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June 4th, 2010

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12:08 am - No developer love from Apple
Historically, Apple has not been a company that is well respected by the developer community. This is mostly a result of disrespect from Apple for that community and lack of support. This combined with Apples stubborn marketing strategy has led to the downfall of Apple in the 90s.
Fast forward 20 years, Apple is now dominating the smart phone industry (sort of), but it looks like they are repeating the exact same mistakes again, from sticking with a single minded marketing strategy to refusing application, banning frameworks and alienating everyone who wants to develop for their platform.

It is one thing to design a nice hardware with basic software on it, but in order for any platform to take off (beyond iFart apps) you need solid army of tens of thousands of developers. Microsoft seems to understand this, they really take good care of their developer. Despite the substandard software they produce, their development tools are the best out there.
Apple is now trying to really push it's luck with banning all sorts of different applications, most recently, there was the news of pulling all the widget apps of the iTunes store! I mean you cannot simply delete apps that you have already approved just because you are going to make similar category, or add new features to your OS!

There is huge risk for organizations when developing for the iPhone, it is difficult to invest millions into developing an application that is not guaranteed to be approved by Apple because it violates some UI principle or because Apple might have interest in developing something similar in the future. Just recently we had a brush up with this stupid process when they requested that our UI should be designed in a certain way. It is one thing to dictate which APIs people can use, but it is really out of this world to dictate how user interface should be designed. This means that innovation for the platform will die, and people will resist the urge to do anything that has not been done before by Apple, limiting the platform innovation to only Apple itself.

Apple tried to frame the whole Adobe debate to crashes, or substandard Flash plugin, to the average Mac user they might be convinced, until you hear the real story that Apple refused to let Adobe use hardware graphics acceleration on macs. Ever wonder why windows users never complain about crashes on Flash? It is obvious the whole Flash debate is about money, they don't want people to develop apps without having to go through the AppStore = less money.

Then there was the whole framework debate, When adobe created port tools for flash apps, Apple changed their license agreement to not allow other frameworks run on the iPhone OS. While I was not a big fan of that port strategy from Adobe, that move had major implications than just Flash, it meant that all the development being done on making high level platforms run on iPhone dead... meaning no Java, no .Net framework support on the iPhone.

Unfortunately Apple is stuck in the mindset that their development platform is the greatest, where in fact it is not. It is 2010, dealing with memory management adn leaks is not really a good investment of development effort. There are many great platforms that can run on top a low level framework (cocoa), this is not to mention the sub-standard development tool (XCode). And let's not talk about Objective C.

You know what Apple, it is not personal, you make great devices but you really need to learn how to use these millions of developers out there to your advantage, otherwise they will all leave to a different platform and let's be frank, Android is a great framework to develop on, and although it is lacking in terms of supported features and reliability, it is making great strides into catching up to the iPhone. It has already surpassed the iPhone sales in the US and will definitely be the platform of the future if Apple does not wake up in time.

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