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Old June 3 2010, 09:13 PM   #46
FordSVT
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Re: vendoring censorship

Arrqh wrote: View Post
FordSVT wrote: View Post
So why should the government investigate them for a breach of anti-trust laws? Because they don't like Flash and limit the software they sell on the device they produce like almost every other content distributor in the world does?
There's only so many different ways I can say "Apple's policies are harming other platforms" before I run out of original phrasing.

For the nth time, this has nothing to do with Apple being a monopoly. If they are unfairly hurting their competitors then they're in violation of anti-trust laws. If my interpretation is correct (and obviously, I believe it is), then Apple is currently in violation because their policies are designed to stump cross platform development in the same way that Microsoft did in the mid 90s. How Apple rose to their current market position is not the issue; what they're doing with it now that they have it is.

And once again, comparing this to game consoles is flat out incorrect. None of the console platforms try to inhibit cross platform development in the manner that Apple is. Walmart is just a vendor, but Apple is both a vendor and a platform.
And once again, I'm telling you I think you're wrong. Sony and Microsoft have bought out entire game studios and paid tens of millions of dollars in order to have exclusive rights to certain titles. They have their own OSs, their own development tools, and they control who makes what games for release on their systems. Tell me how this is different from what Apple does.

I still have no idea how Apple is stopping cross platform development when there are like 100,000 apps in the Droid store, and dozens of cracked app sites all over the place for every phone OS you can think of. You really need you to spell this out for me in detail, because all you're doing is saying "Apple is hurting other companies" but you're not bothering to mention how, in any way that distinguishes them from any of their competitors, or a multitude of other companies across the consumer landscape.
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Old June 3 2010, 10:11 PM   #47
Arrqh
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Re: vendoring censorship

FordSVT wrote: View Post
I still have no idea how Apple is stopping cross platform development when there are like 100,000 apps in the Droid store, and dozens of cracked app sites all over the place for every phone OS you can think of. You really need you to spell this out for me in detail, because all you're doing is saying "Apple is hurting other companies" but you're not bothering to mention how, in any way that distinguishes them from any of their competitors, or a multitude of other companies across the consumer landscape.
This entire thing hinges on a change made to the license agreement you need to accept to develop an app for the App Store. The change went in about a month ago and here is the relevent text:

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).
What this change does is to not allow developers to use 3rd party tools and libraries to create iPhone apps. One of the big benefits to using these 3rd party tools (other examples of these are MonoTouch, Unity3D and Corona) is that these libraries make it much easier to port apps from one platform to another because the "back end" code doesn't have to change significantly, you just need to recode the front end and interface for each platform.

Because the Apple App Market is +90% of the direct to consumer mobile app market, this forces developers to do one of those things: either just make an iPhone version and worry about rewriting the app for other platforms later or skip the iPhone and its much more lucrative market and just create their app for other platforms. If a developer is large enough, they could do multiple versions in parallel but most mobile developers are pretty small and won't be able to do so. So in essence, what Apple is doing is using the market position of their App Store to try and force developers to only develop for their platform. The result of this would be that the Android Market would grow at a slower pace then it would have otherwise and the result of that would be that the adoption rate of Android phones would be lowered because consumers are going to go where the apps are.

Worth pointing out as well, there are not 100,000 apps in the Android Market. It's actually more around 30,000 (it was 27,000 at the end of April) compared to the over 160,000 in the Apple Store. That is not a small difference and the size of Apple's Store compared to the competition is one of their big selling points. It is absolutely within Apple's interests to try and slow the rate that Android apps are introduced, but they've stepped over the line here in terms of fair practices.

How is this different from the game consoles? Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo don't care one bit about how you write your code or what 3rd party libraries you use. Want to use Havok in your game? They won't stop you. What to license an entire engine? They don't care. Want to use Euporhia or DMM or Scaleform or FMOD or SpeedTree? Go for it. Yes, they all own their own game studios and have exclusive rights to certain titles but they do not apply pressure in the same way to all developers and that's a critical difference. In fact, if Apple wanted to behave like the game studios and purchase a few app developers to make iPhone apps and make some exclusive app deals with 3rd party developers then they'd be totally in the clear. What makes what they are doing wrong is that they are applying pressure to all developers. And it's the developers that make or break a platform.

For further reading, there's an excellent writeup on this subject on Ars here: http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/20...or-android.ars
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Old June 4 2010, 02:19 AM   #48
David cgc
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Re: vendoring censorship

Arrqh wrote: View Post
What this change does is to not allow developers to use 3rd party tools and libraries to create iPhone apps. One of the big benefits to using these 3rd party tools (other examples of these are MonoTouch, Unity3D and Corona) is that these libraries make it much easier to port apps from one platform to another because the "back end" code doesn't have to change significantly, you just need to recode the front end and interface for each platform.
And that's splendtacular, but you aren't going into what happens when middleware goes wrong. What happens when popular apps are developed with MonoTouch? It's all gravy now, but what happens in five or six years, when OS X develops in some way MonoTouch hadn't anticipated, or they don't update for whatever reason? Then all those killer apps become a millstone around Apple's neck, and they have to keep bending over backwards to support legacy technology. It already happened with Metrowerks' "PowerPlant" Integrated Development Environment. It was an extremely popular IDE, and a lot of great Mac programs were made with it. And then Mac OS X came along and PowerPlant didn't become compatible with it until 2004. The year after Mac OS X had stopped being a futuristic, candy-coated curiosity and started being the main day-to-day OS for most Mac users. Bet that might've happened a bit faster if Apple didn't have to keep bending over backwards to keep new software on legacy frameworks running because somebody couldn't get their middleware's shit together for five years.

There's a good deal of psychology at work here. Apple's had bad experiences with middleware, and they've had worse experiences with dependance on third-party software. I have four applications open all the time on my Mac, generally, no matter what else is going on: Safari, Mail, iChat, and iTunes. I can word-process in Pages, and presentation in Keynote. I can organize my photos in Aperture, and edit a film in Final Cut. These are all Apple-made programs. There was an Apple-brand equivalent for only one of those programs ten years ago. That ecosystem didn't pop up by accident.

In fact, it creates the practical upshot that Microsoft, for instance, could stop developing software for the Mac tomorrow, and no one would necessarily have to give a shit. Compare that to 1997, before the IE bailout, when everyone was waiting for the hammer to fall on the Mac and Apple as a whole, when Microsoft would decide that the Macintosh market was no longer large enough to be worth the trouble and kill Office for Mac. Now, luckily for Apple, there was a democrat in office, and Microsoft preferred propping up the closest thing they had to a viable competitor to having Janet Reno and an anti-trust team start examining their collective rectums with a dental pick.

Things could've just as easily gone the other way. If Linux was a little more popular, if there was a more business-friendly Justice Department at the time, if Bill Gates just decided he didn't give a fuck about keeping Microsoft in one piece, Apple would be long dead and gone.

But they survived, and here we are, thirteen years later, in a world where Apple writes its own damn core application suites, and has its own damn IDE, and can thus survive perfectly well even if everyone else on the planet decides to stop developing for their platforms. Now, there's a lot of merit to a cross-platform approach. As an old-time Mac guy (hell, as a modern Mac guy), I definitely appreciate the merit of fostering development for minority platforms. But Apple will not submit the survival of its products and platforms to third parties again. Saying they should is probably going to go over about as well as trying to convince gulf-coast fishermen they should vote for candidates who will reduce burdensome government regulation of industry.

Chin up, though. You can do amazing things with HTML5 and JavaScript these days. Even port functioning Flash objects. Hell, you can even sell web apps, and in a convenient centralized location once someone realizes there's an untapped goldmine and makes a Web-App Store. And contrary to what you said earlier, Apple has nothing against web apps. They love web apps. Safari and MobileSafari play well with web apps. So if you want to develop something that'll run on multiple platforms with a minimum of per-platform individualization, make a damn web app.
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Old June 4 2010, 06:01 PM   #49
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Re: vendoring censorship

David cgc wrote: View Post
And that's splendtacular, but you aren't going into what happens when middleware goes wrong. What happens when popular apps are developed with MonoTouch? It's all gravy now, but what happens in five or six years, when OS X develops in some way MonoTouch hadn't anticipated, or they don't update for whatever reason? Then all those killer apps become a millstone around Apple's neck, and they have to keep bending over backwards to support legacy technology.
Yes, and? How is this different from everyone else? What makes Apple so unable to deal with legacy support on their mobile platform when a) they do it fine on OSX and b) everyone else has to deal with it too? Of course Apple had absolutely no problem with middleware on the iPhone before... they've even gone so far as to demo apps created with it live on stage by Jobs himself. Obviously these apps were good for something! What a coincidence, then, that middleware was banned just as Adobe was about to release CS5 and just as Android was starting to put pressure on Apple. Apple owes part of its success in the iPhone to middleware, but now that it's more useful to them as a way to attack their competitors they've turned it into a weapon.

Meanwhile, the developers are stuck in the crossfire and the consumers get hurt without even realizing it. The only one who wins is Apple and the entire mobile industry will suffer for it.

I do certainly agree that there is psychology at play... Apple did, as you point out, get burned by 3rd parties in the past. And now they've swung around the other way, become a total control freak about it and in doing so are now exerting control on other platforms too. It's like seeing a kid get beat up and turning into a bully as a result. Yes, what happened in the past sucks, but it doesn't excuse anti-competitive behavior.

What it essentially comes down to is that this is an argument against cross platform development as a whole... and that's the road Microsoft went down in the 90's. And we all know where that road leads.

Chin up, though. You can do amazing things with HTML5 and JavaScript these days. Even port functioning Flash objects. Hell, you can even sell web apps, and in a convenient centralized location once someone realizes there's an untapped goldmine and makes a Web-App Store. And contrary to what you said earlier, Apple has nothing against web apps. They love web apps. Safari and MobileSafari play well with web apps. So if you want to develop something that'll run on multiple platforms with a minimum of per-platform individualization, make a damn web app.
Yup, there's some great things you can do with HTML5. That's not the point. The point is that Apple should not be dictating the direction that the entire web moves in. If this wasn't Apple but instead Google refusing to, say, return sites that use Flash as search results I'd be making the exact same argument. Apple can say that they're just supporting open standards, but if they're doing it by blackmail it isn't exactly a choice now, is it?
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Old June 5 2010, 05:35 AM   #50
David cgc
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Re: vendoring censorship

Arrqh wrote: View Post
Yes, and? How is this different from everyone else? What makes Apple so unable to deal with legacy support on their mobile platform when a) they do it fine on OSX
Rosetta is great. Classic wasn't. Guess which one they don't want to go through again.

Arrqh wrote: View Post
b) everyone else has to deal with it too?
If everyone else had a dozen different versions of their OS available on different handsets leading to unpredictable software incompatibilities and jumped off a bridge, should Apple do it too?

Arrqh wrote: View Post
If this wasn't Apple but instead Google refusing to, say, return sites that use Flash as search results I'd be making the exact same argument.
I'm really not trying to be an ass, but this was the first example I could think of of an SWF with apparent unique text.

Steve Jobs' "Thoughts on Flash," in Flash

Google results for that domain, using unique text on that page in HTML.

Google results for that domain, using unique text on that page in the Flash object.

Google doesn't return results from Flash. HTML, obviously. Word documents, sure. Even PDFs will show up in a Google search, but not Flash.
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