AppForge closes doors, locks out developers
On the heels of SavaJe's untimely demise, another small mobile company catering to developers has gone belly up. AppForge, best known for the Crossfire cross-platform mobile development framework, closed its doors on March 13. The company owes a reported $1.8 million in loans and its assets were assigned to a financial consulting firm specializing in insolvency. AppForge reportedly employed 50 people at the time of its demise.
It's a shame; I've tried the Crossfire Visual Studio plug-in before and it was a neat piece of software. It allowed developers to create applications that could be cross-compiled to BlackBerry, Palm, Symbian and Windows with the click of a button.
Now for the bad news
Developers who based their work on Crossfire aren't just out of luck for new versions and product support; Crossfire licensing typically works by validating a serial number against AppForge's server before installation on any new device. Since AppForge went dark, end users have been unable to provision new devices with software that they thought they owned.
Larger clients (AppForge's customer list once included the Ford Motor Company and Sherman-Williams) likely have ISV licenses that don't require individual authentication, but they too will be stuck once the year-long ISV license runs out.
Oracle steps in
On April 18, Oracle confirmed its acquisition of some of AppForge's assets, providing some glimmer of hope for developers. But the database giant only took what it wanted. According to the announcement, "Oracle does not plan to sell or provide support for former AppForge products going forward."
Resources for developers
- The comments on this blog entry were an early meeting place for former AppForge customers.
- This user-run forum has developers discussing on activation work-arounds and AppForge alternatives.
- Some AppForge competitors are making special offers to former customers. See: CASL and SatelliteForms.
- The acquisition is also being discussed in Oracle's forums. Oracle also has a contact address listed in its acquisition announcement.
- The AppForge Wikipedia page is being updated with new information as it comes in.
If you have any inside information into what happened at Appforge (on the record or off), I would like to hear it. -Eli