03 May

While everything with an “i” in front of it is selling like hotcakes, a near-universal point of contention with Apple consumers is the lack of support the devices have for Adobe’s flash player. A popular method of embedding for many websites and their videos, the inability for Apple devices to read the player limits many costumer’s net-browsing. The issue has never been discussed by Apple, until CEO Steve Jobs recently spoke on the issue in a statement released on the official Apple website.

“I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true,” the statement read, “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.”

Jobs continued, “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. Another Adobe claim is that Apple devices cannot play Flash games. This is true. Fortunately, there are over 50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free. There are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world.”

The most important reason for the lack of Apple Flash support, according to Jobs, “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. We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers. 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. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms. [The] mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short. The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games. 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.”

Do you agree with Jobs, E-Gs? Seems like he has a lot to say on the matter, give us (and him) your response below!

9 thoughts on “Steve Jobs Explains Apple’s Lack of Flash Support”

  1. Lame.

    In fact, if we put a cover on Elder-Geek saying how lame this was, he’d never see it because Elder-Geek uses FLASH on the front page.

    Oh… and so do about 10,000 other websites.

  2. I fucking hate THIS. The day Jobs made this blog post my roomate ran out and bought the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. I am incredibly tempted to do the same thing, there is now no doubt anymore, Android OS is way better than the iPhone OS.

    Sure you don’t get as many great games, but atleast the core function of a smartphone acutally works properly.

    1. A couple of my co-workers have Droids and they love it. Their talk is making me kinda want to switch over to Verison just so I can get my hands on one.

      1. Man you guys really have to get rid of that service provider system. Over here all service providers (we have like a thousand) use all mobile brands. When you buy a phone you can pick payment deals from all the different service providers, or you can get it at a reduced price if you keep your old service provider: no matter which freaking phone you buy

        1. Yeah it sucks, Capitalism, that is the problem. I just want something that is freaking awesome, and don’t have to pay a fortune just to use the thing. The Droid seriously reminds me of the short story Manekineko.

  3. Well I knew there was something shady going on. Hey, Jobs, you say that Flash is closed, why don’t you say the same thing about your system because you don’t allow third party support, ironic much. You will never see my money cause your system is closed more than Flash will ever be, and you charge too much for your products and stuff. I will just wait for the HP Slate to have a TRUE Tablet PC that runs an actual PC operating system and CAN run Flash. That and I will just go and buy a superior MP3 player that has Awesome sound quality and not all these gimmicky things.

    1. Well, on the mp3 player front… Apple still has the market cornered. The IPod(not the stupid touch variety… but just the plain old ipod) is a beautiful piece of work. It works well, its quick, the menus are intuitive, and its easy to use.

      But aside from IPod Nanos, I don’t see any reason to use any piece of apple technology. Apple’s electronic tampon least of all.

      1. True they have it cornered, but that is just one reason why I don’t like it. Yes it is a technical marvel, and intuitive menus, but when it comes down to music quality, they fail the test, that is what I am looking for most, good music quality. This is why I still am using my 30gb Zen Vision: M by Creative, even though the battery life is slowly fading away.

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