Skyfire Pulls Itself from iTunes Store Because of Service Disruption


The highly anticipated Skyfire app has been pulled from Apple’s iTunes Store by its developer because of disruption to its service that allows iPhone owners to view streaming Flash videos on their smartphone. Skyfire launched on the app store yesterday, a day ahead of schedule but the sheer influx of users quickly slowed video streaming through the iOS app to a crawl.

Apple prevents Adobe from developing a version of its Flash Player for iOS. To circumvent this, the Skyfire app sends a link to the video file you try to play to the company’s servers which then convert that Flash video file into an HTML5 video file on the fly and stream that file to your device. Needless to say, this requires a lot of bandwidth and server capacity to work.

Before it was pulled from iTunes, Skyfire sold for $2.99 and quickly climbed the store rankings. Skyfire has released a statement stating that Apple has not pulled its app from the store but rather the company itself has and is effectively ‘sold out’ temporarily while it expands its capacity. No date was mentioned for when the app would return for sale.

While Skyfire allows users to watch Flash videos, it does not support Flash-based games or interactive websites. This means that even with Skyfire, users of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices are unable to experience all that Flash has to offer. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been highly critical of Flash in the past and stated that he thinks that the technology is buggy and unsuited for mobile devices. Regardless of where you stand on this, HTML5—Flash video’s archrival that Apple and Google both support—does look to slowly be taking over more and more of the internet.

Hopefully the wait for Skyfire’s return won’t be long. I don’t know how much additional capacity the company needs to add to keep up with all of the pent up iOS users’ cravings for Flash videos but the company did say that it would be accepting new purchases “soon.” Did you manage to luck out and nab a copy of Skyfire? Have the massive video slowdowns experienced on launch day broken to clear blue Flash video skies? I am curious as to how popular this solution to the iOS versus Flash war will become. Tell me in the comments what you think and your experiences (if any) with Skyfire.

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