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Flash-playing iPhone App kills its own servers

For the first time ever, an iPhone App has 'sold out'.

Skyfire is a new web browser which cleverly sneaks Flash video onto Apple's iPhone by transcoding clips into a format that can be played by HTML5.

Despite much of the web's video content being powered by Adobe's proprietary Flash format, Steve Jobs has personally banned the platform from Apple's iDevices, calling it "buggy" and bloated, and the most common cause of kernel crashes on Apple devices.

A very public war of words between Apple and Adobe ensued but, despite some vicious handbaggery from both camps, the ban persisted.

Skyfire came up with a neat solution to the problem - but just five hours after the launch of the browser, became a victim of its own success.

The problem lies with the fact that Skyfire uses its own servers to transcode Flash video into a format acceptable to Apple's mobile gadgets. So many people rushed to get their hands on the $2.99 software that developer's servers were soon groaning under the strain.

"Skyfire for iPhone has been received with unbelievable enthusiasm. Despite our best attempts and predictions, the demand far exceeds our initial projections," says a statement on the company's web site. "The user experience was performing well for the first few hours, but as the surge continued, the peak load on our servers and bandwidth caused the video experience to degrade.

"Thus we are effectively ‘sold out’ and will temporarily not accept new purchases from the App Store. We are working really hard to increase capacity and will be accepting new purchases from the App Store as soon as we can support it."

Skyfire is now frantically upgrading its infrastructure in order to cope with the increased demand and will remove the 'sold out' sign as soon as possible.

The iPhone App is currenlty USA-only and it's not clear if the service will be available to the rest of the planet any time soon. An Android version has been available for few months now but in the words of our very own Gareth Halfacree, "It's a neat idea but, sadly, doesn't work worth a damn."