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Apple relaxes iPhone, iPad rules for developers

Apple said Thursday it will relax its notoriously tight rules for developers of iPhone and iPad applications, amid complaints by competitors that the company’s restrictions for developers are anti-competitive.

The move, announced in a statement on its Web site, could allow for Adobe’s Flash video software on Apple’s products, putting an end to a contentious battle between the two companies. Adobe reported filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, saying Apple’s control over a dominant mobile Web applications market – its Apps store – and requirement that developers use Apple tools unfairly hurt competitors. The New York Post reported recently that U.S. regulators have been looking into the complaints and that European regulators have also expressed interest in an investigation.

Apple didn’t explain why the sudden change of pace and didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement on its Web site, Apple said it “has listened to developers and taken much of their feedback to heart.”

As such, it said it was “relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create IOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code.”

Apple has argued that it needs to maintain strict guidelines for applications on its mobile devices, citing concerns over security and the performance of its products.

“This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need,” Apple said, adding it would be more transparent about how it vets applications. The company said it it would publish the App Store Review Guidelines for the first time.

Rob Pegoraro explains what the changes mean for developers and users here.

By Cecilia Kang  |  September 9, 2010; 10:28 AM ET
Categories:  Antitrust , Apple  
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