Steve Jobs Debates Developers Over Apple’s New App Policy

By Brian X. Chen – April 12, 2010 – 5:20 pm

Controversy erupted around a change Apple made last week to its iPhone developer agreement, and now even company CEO Steve Jobs has waded into the fray.

A new clause in the iPhone developer agreement (clause 3.3.1) stipulates that iPhone apps may not be written with anything except Apple’s approved programming languages, including Objective C and C++. The rule would effectively ban apps that were written on third-party platforms, such as Adobe Flash, and subsequently converted into native iPhone code.

Apple and its supporters claim that the policy change will ensure long-term quality of apps in the App Store, while critics argue that Apple is attempting to hold software developers hostage in order to stifle the growth of competing platforms such as Google Android.

“It’s an obvious lock-in strategy,” said Greg Slepak, CEO of iPhone development house Tao Effect, in an interview with today. “They are locking [developers] in by making it difficult to convert their applications from a different platform. I think that is not a smart move. It’s going to piss people off or drive developers away.”

Slepak was mad enough about the policy that he wrote Jobs directly to complain. Over the weekend, the CEO replied.

“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,” Jobs wrote in an e-mail response to Slepak’s inquiry about the new clause.

Read more at’s Gadget Lab

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