The Apple-Adobe war turning fierce, two weeks ago, a ITWorld writer cited unnamed sources to claim that Adobe has plans in place to sue Apple. Apple CEO Steve Jobs Responds Adobe now, Jobs has published an essay titled “Thoughts on Flash” on the company’s website, lashing out against Adobe and its “100% proprietary” products.
Jobs wrote six points to explain exactly why he refuses to implement Flash on the iPad and iPhone, and shed some light on the widening gulf between the two once-friendly companies:
First, there’s “Open”
Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system…
Second, there’s the “full web”
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. Add to this video from Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, People, National Geographic, and many, many others. iPhone, iPod and iPad users aren’t missing much video…
Third, there’s reliability, security and performance
Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009. We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash. We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash…
Fourth, there’s battery life
To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power. Many of the chips used in modern mobile devices contain a decoder called H.264 – an industry standard that is used in every Blu-ray DVD player and has been adopted by Apple, Google (YouTube), Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies…
Fifth, there’s Touch
Sixth, the most important reason
Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices…
Jobs made the conclusion at last:
Flash 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.
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.
Perhaps, with the first and sixth points, you will say that If replace Adobe + Flash with Apple + iPhone, this statement is still true. Or these points undoubtedly irk Flash supporters. But as a company, their products can not dependent on third party development libraries and tools. Even you, would you allow someone else to control your future. No one would allow that to happen so it is true.
Steve does not want developers to use Flash /Adobe as their primary development environment, Apple wants you to use their tools to code on their platforms.
In addition, one point is quickly becoming truer by the day: there’s an "avalanche of media outlets" offering content without Flash, largely due to the iPad. Hulu iPad app around the corner and YouTube, Netflix, and many news sites already adopting iPhone-friendly video formats.
Jobs doesn’t mention the fact that Apple only this month allowed Adobe to support hardware decoding for Flash under OS X 10.6 in his article.
In the other hand, HTML5 is more open, however, HTML5 video doesn’t necessarily guarantee better performance and battery life.
Hmm, if the war between Apple and Adobe continue, will a transcode technology to convert flash into html5 be developed in the future?