NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Apple relaxed its notoriously stringent terms for app development today in a ploy to get more apps -- and therefore more iAd inventory -- into the App Store.
Apple's update also eased tension with two recent adversaries: Google and Adobe. With the new terms, developers will be able to create apps in Flash after Apple publicly restricted the creative tool widely used by the design community. As result, Adobe's stock has rallied more than 12% today.
"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," Apple said in a statement.
The update will open the gates to an entirely new cadre of apps, says Darrell Whitelaw, creative director of mobile shop MIR. Since Flash is already a familiar tool to many designers, the barrier to entry has been lowered for developing for iOS, Apple's operating system on iPhones, iPad and iPod Touch. These new designers can now develop apps with Flash and compile them into a native iOS format. Apple also published its app approval guidelines so developers will better understand what it takes to get into the App Store, which could potentially speed up the approval process if inbound volume increases.
Apple has plateaued in U.S. smartphone market share in recent months at more than 20% -- it's slowly bleeding percentage points, according to comScore. So getting more apps in the store might be a play to increase iAd inventory when its user base is stagnant. Apple still leads in the app market -- with more than 250,000 apps in the App Store, versus Android's 80,000.
Apple shuttered its mobile ad network acquisition Quattro Wireless to focus all its attention on iAd, an Apple-device-only ad format.
"We are encouraged to see Apple lifting its restrictions on its licensing terms, giving developers the freedom to choose what tools they use to develop applications for Apple devices," Adobe said in a statement.
Apple also put competitor mobile ad networks at ease by relaxing terms that, in June, had Google's AdMob nervous. Today, Omar Hamoui, former AdMob CEO, now Google VP-product development after the acquisition, characterized the update as "great news" in a statement on the company's mobile ads blog.
"The new terms provide immediate clarification about the status of mobile advertising on the iPhone and will benefit users, developers and advertisers," he wrote. "Users will benefit from more free, or low cost, apps that can now more readily be supported by advertising."
There was a previous concern that Apple, if it enforced its terms as written, would shut out all ad networks that weren't "independent," which would have included AdMob.