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Jobs to Adobe: ‘Yer Stinkin’ Flash is Over-the-Hill. Get Over It.’

Steve – or his ghost writer – says Adobe mischaracterizes the Apple ban

iPhone on Ulitzer

As a diversion from its high-profile “who-knows-where-it-will-end” dogfight with Gizmodo over an errant iPhone prototype, Apple has posted a longish open letter on its web site over the signature of its CEO Steve Jobs reiterating all the reasons why Apple has no use for Adobe’s Flash technology.

Steve – or his ghost writer – says Adobe mischaracterizes the Apple ban when it says it’s business-driven and only meant to protect the Apple App Store. He claims it’s technology-driven.

“Flash,” he says, “was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low-power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Flash, he ticks off, is closed and 100% proprietary; highly insecure; crashes Macs; can’t work on mobile devices; doesn’t support touch screens; drains the battery; but most important of all would insert a non-optimized cross-platform layer in the stack that would put Apple “at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.”

“We cannot accept an outcome,” he writes, “where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.”

“This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross-platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features.”

“Flash is a cross-platform development tool. It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross-platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third-party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.”

Instead Apple prefers HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – “all open standards” – and as a result Jobs advises Adobe that “Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content” – or for that matter to play games as Adobe contends.

“Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access ‘the full web’ because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads. YouTube, with an estimated 40% of the web’s video, shines in an app bundled on all Apple mobile devices, with the iPad offering perhaps the best YouTube discovery and viewing experience ever.”

“Perhaps,” he says in conclusion, “Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”

Read it for yourself at http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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