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Steve Jobs Responds To Complaints About Apple’s Decision To Ban Apps Built With Cross-Compiler Programs

April 10th, 2010 04:23 outtatime Leave a comment Go to comments

Apple launches SDK for iPhone OS 3.2

Mashable has just reported that Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs has weighed in on Apple’s decision to ban applications built with cross-compiler programs in the iPhone developer SDK agreement for iPhone OS 4.0

Developer Greg Slepak, CEO of TaoEffect claims to have emailed Steve Jobs to voice his concerns about Apple’s decision and received two responses from Steve Jobs.

Greg Slepak had the following email exchange with Steve Jobs on the issue:

GREG:

Hi Steve,

Lots of people are pissed off at Apple’s mandate that applications be “originally written” in C/C++/Objective-C. If you go, for example, to the Hacker News homepage right now:

http://news.ycombinator.com/

You’ll see that most of the front page stories about this new restriction, with #1 being: “Steve Jobs Has Just Gone Mad” with (currently) 243 upvotes. The top 5 stories are all negative reactions to the TOS, and there are several others below them as well. Not a single positive reaction, even from John Gruber, your biggest fan.

I love your product, but your SDK TOS are growing on it like an invisible cancer.

Sincerely,
Greg

STEVE:

We think John Gruber’s post is very insightful and not negative:

http://daringfireball.net/2010/04/why_apple_changed_section_331

Steve

GREG:

Sorry. I didn’t catch that post, but I finished it just now.

I still think it undermines Apple. You didn’t need this clause to get to where you are now with the iPhone’s market share, adding it just makes people lose respect for you and run for the hills, as a commenter to that article stated:

“So what Apple does not want is for some other company to establish a de facto standard software platform on top of Cocoa Touch. Not Adobe’s Flash. Not .NET (through MonoTouch). If that were to happen, there’s no lock-in advantage.”

And that makes Apple evil. At least, it does in the sense that Google uses the term in “don’t be evil” – I believe pg translated “evil” as something along the lines of “trying to compete by means other than making the best product and marketing it honestly”.

From a developer’s point of view, you’re limiting creativity itself. Gruber is wrong, there are plenty of [applications] written using cross-platform frameworks that are amazing, that he himself has praised. Mozilla’s Firefox just being one of them.

I don’t think Apple has much to gain with 3.3.1, quite the opposite actually.

Sincerely,
Greg

STEVE:

We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.

GREG:

The Mac has only been helped by the fact that Firefox, Ableton Live, and hundreds of other high-quality applications can run on it thanks to the fact that developers have a choice as to what tools they can use on it.

Crappy developers will make crappy apps regardless of how many layers there are, and it doesn’t make sense to limit source-to-source conversion tools like Unity3D and others. They’re all building apps through the iPhone developer tools in the end so the situation isn’t even comparable to the Mac where applications can completely avoid using Apple’s frameworks by replacing them with others.

In my opinion, 3.3.1 only serves to make the platform less attractive to legitimate developers, giving them reason to write their software for competing platforms instead.

Thanks for considering this.

Sincerely,
Greg

Since Steve Jobs has endorsed Gruber’s article, it indicates that Apple doesn’t want a ‘meta-platform’ such as Adobe’s Flash or .NET (through MonoTouch) to establish a de facto standard software platform on top of Cocoa Touch and other mobile platforms such as Android, Windows Phone 7 etc, which would reduce the importance of Apple’s iPhone platform from a developers point of view.

It makes sense from Apple's point of view, but Apple will find it difficult to convince developers who want to use such tools to give them the capability to develop their apps for all mobile platforms quickly and with limited resources.

Let us know your views on this controversy in the comments below.

[via TaoEffect BlogMashable]

Source: Steve Jobs Responds To Complaints About Apple’s Decision To Ban Apps Built With Cross-Compiler ProgramsSteve Jobs Responds To Complaints About Apple’s Decision To Ban Apps Built With Cross-Compiler Programs

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