Apple Restricts iCloud to Apps in App Store

For the forthcoming Mountain Lion release of Mac OS X, Apple is advancing their support of iCloud and introducing the Notification Center. Third party app developers will not have access to iCloud and the Notification Center unless they release their software through Apple’s App Store.

Developers may not want or be able to use the App Store for any number of reasons:

  • The app cannot comply with Apple’s sandbox rules,
  • The app requires a complex installer or launches a daemon,
  • The economics of handing 30% of the software sales price to Apple does not make sense for the developer.

Those that are not in a position to use the App Store will miss out on these features. This will impact larger software developers such as Adobe Systems the most. As these features become more mainstream, Adobe will be put at a competitive disadvantage.

It may be that access to iCloud and the Notification Center are being restricted for security reasons, but I can’t see why this would be true. Any app today can access Growl, so why wouldn’t any app be allowed to access the Notification Center? As I’m unclear on Apple’s motivation here, it may be premature to draw conclusions. But it sure feels like this can be added to the growing list of Apple’s anticompetitive moves. If this only affects companies such as Adobe then I would not expect a backlash because large companies tend to attract little sympathy.