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Apple CEO Jobs has promised to rid the world of porn and Adobe Flash by trying to deny his customers access to those things.  (Source: AP)
Apple is denying customers freedom on on the internet, says Adobe's technology chief

ArsTechnica caused quite the stir when it reviewed the 11.6-inch MacBook Air.  The site proclaimed the notebook "the future of laptops" despite widely-publicized quality problems.  It also echoed Apple's perpetual criticism of Flash, writing, "Having Flash installed can cut battery runtime considerably—as much as 33 percent in our testing."

Overjoyed Apple-centric sites quickly spread the news -- taking the test as long-awaited proof that Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs was right all along -- that Adobe's multimedia Flash technology was an evil power-sucker, after all.

On Monday Fast Company aired an interview with Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch about the supposed study.  In the interview Mr. Lynch blasts the claims.  He states, "It's a false argument to make, of the power usage.  When you're displaying content, any technology will use more power to display, versus not displaying content. If you used HTML5, for example, to display advertisements, that would use as much or more processing power than what Flash uses."

Mr. Lynch is clearly correct here.  ArsTechnica's review may have been technically correct, but perhaps didn't put things in the proper context.  Its conclusions are akin to writing "Every time I run Crysis, my Asustek laptop's battery life drops 50 percent!  You might want to uninstall Crysis ASAP!"

Further, there are a wealth of Flash blocking extensions for browsers like Firefox that allow users to pick what Flash content to display, while still retaining Flash support (obviously the most desirable situation)

It is true, a lot of Flash content -- ads and such -- isn't deemed as particularly desirable in the eyes of the users.  But there is plenty of desirable Flash content out there, such as Flash-driven games.  And at the end of the day, without dedicated browser extensions, there will be ads -- either in Flash or in HTML5.  And those ads will sap battery life as they are animated.  But at the end of the day, without those ads, most of our beloved web content, from news to social networks would not be financially viable.

The Adobe executive also points out that Apple's anti-Flash crusade is hurting developers as much as Adobe.  He states, "I just think there's this negative campaigning going on, and, for whatever reason, Apple is really choosing to incite it, and condone it.  I think that's unfortunate. We don't think it's good for the web to have aspects closed off--a blockade of certain types of expression. There's a decade of content out there that you just can't view on Apple's device, and I think that's not only hurtful to Adobe, but hurtful to everyone that created that content."

He adds, "That's what upsets me the most.  That people put energy into making this stuff, and now some percentage of viewers can't see it anymore because one company chooses so. That's just totally counter to our values."

According to Mr. Lynch several studies have shown HTML5 to actually be less battery friendly than Flash.  And playback reliability issues with HTML5 have also been raised.

Interestingly, Adobe is actually investing in producing its own HTML5-specific technology.  States Mr. Lynch, "[HTML5 is] good news for Adobe.  We support HTML. We're making tools for HTML5. It's a great opportunity for us. Flash and HTML have co-existed, and they're going to continue to to co-exist."

Currently Flash is banned from Apple's iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.  It is also no longer pre-installed on Apple's Mac computers.  Fortunately for customers, it does come pre-installed on most PCs and Android smart phones, both of which greatly outsell their fruity competitors in the U.S.  Thus most customers have access to free choice in web technologies, much to Apple CEO Jobs' chagrin.




"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs







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