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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 omnicronx on 4/29/2010 2:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
And no one actually knows if its encumbered or not since no one has cared about it till now. If it came into widespread use, expect the patents to start coming out of the woodwork.
You are making out as though its a massive unknown, its most likely unencumbered as claimed by Foundation (who released it under a public BSD license).

Furthermore if you realize how patent law works, you can't just sit on a patent without actively trying to defend it. Ogg Theora is used by a lot of people, and considering its been available for years, that idle time has likely passed even if someone does have patents that cover the technology.

i.e nobody has been actively asking for licensing fees or settlements. The case on the subject would be thrown out pretty quickly.
In addition, its a substandard codec that doesn't have the features needed to compete with H.264 in quality/bandwidth.
A substandard codec? Have you ever done the comparison? Especially at lower bitrates (which it will be for the foreseeable future) the average person is not going to be able to tell the difference. Furthermore think about how much better h264 has got in the last few years, Ogg coudl greatly improve if the same weight was thrown behind it..

I also might add that these licensing fees also apply to content providers... How will the little guys compete? H264 as a standard is not a good thing in the long run, its going to cause fragmentation among browsers and will all around benefit the big players. (whether it be browser makers or content providers)

By ats on 4/29/2010 5:26:17 PM , Rating: 2
You are making out as though its a massive unknown, its most likely unencumbered as claimed by Foundation (who released it under a public BSD license).

It IS a massive unknown. VC-1 was believed to be unencumbered as well. Not so much.

And actually, unlike copyrights, you CAN sit on a patent. It happens ALL THE TIME. And Ogg Theora is used by basically no one. Hell, more people probably still use Indeo than Theora.

The fundamental Theora codecs are effectively as good as they are going to get without a new standard. And yes, I've seen the quality comparisons and Theora does a horrible job, esp with non postage stamp content which is where the market is heading. A large part of the reason why 264 has improved is because more and more of its feature set has been used as well as learning how to use its feature set. And for as "great" as 264 has gotten, the best codec available is the opensource x264 so Theora has no argument.

H264, is THE standard. Fantasies of theora are just that, fantasies.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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