Apple ‘Relaxing’ App Store Restrictions, Drops Ban on Third-Party Tools



Perhaps with the nudging of developers and possibly the threat of federal involvement, Apple Thursday announced it would “relax” restrictions previously forbidding developers using third-party tools for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch applications.

The announcement comes on the heels of a reported FTC probe into Apple’s decision to forbid developers using tools potentially allowing Adobe Flash in iOS applications.

“Today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year,” the Cupertino, Calif. company announced. The sections relate to language by Apple which had banned “an intermediary translation or compatibility layer” permitting Flash. Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 offered a tool permitting developers to port Flash applications to the iPhone.

“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,” Apple adds.

In August, the European Commission reportedly joined the FTC in investigating whether the ban hurt competition. Apple made no mention of the official investigations, announcing only that today’s changes came after listening to developers.

Additionally, following much anger over Apple’s unannounced App Store approval process, the company released its App Store Review Guidelines. “We hope this makes us more transparent,” Apple announced.

[AppleInsider, 9to5Mac, All Things Digital]