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Steve Jobs defends Apple's changes to iPhone developer agreement


Apple co-founder Steve Jobs allegedly responded via e-mail to a developer who expressed his unhappiness with changes to the developer program license agreement for the iPhone 4.0 software development kit.

Greg Slepak, CEO of TaoEffect, said he sent an e-mail to Jobs after learning the iPhone 4 SDK banned the porting of Flash, Java and Mono applications. Specifically, the new agreement prohibits the development of apps using "an intermediary translation or compatibility layer tool."

Slepak told Jobs he believed the reaction to the change across the entire internet was negative, including from Daring Fireball's John Gruber, who Slepak called Jobs' "biggest fan." Jobs reportedly responded by sending a link to Gruber's commentary on why Apple changed section 3.1.1 of its developer agreement. "We think John Gruber's post is very insightful and not negative," the Apple CEO allegedly said.

Slepak wrote back and said he believes Apple's changes are "limiting creativity itself," and said he believes there are a number of applications written with cross-platform frameworks that are "amazing," such as Mozilla Firefox. Jobs, Slepak said, responded to his second note in about three minutes.

"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," he wrote.

Last October, Adobe announced that developers would be able to create native iPhone applications ported from existing software written in Flash. The feature is set to become a part of the forthcoming Creative Suite 5 from Adobe.

Apple's changes have sparked spirited debate, with one Adobe evangelist this week lashing out at the iPhone maker for what he felt was a "hostile and despicable move." Lee Brimelow, a platform evangelist with Adobe, who advocates Flash and related Flex and Air developments, gained attention when he said he believes Apple timed the change to "hurt sales of CS5."