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Monday, May 24, 2010

Steve Jobs responds regarding Flash

"We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash." [...] "Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind." — Steve Jobs

Finally, someone from Apple responded to war on Flash in an official statement — Mr. Steve Jobs himself! That letter can be found at

In the letter, Steve Jobs points out six main points why Flash is the enemy that has infested the Internet, and must be weeded out and slaughtered before it kills us all. Here I list the "abbreviated" version of his letter without any personal opinions or replies; I'm saving those for later.

First, there’s “Open” Adobe's products are 100% closed and proprietary. Adobe updates when THEY want to, and sets whatever prices they like. Although Apple has closed products, standards like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript are entirely open and available to all, and therefore all work with Apple's products.

Second, there’s the “full web”. Almost all popular video on the Internet can be viewed in a newer, more modern format, H.264. Even though users cannot play flash games, there are over 50,000 applications in the App Store, and many of them are free.

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 don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash. In addition, Flash has not performed well on mobile devices.

Fourth, there’s battery life. Most Flash video is saved in formats which need to be decoded first; this takes up valuable battery life. On an iPhone, H.264 video can play for 10 hours until the battery dies, while most other formats only last the battery 5 hours.

Fifth, there’s Touch. Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. Apple’s multi-touch interface doesn’t use a mouse, and there is no concept of a rollover. Most Flash websites will need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices.

Sixth, the most important reason. Apple doesn't want any third party standing in between the developer and Apple. If Apple releases new updates, the users have to wait until the third party has updated their software to match, and are at the mercy of the third party. Although Flash is intended to be "cross-platform", Apple is very much against this thinking. Apple wants all their apps MADE FOR the iPhone or iPad, optimized with all the features available to "iProduct" developers, not available to iProducts as a "side feature".

Some of Steve Jobs arguments are a little shaky, and a lot of the time, he is pointing out a flaw in Adobe, while four fingers are pointing right back at Apple. But I'll post counter arguments and opinions on the matter another time.

This article is part 2 of 3 in the series "The Apple vs. Flash Wars"
  1. "Go screw yourself Apple" — Lee Brimelow
  2. Steve Jobs responds regarding Flash
  3. Thoughts on the Steve Jobs reply [in progress]

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