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Apple Allows Apps Translated From Flash

In a surprising about-face, Apple has removed many restrictions in its developer agreement and published guidelines about the kinds of apps it will accept and reject.

In April, it appeared that Apple's war with Adobe to keep Flash off its iOS devices would cause collateral damage among the makers of third-party development tools. The company's draft developer agreement for iOS 4.0 was worded such that developers could only create programs in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript.

Thousands of applications in the app store faced the prospect of being banned if and when Apple chose to enforce its rules and companies that made software to make mobile development easier, like Unity Technologies, Ansca Mobile, and Rhomobile, wondered whether they had a future making iOS development software.

On Thursday, Apple changed course and decided to remove the restrictions that had generated so many complaints from developers. "We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart," the company said in a statement. "Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year."

The new contractual language not only appears to allow developers to use pretty much any programming tool, including Adobe Flash Packager for iPhone, but it also appears to allow the use of third-party advertising and analytics services, such as Google's AdMob.

An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the meaning of the change.

But Adobe likes what it sees in the new contractual terms. "We are encouraged to see Apple lifting its restrictions on its licensing terms, giving developers the freedom to choose what tools they use to develop applications for Apple devices," a company spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.

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