After five months stirring up controversy by banning Flash on mobile Apple devices, Steve Jobs looks like he’s done a 180 and decided to let Apple and Flash work together, after all. Here’s the rather vague wording that may indicate Apple’s acceptance of Flash (from Fast Company):
“In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.”
Is it a Flash go-ahead? Fast Company explains why it is. But nobody has gotten the word from Steve Jobs on whether the new Apple policies comprise an about-face or not.
Veteran Jobs watcher Philip Elmer-DeWitt has more:
Apple’s statement doesn’t mention Flash by name — and we are waiting for clarification from Apple and Adobe — but as long as apps (or ads) written in Flash are compiled ahead of time and don’t require downloading any Adobe code, they should pass muster. Adobe’s stock opened about 9% higher on the news.
What caused Apple to change its mind? The leading theories:
* Feedback. The company line is that Apple has “listened to its developers and taken their feedback to heart.” Nobody is buying it.
* Competition. First from Flash-friendly cellphones powered by Google’s (GOOG) Android, and now from the wave of Android tablet computers about to hit the market.
* Regulation. The FTC is known to be looking into Apple’s ban on cross-party platforms, reportedly at Adobe’s request.
Maybe Steve Jobs will release another essay explaining his policy changes while somehow making everyone else look like idiots. That would be par for the course.