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Adobe May Sue Apple over Flash Ban

The battle between Apple and Adobe may soon leave the world of rhetoric and enter the world of the courts. Following Apple’s decision to exclude Flash based programs from their mobile devices, according to IT World, Adobe is considering legal action.

It began subtly enough. A passing remark here, a verbal jab there. And then things began to get bad between Apple and Adobe, maker of Flash.  Flash, a multimedia software designed to aid in playing animation, is primarily used in the rendering of animation, ads and other Web-based graphics including embedded video, such as YouTube.  In 2008, Steve Jobs criticized Flash and claimed it ran to slowly on the iPhone. In response, Adobe blamed Apple’s notorious secrecy, claiming they had no idea when the iPhone would be released so they didn’t have time to properly develop for it.

In 2009 the verbal sparring continued when Apple’s senior VP of software engineering, Bertand Serlet, claimed that the leading cause of crashes on Mac’s OS X were from browser plug-ins, and if there were any doubt which plug-ins Serlet was referring to, Jobs settled that by calling Adobe a “lazy company” at an Apple town hall meeting earlier this year.

Then things began to get really bad. Because the iPad uses the same fundamental OS that the iPhone uses, it was clear that the tablet would not support Flash. But not supporting is different from not allowing, something that Apple did when it changed its iPhone SDK (software development kit) license to ban apps submitted that are converted from Flash.

The decision to ban Flash was nothing short of remarkable. Flash player is currently installed and supported on 95 percent of internet connected computers. The change came as something of a surprise to Adobe, who developed a “Packager for iPhone” extension in their CS5 software that was released on April 12th.

Adobe fired back, pointing the finger at Apple – the middle one. “Go screw yourself Apple”, Adobe platform evangelist, Lee Brimelow said on his personal blog.

Brimelow later removed the statement and added a disclaimer to his blog, stating that “The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.”

Adobe then filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, calling Apple’s exclusion of Flash a “risk factor” that could push consumers towards “alternative technologies”.

Exactly what legal grounds the lawsuit might pursue are unknown. Adobe has not confirmed that a lawsuit is in the works, but with the time, effort, and – most importantly – money spent on the development of the “Packager for iPhone” in Adobe’s upcoming CS5 release, things would have to take a remarkable turn to prevent this heading to court.

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