Chewing on Apple: Has Jobs killed Flash?
My perception of Apple is that of the good guy with Microsoft being the bad guy – PCs get viruses Macs don’t. The Apple brand always maintains an air of Californian free spirit, born out of Sixties hippie culture, whose principles are clearly evident in their products and user-friendly operating systems. But with Apple’s continued blockade against Adobe Flash are their true colours appearing?
The Apple v Adobe war rages on with the balance seemingly shifting towards Steve Jobs. Having posted his ‘Thoughts on Flash’ article has Jobs put the first nail in the Flash coffin?
The feud started when Apple refused Adobe Flash onto its iPods, iPhones and now iPads, Jobs blaming Flash for being the ‘number one reason Macs crash’. Another reason mentioned is the fact the software is not open-source calling it 100% proprietary and a ‘closed system’. Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen countered Apple’s arguments by saying it had ‘nothing to do with technology and that Macs crashing was all down to Apple’s operating system.
So whilst a lot of Apple’s reasons for not supporting Flash are widely accepted by web developers ultimately there are drawbacks: Video content (BBC, for example) and Flash driven websites cannot be viewed on iPhones/iPads.
You would think that this limits Apple considerably, thus a flaw in its business model, but there seems to be a masterplan here. Apple is basically taking a bold step in pushing web developers to switch to other video playing technology like the open-source technology H.264 which it supports. This switch is now very likely given Apple’s ever growing popularity and more and more companies wanting an iPhone presence. Apple’s gamble is that truly open-source phones like the Vodaphone HTC Desire, which run Flash, could increase its market share.
Jobs’ criticisms of Flash strikes of double standards: If Flash is 100% propriety then why does Apple restrict the sale of iPhone/iPad apps to its App store and also take a cut of the developer’s app revenue. Also, Apple places a lot of restrictions on iPhone/iPad app development – so not truly open-source there. Once we have bought our iPhone we buy the apps and we are tied in and you cannot transfer apps to other phone devices – More restriction. A great article that puts the counter argument defending Flash, by Darien Graham-Smith, ‘Six reasons why Steve Jobs is wrong on Flash’ is well worth a read.
Whilst I am big fan of Apple my image of them is changing; the larger Apple gets the more they seem to act like a big corporation flexing their muscle stamping out anything that gets in their way. Maybe Microsoft was never that bad after all!