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Apple lifts iPhone code ban (for chosen few)

'Steve Jobs,' says Google man. 'You fail at open'

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'Steve Jobs, you fail'

In allowing "minor" interpreted code by written consent, Apple Outsider speculates, Jobs may have an eye on games. "Games in particular tend to use engines and libraries that leverage interpreted languages," the blog says. "Many of these applications pose no threat, neither implicitly nor explicitly.

"While explicit approval from Apple is still required, these new terms seem to acknowledge that there’s a difference between an app that happens to have non-compiled code, and a meta-platform. It’s a step that should allow for many new possibilities."

In a separate blog post, developer Hank Williams picks up the discussion, agreeing that Jobs keeps such tight control over the iPhone App Store because he fears "the killer app." "I think Apple is fearful of any truly ground breaking stuff coming from a third party," he writes.

"I think Apple has come to the conclusion that any killer apps for the iPhone need to be from Apple, and that those that are not from Apple are hugely dangerous. And this well may be true. Because if some third party invents something that fundamentally changes what it means to own a mobile device, and that software is available on other devices, overnight Apple is in the position of being the supplicant."

This is Apple's worry with Flash, he says, but that's not all. "If that killer app vendor decides to support Android more effectively than they support Apple, or if for some reason they decided to drop the iPhone, that one vendor could have a devastating effect on Apple's position in the marketplace. This is the position that Apple was in with Adobe in the 90's and Jobs has made it clear he is fearful of ever being in that position again.

"Others have discussed this but it is usually framed in the context of why Apple doesn't want Adobe on its platform. But I think the broader issue is they don't want *any* companies generating hundreds of millions of dollars through some new mobile technology which Apple doesn't control."

And these words have received the stamp of approval from none other than Dan Morrill, the Google open source and compatibility program manager for Android. "This: http://goo.gl/CEVx is what I was talking about when I wrote this: http://goo.gl/hTTm," he Tweeted today. The first link points the "killer app" post above, and the second to a blog post Morrill himself wrote in April.

"Openness is more than the absence of closed. Openness does not come automatically just because you deploy an industry standard," he wrote. "Openness means you recognize the real, additive value that disparate products and businesses bring to your platform. It doesn't mean tolerating competition, it means valuing competition. You only really value openness when you quietly thank your higher power of choice that your competitor just took advantage of the opportunity to destroy your business on your own platform. Implementing standards is just the first step on the road to openness.

"Steve Jobs, you fail at openness."

Indeed. And one day, this will come back to haunt the Apple cult leader. You can keep that third-party killer app off your platform. But what happens when it winds up somewhere else? ®

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