all for .h264 usurping Flash, but that does nothing about the issue of interactive web experiences.

It's clearly and anti trust issue. I can understand if the only way to program for the devices is on an apple system... but that is not the case. Apple is banning flash IDE as well as unity... WTF !!!! So you are telling me because I don't want to go out and buy a mac I can't develop using tools that work on my PC? Last time I checked, the CS5 and UNITY setups will basically set up files so that they can be compiled using XCode... So to the system its same as writing xcode natively. It's just appl forcing developers to buy more of their overpriced computers...

As a multimedia developer, flash is not just about websites. Most people have a sour taste in their mouth about flash because of all the stupid web adds from the early past. AS3 for those of you who don't know is structured on the C programming language and has evolved and is compliant with the ECMAScript Language Specifications. Flash, Flex and AIR are strong multimedia development tools, that work wonderfully when used by people who know what the hell they are doing. At one point in time, Adobe and Apple were discussing a partnership, not just for website purposing, but for applications mainly. Mobile web, IMHO, should not be done in Flash. However, I am an applications developer and the possibilities with AS3 are robust and abound and I find it sad that Apple cannot and will not play nice with others. As for the web, a tool is a tool is a tool. Use the right tool or mix of tools to get the job done, and done right. I love my iPhone, but for dev reasons I will be buying something else.

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