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Steve Jobs has had enough of Adobe Flash and wants the world to move on and embrace HTML5

It's no secret that Steve Jobs is no fan of Adobe Flash -- Jobs basically kneecapped Flash development tools with iPhone OS 4.0. In addition, Jobs has long said that Flash on Mac computers is slow, buggy, and an incredible resource hog.

We all thought that the relationship between Apple and Adobe was beginning to thaw a bit when Apple announced that it would make hardware acceleration APIs available to developers like Adobe. That lead the way for yesterday's announcement of Flash Player 10.1 "Gala" for OS X which provides hardware acceleration of H.264 video content on Macs with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M, or GeForce GT 330M GPUs.

But that isn't quite the end of the story. In fact, Steve Jobs has even more to say about Adobe Flash in the form of an open letter entitled "Thoughts on Flash". Jobs' long-winded rant goes on about the fact that Adobe Flash is proprietary; HTML5 is a better, open solution; the fact that Flash is a security risk to Mac computers; and that Adobe Flash simply eats away battery life on notebook computers (among other things).

Here's a blurb on Adobe Flash being proprietary:

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.

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. Apple’s mobile devices all ship with high performance, low power implementations of these open standards.

And here's another section with regards to Adobe Flash and its interaction with touch-based devices:

Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot. Apple’s revolutionary 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. If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?

Jobs concludes, saying, "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice… 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)," Jobs adds. "Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."

The fight between Adobe and Apple is definitely not over and we'll just have to sit back and wait to see what Adobe's response to Jobs will be.

For those that want to read the full letter, head on over to Apple's website.

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By jnemesh on 4/29/2010 11:30:22 AM , Rating: 4
While Steve Jobs is indeed promoting an "open" standard in HTML 5, what is often lost in the argument is the fact that he is a STOCK HOLDER in MPEG-LA. MPEG-LA owns the patents for h.264. While h.264 is "free" right now, MPEG-LA is a business, and they intend to make money from h.264. At some point in the future (2014 or 2016, I have heard) they will begin to charge for its use. If Apple can make h.264 a de-facto standard by then, he will stand to make millions from its adoption! Doesn't anyone else see the conflict of interest here?

Apple and Jobs have been trying to control web standards for YEARS. They lost the desktop war, but its a new ballgame now with mobile devices, and they are playing to win, make no mistake!

The other issue is the obscene amounts of money Apple is making in their PROPRIETARY App Store. A huge portion of the apps in the store would NEVER sell if Apple used Flash...the majority of these apps are already available FOR FREE on the web, using Adobe Flash. Apple WHINES about how web sites would have to be re-programmed to accomidate mobile touch screens as an interface instead of using a mouse, but really, its all about forcing people to pay for useless apps, instead of allowing them the ability to use whatever content they want from the web.

Keep digging your own grave, Steve...between the Flash issue and the bad press from going after Gizmodo for your missing iPhone, more and more people are seeing you for the egotistical bastard you really are!

By ats on 4/29/2010 1:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
Are people so dense and uninformed that they don't realize that .264 is already a done deal, independent of HTML5? What do people think is streaming via flash now for video from most sites? H.264 is ALREADY the standard. Its is used by everything from TVs to Web to movies.

By jnemesh on 4/29/2010 1:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
VC-1 was a "done deal" and included in the spec for Blu-Ray. Now, most encoding is done on h.264. What I am saying is that right now, its the "best" option for many people. That WILL change once companies start to realize the poison pill they are swallowing. Google recently announced that the On2 codecs they purchased will be available as an open codec. Ogg Theora is another alternative, although not as attractive because of its performance in comparison to h.264.

The point I was making is that Steve Jobs has a direct financial interest in seeing HTML5 adoption increase with h.264 as its main video codec. Apple is leveraging its HUGE market to push standards that will make Mr. Jobs money, and most people dont even realize the implications of what he is doing.

By omnicronx on 4/29/2010 2:59:44 PM , Rating: 2
You can't really consider it a standard if its within the flash container..

I think you are also missing the point. Right now Adobe has a license for h264, and as long as the player usage is for non commercial use.. (on the player end.. i.e youtube is non commericial), the user or content creator would not have to pay these fees..

They are losing out on some major revenue here, once again there is motive behind Apple pushing H264.. and its not because 'it crashes your browser'.. Not that I'm saying its untrue, but you would be naive to think that Jobs truly has the consumer in mind here..

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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