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Apple’s Decision On Cutting Off Adobe Flash

Apple has been known to abandon Adobe Flash on its iPhone, iPod and iPad since iPad was shown to the world early this year.

On the first glimpse I thought Apple made a stupid decision – I simply couldn’t imagine a computer without Flash. And moreover, why boycotting Flash? I couldn’t understand.

This morning I read in Google News the latest battle between Apple and Adobe. Tracing the reference I read Steve Job’s article explaining why Apple is against Flash. And I thought the statement, though covering the underlying business issues, looks fairly reasonable. And Adobe is likely to lose this battle if failing to provide a powerful response.

Steve Jobs named 5 thoughts on Flash and Adobe:

  1. Adobe’s technologies are mostly proprietary while Apple always keeps using open standards in web application development.
  2. Adobe’s taken up to 70% of video on the web, likely to monopolize the market while Apple claims using another standard called H.264 can be an alternative.
  3. Adobe’s Flash contains lots of security problems.
  4. Video decoded and played by Flash consumes much more battery hence not suitable for mobile device.
  5. Acting as a third party, Adobe Flash is likely to hamper developer’s capability in developing applications and following new features.

Before I justify Steve’s opinions, I would like to share my experience. There was a time when I lived for more than 1 month with no latest Flash on my computer (it was a public one so I was not granted the permission to update any software). Notice that I did have Flash; it was just not updated. And what I encountered was nearly half the web pages not properly shown and about a quarter of the web pages would even prompt out some messages asking me to update Flash. Apart from acknowledging Flash’s importance, I was annoyed somehow. Why could not a browser be self-complete but need to rely on a third party to render the web page. This is obviously not right. It’s like after you pay for your new car, you still need to buy some components elsewhere in order to drive it.

I thought Steve’s 5 thoughts could be reduced to one: Adobe’s pursuing its business interest so that it would not allow Flash to be open standardized and because of this lots of problems including security issues and battery consumption could not be resolved. As to why Apple became the first one to piss this out, I thought it was an eruption of historical business interest collisions (like the volcano).


About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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