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iPhone Flash app pulled from Apple

By David Goldman, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Skyfire launched its app that plays Flash video on the iPhone one day early, but it didn't expect to pull the app off Apple's App Store so soon.

After just five hours on the market on Wednesday, Skyfire stopped selling the app, as its servers were overwhelmed. The company said it was frantically working to increase its server capacity and would be selling another batch of the applications "very soon."

"Skyfire has historically generated high demand for its browser products but nothing like this," said Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck in a prepared statement. "It was hard to predict consumer demand since this was our first paid app, but we were blown away by the demand and sales."

Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) does not support content encoded in Adobe's Flash for its iOS devices, namely the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Adobe (ADBE) says nearly 75% of online video is encoded in Flash, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said that Flash performs poorly on mobile devices and sucks up battery life.

To get around Apple's restriction, Skyfire came up with an innovative solution: When users click on a page that contains Flash video, Skyfire's servers download, render and translate the video into a video standard that Apple's iOS devices support. Skyfire then displays a thumbnail that users can click on to stream the video from its servers.

The app became the top grossing application in Apple's App Store Wednesday and the third most-downloaded paid app. The company also makes a similar browser for Android devices, which have been downloaded about 1.5 million times since it launched on the Android Marketplace in late April.

Skyfire urged its customers to check its Twitter feed @Skyfire to get updates on when the next round of downloads would be available. As of Thursday morning, there was no update yet from the company.

The story of Skyfire's overwhelmed servers is similar to that of Flipboard, a highly anticipated, glowingly reviewed, social media aggregating iPad application that crashed the company's servers just hours into its debut on the App Store. Flipboard created a waiting list, and it took the company more than a month to get everyone access to the app. To top of page

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