Apple ban could hit online retailers using Flash

The feud that began when IT giant Apple refused to allow software developer Adobe's Flash onto its products looks set to hit some e-commerce sites in the wallet,

Online retailers are complaining that their Flash-based sites are losing out as iPad and iPhone users go elsewhere.

Many high-profile brands risk losing out because their online shops don't work properly on Apple devices, particularly the iPad, according to a report in today's Wall Street Journal - leading to speculation that it could hurt sales in the run-up to Christmas.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs sparked a bitter war of words earlier this year when he lashed out at Adobe's software, claiming it was "buggy", and prompting an angry rejoinder in the form of an open letter from Adobe's veteran founders, Chuck Geschke and John Warnockback.

Back in April, Apple rewrote the terms of its software developer agreement for the iOS 4 platform, banning developers from incorporating Adobe's Flash technology into their applications. Apple also refuses to support Flash in its mobile browser software - causing many web sites to perform poorly when viewed using Apple devices.

Apple hopes to replace Flash with new web format, HTML 5.

Online retailers look to the period running up to Christmas for a large proportion of their annual takings - leading to fears that, because of iPad users, some sellers could see a dip in expected sales.