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3/19/2010
02:11 PM
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Adobe Flash CS5 For Windows May Violate Apple Rules

The language of Apple's iPhone Developer Agreement indicates that using Windows to build iPhone apps is forbidden.

Adobe may have a problem with its plan to allow Windows-based Flash developers to generate iPhone applications from Flash content using its forthcoming Flash Professional CS5: It may be inducing iPhone developers to violate the Apple iPhone Developer Agreement.

In a blog post published on Thursday evening, Evan Kirchhoff, senior software engineer at Ansca Mobile, creator of Flash-competitor Corona, argues that Flash for Windows appears to contravene the rules that Apple iPhone developers have accepted.

Using Apple-issued digital signing certificates and provisioning profiles on a Windows machine, he says, seems to be forbidden under the terms of Apple's iPhone Developer Agreement, allowing that this depends on the interpretation of Apple's broadly worded contractual language.

"We obviously won't know how Flash will work until the public release later this year, but at some level Flash CS5 will have to implement the Apple code-signing utility on Windows, thus distributing a competing method of compiling Apple certificates and device provisioning profiles into a signed binary," he writes. "It seems like this crosses over much more clearly into unauthorized uses of the 'SDK,' although here it may depend on what specific code is open-sourced, and on which licenses are involved."

Mark Methenitis, an attorney with the Dallas, Texas-based Vernon Law Group, who recently spoke about iPhone developer agreements at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, says that Kirchhoff's interpretation is a fair one.

"It does seem plausible, given Apple's and Adobe's not too pleasant history," he said in a phone interview.

Jason H. Fisher, an attorney at law firm Buchalter Nemer in Los Angeles, echoed that view. "It would be a technical violation of the Apple SDK to [generate and sign an iPhone binary] on a Windows machine," he said.

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