29 Apr 2010 11 am eastern

Steve Jobs and Me on Flash

Assume I retweeted Steve Jobs’s thoughts on Flash.

Note Steve’s concluding paragraph:

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.

Sounds familiar.

Except Steve Jobs’s subtext isn’t “web standards, web standards, web standards, told you so.”

Except it kind of is.


Filed under: Adobe, Apple, Design, ipad, iphone, mobile, Web Design, Web Design History, Web Standards

63 Responses to “Steve Jobs and Me on Flash”

  1. Robert Fauver said on

    It was a feel good kinda read from Steve.

  2. bob asbille said on

    apple: buy adobe [ they're cheap now ]

    jobs: release flash into the open source community, set it free!

    perfect!

  3. Greg said on

    He certainly pushes H.264. Which isn’t an open standard. How can you spout off, championing open standards, using H.264 as your example?

    Currently, H.264 is LICENSED for “free” usage for web video until 2015 if Wikipedia is to be believed (in this case, I think it is). That doesn’t make it an open web standard.

    A tangential point (tangential because the topic is web technologies, not video technologies) is that hardware acceleration isn’t automatic just because your chip has it onboard. Anyone who has watched a stuttering h.264 video that wasn’t off their Blu-Ray can tell you this. For Jobs’ devices to use hardware acceleration for offline video viewing, or in Apps (instead of web), the codec license will be required.

    Furthermore, Flash can use hardware acceleration. So Jobs told an outright lie.

    I’m TOTALLY about getting away from Flash. That’s not my point (though I do think Flash games are significant while Jobs quickly brushes them off with a misleading statistic). I don’t need Flash, I don’t use Flash, I think Flash is unwieldly and all that stuff.

    But I don’t think Jobs needs to tell outright lies and be disingenous about embracing web technologies. He just needs to tell it like it is: “We don’t like Flash. Nobody really does. So we decided to not include it. This isn’t up for debate, plebes.”

  4. Jon Williams said on

    I’d feel a lot better about Steve’s little manifesto if he did a more thorough job (ha ha) distinguishing between Flash-as-Safari-plugin and Flash-as-cross-compiled-app-language.

    I mean, c’mon. Just for example, it’s not like the Objective-C API is an open standard.

    Not that I think he’s mixing them up on purpose. He’s the sales guy afterall, not the tech guy. Wonder what the Woz thinks about all this.

  5. ville said on

    It’s a bit rich of Apple to pretend they care about open standards.

  6. duran said on

    I’m 100% in agreement that Flash either needs to either die, or grow up… I think that Adobe needs to realize they’re in a loosing situation, and instead of whining, actually develop products that help produce HTML5 content, instead of just more flash…

    I think that its a good thing that “web standards” are being advanced.

    But lets not forget that this is really just a revenue model / business model for Apple.

    Flash means Flex, and with Flex, you can make some pretty powerful applications that appear in your browser. As long as apple has the strangle hold on what makes it in to the App Store, and prevents you from installing flash on your ipad/iphone, then they get revenue for every application that you install/use.

    I think that HTML5 can make us powerful interfaces, but I think there will always be a case when a nativly running application will be more effective/useful/friendly to use then any scripted interface over a browser.

    If Flash worked on the iphone/ipad, then its possible to make the applications you want to use, with out them having to go through the App Store, and that means that any potential revenue, be it from Advertising or from product sales, can’t make it in to Apple’s coffers.

    Yes, I’m in support of web standards.
    But its important to remember the other side of the coin, literally, is that apple makes $$$$BANK$$$$ on the application sales, and they will fight tooth&nail to keep it that way.

  7. Renaud said on

    @Greg: Steve Jobs doesn’t call h.264 an “Open Standard.” He calls h.264 an “industry standard” and “a more modern format.”

  8. Brandon said on

    What a joke. If you actually believe Steve when he says it’s not a “business decision” you’re a fool. You can’t tout open standards blah blah blah and then in the same breath say how great the H.264 codec is. It’s a move to control media and nothing less. I also like how he still takes zero responsibility for Flash’s poor performance on Macs. His sixth and last point is also completely absurd. What Apple doesn’t want is to be beholden to developers in any way, shape or form. They want developers beholden to them. I’m sure that doesn’t matter to many of you since this is a site regarding mostly web standards and not actually developing applications. Ugh, there are so many out right lies in his statement it’s infuriating. Then having Zeldman bounce up on the coat tails and basically say “hey all that is correct and I said it before!” is even more insulting.

  9. JB said on

    Let’s not delude ourselves by thinking that Steve actually cares about web standards.

  10. John Barker said on

    First, what a pleasant surprise to see an open letter from Steve in regards to this ongoing debacle – I appreciate how concise and to-the-point it was.

    What I don’t understand is the public outcry about Apple’s primary reason being business-related as Flash is in direct competition with their App store. Personally, I find that as a line of “bs” and just an outlet for many to somehow chastise Apple.

    What revenue is Apple making from the thousands of _free_ games available in their own App store – or the thousands of games and applications that will soon make their way to your browser via HTML5 (anyone see that Quake demo)?

    Apple has always had user experience at the forefront of their product development and any Mac user or owner know’s that Flash on Mac leaves much to be desired. I can’t speak for what kind of experience Flash will deliver on a mobile device, but if it’s anything remotely close to what’s been delivered via Flash lite on previous models I believe most will be in for a world of disappointment.

    Just my $0.02.

  11. Troy Gilbert said on

    I agree with Jobs’ thinking behind Flash on the iPhoneOS. I agree that the Flash Player’s performance on the desktop is lackluster (particularly on the Mac). I agree that Adobe has been dragging their feet with the Creative Suite apps on the Mac.

    But…

    He plays loose and fast with HTML, open standards, Flash and apps. He’s playing HTML folks against Flash folks, but Flash folks are (largely) fine with losing the web plugin if they gained access to native apps. Native apps are not “the open web,” so how does that argument work against Flash? I’m just disappointed that he resorted to those points when he has a strong position without them.

    For developing pure web-based content, i.e. HTML+CSS+JS, WebKit is an ideal runtime, and the iPhone and iPad are great devices. For developing native apps, Objective-C/C/C++ are incredibly good options, but it is narrow-minded to declare them the *only* options.

  12. John Rainsford said on

    I think it would be fair to say that what Jobs says in his ‘open’ letter was well ‘researched’ and thoroughly thought through-I don’t think it was a hastily-written comment knocking Adobe. At this level, I couldn’t see him lying about what Flash is capable or not capable of, just for kicks (at Adobe)

  13. Michael Zajac said on

    Jobs implies that PC’s will follow mobile platforms from now on. Remember minicomputers? Will our kids remember PCs?

    And anyone notice how Opera got dissed where Microsoft was mentioned? Ouch.

  14. Lucas Mourelle said on

    Of course Steve is no web standards hero. Of course there’s $$$ interest on behalf of Apple. However, Apple’s decision benefits the web, the users, the so called “open web”, and the evolution and widespread of web standards. Their decision does all that and they know it.

    It doesn’t matter why they do it. They’re with web standards on this one, and that is good news.

    I’m a web developer and also a Flash developer, I really like what Adobe’s done to the Flash Platform, but I’m with Apple on this one.

  15. Tiago Dias said on

    I think the open letter written by Steve Jobs, it´s an war declaration against Adobe. But, I can´t stay more in agreement what that letter says. I know that Steve Jobs perspective it´s merely commercial, but that point of view, help the Web Standards entry, more and more deeper in our life’s.

    I think that all that depends on browser plug-ins never have really potential.

    I just have one last thing to say, if we always have a more standard way to do things, go that way, because we just have to gain.

  16. jcunwired said on

    Its hilarious reading a rant on open standards from the most closed ecosystem in the tech industry. He can rightly criticize Adobe all he likes, but hiding behind his little facade and expecting the industry to buy into it is a stretch.

    Proponents can espouse “user experience” all they like, but it proves my point. Are open standards used inside a walled garden justification for the walls, a possibility that the walls may someday be torn down, or just lipstick on a pig?

  17. Yevgyeni said on

    I’m in e-learning, and let me tell you, there is no elearning without Flash. It is the industry standard. I’ve been upset that Jobs has been so flippant about saying Flash is dead and no one needs and and go out and develop for the new order with HTML5. But, there are no good HTML5 development tools! So how do we, as elearning developers, take on this challenge, exactly? I’m glad he’s pushing Adobe to make better tools, because ultimately, Adobe is in the content development tool business, and needs to make usable tools for new platforms, but Apple could step in and offer something which would both fill the gap and push their agenda.

  18. Tulse said on

    Those complaining about Apple hypocrisy on web standards are no doubt aware that WebKit, the open source web browser engine that is the basis for almost all browsers apart from IE, and is perhaps the most standards-compliant engine available, is largely developed by Apple.

  19. John Arthur said on

    Are open standards used inside a walled garden justification for the walls, …

    The open standards you mention aren’t inside a walled garden, they’re next to it. There is a walled garden (native apps), and there is an open system (the Internet). The open standards are actually accessed via an open-source product (with a branded wrapper).

    They’re different. They’re separate. Neither one is more right/wrong than the other. Apples and oranges (no pun intended). Maybe they compete with each other to an extent, but one isn’t trying to gain control of the other.

    WebKit has always been very key in advancing Web Standards, and Apple has played a large part of that. In other words, Apple is keen on open standards. We can’t ignore this fact, so please don’t.

    That doesn’t say Apple is keen on having all systems open. And that is fine. That’s their decision, and I think it makes sense. The important part is that they are supportive of the open standards, and they aren’t trying to take them over. Apple is happy to help the Web run without running it.

    The browser wars, ActiveX, et. al, was about domination, controlling the future of one medium. But until Apple removes the HTML/CSS/JS aspect completely, this is about distinguishing between two mediums occupying similar space.

    JA

  20. Niklas said on

    Its hilarious reading a rant on open standards from the most closed ecosystem in the tech industry.

    Are you confused by open standards versus open source?

    If you are thinking about open source, well then… It kind of depends on your definition of closed, doesn’t it? Have you seen http://opensource.apple.com/?

    Also, did you read the whole piece or did you choose only a certain part out of context because Steve very much acknowledged that much of Apple’s software is proprietary.

    Regarding open standards, which Open Standards would you specifically have Apple implement? OOXML? Remember that OGG is not an open standard, it is an open (and free) format though.

    Proponents can espouse “user experience” all they like, but it proves my point.

    Care to enlighten us what your point is?

  21. MySchizoBuddy said on

    @Greg, Steve said that cause most sites don’t use H.264 inside flash. They won’t be hardware accelerated. Which is 100% correct. VP6 is the most used codec for Flash video and their is no support for VP6 in the chips.

    He never said that Flash cannot do hardware acceleration. Your jumping to conclusions without carefully reading the press release.

  22. Nick Whitmoyer said on

    Couldn’t agree anymore with Steve Jobs on this. In addition to everything that he’s stated, we’ve seen the adaption of HTML 5 and CSS 3 grow substantially among online publishers by avoiding Flash. I’d consider this a huge win for helping web standards continue to progress!

  23. Matt L said on

    Steve argues for open standards, but then quickly forgets to mention that his biggest argument against Flash (H.264) is based on a CLOSED STANDARD.

    H.264 video is patented and licensed by a privately held company (MPEG LA) and it’s usage by software developers is licensed for a fee. Usage of H.264 is free to end-users but those terms expire in 5 years.

  24. Matt L said on

    Adobe released the Flash player code base as open-source under the Mozilla Foundation’s supervision in 2006.

    The specs for OSMF (Flash media plater creation framework), FLV (flash video), SWF (the file format), AMF (the binary format for exchanging data) and RTMP (the protocol for audio, video / data transmission) are all open and published to the public.

    Full native support for Actionscript execution within Firefox (without the Flash plugin) is currently in progress by Mozilla as the open-source project Tamarin.

    Anyone can write an app that generates a SWF (and many have), or a replacement for the Flash Player itself if they wanted to, and anyone who wants to contribute to the future development of the Flash player can submit features and vote on them at https://bugs.adobe.com/. Flash was open-source long before HTML5 development even began.

    Apple has it wrong. Flash is not closed, and H.264 is not open.

  25. Zeit said on

    Most of the greatest pioneers in web design embraced Flash from day one and still do, for a reason. They went on to dream and create staggering examples of what the internet could look and feel like in the future. The future of the internet will not look like a newspaper column, nor will future users want this.
    Open standards to this day are still incapable of expressing the level of creativity and power that Flash offers today.

  26. Chris Kerins said on

    The most important thing to me was in his last line:

    “Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”

    I would love that DW CS5 have a full set of wsyiwig HTML5 tools. Or at least the old DHTML tool set they used to have.

    So if it isn’t Adobe, who will create the new tools? Apple? Some new guys? How about Panic?

    Side note: this is what you get when we let Macromedia and Adobe merge.

  27. Dennis said on

    H.264 might not be a free standard, but it is certainly a more open standard than Flash. Anyone who wants can download the H.264 spec, pay the patent license fees and implement an encoder or decoder. See how far you’ll get with Adobe if you wanted to do the same with a Flash player.

  28. Niklas said on

    @Matt L
    Interesting, and it looks good.

    But upon further inspection I found this: That is only related to the scripting part and does not include stuff such as bitmap rendering, vector rendering, video handling. Nor does it contain the different Flash file formats, client/player or server source code.

    It does not make Flash a standard and especially not an open standard.

  29. Matt L said on

    @Dennis

    See my above post about the Flash file formats and specs that were open sourced in 2006.

    You can implement a compiler (see http://www.codedrive.com/ or http://code.google.com/p/minibuilder/) or execute Actionscript (see the Mozilla Tamarin project) just as you state with H264, only you don’t have to play a fee to Adobe.

    http://www.webkitchen.be/2010/04/22/flash-is-as-open-as-html5/

  30. Niklas said on

    @Matt L
    The file format was not released, only the scripting engine. This is what Mozilla states:

    WHAT EXACTLY IS BEING RELEASED AS OPEN SOURCE?

    The Tamarin release will include the following components:

    • Source code from the ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM2) as currently shipping in Adobe Flash Player 9, including the Just In Time (JIT) runtime compiler and conservative garbage collector.
    • A partial implementation of a prototype compiler written in ActionScript, which will be developed by the open source community to implement all of the ECMAScript 4th edition specification. This will be a “self-hosted” compiler that is written in the language it compiles.

    Everything else is still proprietary, somewhat documented by reverse engineering, but still proprietary. And: Definitely not a standard.

  31. Greg said on

    @Renaud: this is sophistry. The letter is in praise of open standards and in praise of H.264. The implied message is that H.264 is an open standard.

    It may be true that if you read more granularly he’s not quite as dishonest in literal words as first appears. In the section I was referring to he does NOT use the term “industry standard”, but later he does. So you could splice the two disjointed passages together.

    But the rhetoric of the text is clear, and digging into differences between words like “industry standard” and “open standard” can’t change what his sweeping message is, which was “Yay, Open Standards, Boo Closed standards.” Which only Apple zealots refuse to see as being more than a little slippery.

  32. Michael Grafl said on

    I’m confused. I was just getting into ActionScript. Am I wasting my time?

  33. Matt L said on

    @Niklas

    It does not make Flash a standard and especially not an open standard.

    Flash is the #1 distributed piece of software in the world. All it’s specs are published and, free to build upon. What parameters does something have to meet in your opinion to be an open standard?

    That is only related to the scripting part and does not include stuff such as bitmap rendering, vector rendering, video handling. Nor does it contain the different Flash file formats, client/player or server source code.

    Those are all published and free to develop upon as many have done. You mention “server source code” but Flash is not a server-side technology. Also perhaps you didn’t read carefully. All the file formats specs are published as I listed above.

    See: http://www.openscreenproject.org/about/publications.html

  34. Edwin said on

    Yes, nothing more profound than a lecture on being open from Steve Jobs.

  35. Charles said on

    Can someone explain to me why mobile phones supporting Flash will offer the ENTIRE web?

    To date, Flash online apps have been developed for computer screens and laptops. They don’t fit on the screen on a mobile phone. Tablet PCs are fine, but mobile phones won’t be able to display Flash apps at a size that makes them usable (text too small, btns to small to click on, etc…). Zoom in and only a portion of the Flash file will be visible at a time. So much for user experience and usability.

    So, the iPhone won’t be the only device unable to offer the ENTIRE web. All phones fall in this category. Now, the fact that Adobe uses this as a selling point is understable. Afterall, they have stoop very low recently in their PR efforts. But, when I see Flash developers blindly accept this fact, I am worried!

    If you want to remain a developer follow the money trail as well as technology advancements.

  36. JulesLt said on

    H264 is an open standard – the specification is freely available, and anyone may implement it – provided that they pay any appropriate licensing fee.

    It’s the latter point that seems to cause confusion – that something can be Open while still being encumbered with patents and license fees. Ethernet doesn’t seem to bring out wailing and gnashing of teeth, nor does USB.

    Historically, we defined Open standards as opposed to closed (like MS Word) or proprietary (various Unix systems pre-POSIX).

    Adobe have actually done a good job in terms of opening up a lot of the standards underlying Flash (Adobe are getting shot at for a lot of Macromedia’s problems here) but Flash was very much closed for a long time (you could produce SWF files, but not write your own Flash player, and it’s still unclear to me exactly what you can/can’t do outside the Open Screen Project – and there are still non-Adobe owned proprietary components to the Flash player – i.e. historic video codec support – even if Adobe wanted to fully open source it, they can’t without losing backward compatibility – it’ss similar to Sun open sourcing Java – they had to purge it of anything they didn’t own first).

    It’s only recently that people have started to insist that Open standard means open in the Open Source sense.

  37. Angel Lamuno said on

    Most people do not seem to understand that Jobs is proposing both a proprietary platform fully controlled by Apple for ‘native’ apps and de facto open standards for the web.
    The distinction is not only very clear but makes perfect sense.

  38. Don Ulrich said on

    I don’t get it. All of this ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thing. Isn’t the answer that we need to look for relative to the application of the data? I mean if there are better ways to deliver the medium that should prove out via research, drama is not needed at all.

    Just get IE to comply quickly….But please do not issue a version edict to HTML (HTML5) without everybody being on the same page. Writing simpler markup is cool. Writing simpler markup and then writing fallback is pointless, and there’s the rub.

  39. Renaud said on

    I find it hilarious that all the Flash supporters are arguing over open standards, industry standards, closed gardens, etc when there is NOT one mobile device that implements Flash well as of now. Give me one mobile device where Flash is used that doesn’t suck?

    It’s almost a non-argument for Apple. Why would you allow a proprietary technology that doesn’t work on your mobile devices? Once Flash actually works on a smartphone without crashing constantly and draining a battery then a conversation should be made. Until then, there is no argument.

  40. Loneaggie said on

    I definitely think there was a time when Flash was a necessary evil in many ways. There just weren’t elegant ways to do many of the things it did without using it. That’s no longer the case. Is H264 the answer for video streaming? Maybe, maybe not, time will tell. Flash eventually got annoying; because may web designers forgot that just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean that you should. More moving items with audio, does not always equal a better user experience.

    I don’t think Apple is claiming to be an open source company. However, I think a great deal of their success is due to them keeping such tight reins on what comes on to their platform. Day-to-day my friends with iPhones are not the ones whining for Flash. Its all the techies and geeks worshipping android or whichever open source project is king. Looking back at over a year of iPhone ownership, I haven’t missed Flash at all. Its a sad day for me. I began my career as a Flash developer, but now there just seems to be better, cheaper, and more compatible options to do what I want.

  41. Graham White said on

    If developers continue to use Flash, then iphone/ipod users will not be able to access a considerable amount of online content, some of which they might actually want, and be will be constantly reminded of that when using the web.

    Jobs is just trying to tip development in a direction that will be better for his business. It is not about open standards.

  42. Niklas said on

    @Matt L
    First, remember what Steve is proposing: That content is delivered in standardized formats if possible. A standard is something that a standardization organization declares and controls, not something a single software vendor controls.

    First a quote from Mozilla that you were so kind as to link us:

    What exactly is being released as open source?

    The Tamarin release will include the following components:

    • Source code from the ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM2) as currently shipping in Adobe Flash Player 9, including the Just In Time (JIT) runtime compiler and conservative garbage collector.
    • A partial implementation of a prototype compiler written in ActionScript, which will be developed by the open source community to implement all of the ECMAScript 4th edition specification. This will be a “self-hosted” compiler that is written in the language it compiles.

    CodeDrive/ActiveSWF you linked to does not support ActionScript 3.0 that Adobe released 2006. This is because the format has to be reverse engineered.

    Do you realize that FLV is ISO/IEC 14496-12 you are linking to is also known as MPEG4? The very same container format the persons you are bashing are proposing… You should also read up on the reactions to the “proposed openness” of flash formats, for example:

    One reason for the lack of excitement over the project in the free software world is that it omits “huge amounts” of information needed for a complete implementation of Flash. In particular, Savoye points out that the announcement contains no mention of the Real Time Messaging Protocol(RTMP) that is required for the Flash media server. Nor does it mention the Sorenson Spark Codec that is used for video encoding in Flash 6 and 7, and remains the choice of some users still for Flash video because other formats convert easily to it. Both may be encumbered by patents but, without them, the information that Adobe has released is of limited use.

    This is also why I mentioned the server part since it is an integral part of using flash on the web: Online content needs a server to work. Source: http://www.openmedianow.org/?q=node/21

    Adobe still has total control over the file format and if the decide that their Creative Suite should go a different way there is nothing to stop them ans suddenly everything the “open” source community surrounding flash is blown away. What good is that? How is that open? Apple has no way of suddenly changing any part of MP4/HTML5/CSS2&3/JS and their likes – the formats are still going to be open because Apple does not own those.

    Minibuilder does not really aid your argument since they themselves claim to reverse engineer the flash file format at the link you provided. How is that open?

    I have to take issues with Serge Jespers that you are linking to because he is knowingly untruthful when writing to us, for example he states:

    Nobody knows what is going to happen after 2015.

    We know, and Serge definitely knows that this is not the case. This is because he knows that the license explicitly and in no uncertain terms states that they can at most raise the price of the license by 10% each time the license is renewed (it is renewed on a five year basis). This is less than what inflation does to most currencies during such a period of time. Serge only conveniently leaves out that detail because it does not fit into the Adobe Reality Distortion Field.

    The patents awarded to MPEG LA don’t expire until 2028. So… to make this clear… H.264 is not open.

    H.264 is an open format and an open standard; it is documented openly for everyone to read and implement. It is ratified by a standardization organization and available to everyone. It is however not free for many uses, in fact it is very expensive in my opinion. I would like to see it set free in every sense (beer/speech/et.c.) so we web developers can finally put this discussion about which format video should be delivered in to rest.

    Anyway, the discussion about H.264 is a bit odd in my opinion because Flash use it, open source projects such as ffmpeg and x264 use it, and just about ever other device out there use it.

    Also, Adobe states on the site you link to:

    Our bugbase is open to anyone and anyone can view bugs and add feature requests.

    How is this an argument about openness? Every developer of proprietary software there is has a way to submit bugs and requests, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple all very much included.

    Granted it is not possible to view bugs that are not your own on Apple’s proprietary software, but on all their open source projects (which are quite a lot for a company of Apple’s size in my opinion) are freely available, check out opensource.apple.com.

    I want Adobe to be the King of media creation once again but today they are only stalling it and that makes me sad because I would rather side with Adobe as I did in the nineties, 2012 I will celebrate my 20th year using their products to to create stuff but if this saga continues as Adobe has its RDF set at the moment I may not have that opportunity since they will inevitably doom themselves to some niche market while other players (HTML5, perhaps Silverlight?) seize the opportunity to be the dominant force on the web.

    Four legs, a nose, fur and a tail does not make a cat into a dog.

  43. aaron said on

    Steve Jobs is full of BS, there’s plenty of other ‘open’ tech that doesn’t make it past his ego and spiteful arrogance e.g JAVA

    His BS is full of lies ..200k games is most on any platform? Think WINDOWS has more games.

    It’s funny reading some of the comments and how desperate and fawning Apple fans are to covet and glory in every word he spews no matter how false.

  44. Travis Butler said on

    @Matt L:

    Adobe may be publishing a lot of information about the Flash format, but it is not enough to fully implement an open-source Flash player. Remember the BBC iPlayer issue from a couple of months ago? The BBC made a change to their Flash-based iPlayer application, enabling a Flash security setting, and suddenly all of the third-party Flash players… couldn’t play the BBC.

  45. Victor Nogueira said on

    I fully agree with Jobs in this one. The arguments defending Adobe here are not as good as the ones in Steve’s text.

    You can’t even start to argue that Flash is an open plattform, or even assume that everyone can contribute to Flash by sending suggestions. Adobe will always decide and have the last word about what features should be added to Flash. So, can we expect that everyone should depend on Adobe? The most important tool of distribution of content should depend on one company’s conveniences and decisions?

    About HTML videos, I have to say that H.264 is just one of the technologies currently implemented that support the video tag. Take Chrome as an example, it supports OGG and H.264 at the same time. You can’t compare the motivations of a company trying to control all aspects of a big portion of websites (text, images, videos, animations, font rendering and so on) to a company that uses a popular and efficient technology in the context of an open standard that HTML5 is.

    The fact that Apple software is proprietary isn’t the subject of this discussion also (and ignores Webkit in a silly manner). I think Steve was just expecting these kind of pointless arguments and decided to backup his statements. The fact is that Apple and even Microsoft with IE 9 – take the WOFF effort as an example – are giving huge contribution to the web community and the W3C working groups. And these both companies don’t control HTML and CSS. That’s a key point: It’s really easy and convenient to support your own – and proprietary, I must say – technology, isn’t it?

    How can you accuse someone who supports open standards and bans proprietary technology of being a tyrant? Defending your own closed technology? I don’t think so.

  46. Stormchild said on

    You people prattling on with pot-and-kettle remarks re: Apple and “being open” have completely and purposely missed the point of everything that’s actually on the discussion table here.

    I’ll leave you with some appropriate advice from Peter Griffin:

    “Meg, please try to formulate your thoughts clearly before you vocalize them.”

  47. Steven said on

    @Greg
    You’re missing the difference between “open” and “free” (as in beer). Just because something is open does not mean there is no cost associated with using it. The fact that there is a fee associated with using HTML5 does not render it closed or proprietary.

    What outright lies are you referring to? Jobs didn’t say Flash could not use hardware acceleration. He just said most flash sites do not, just as you observed that many sites using H.264 do not. The point is, what has Adobe done to force, or even merely encorage, Flash developers to support hardware acceleration?

  48. Evan Skuthorpe said on

    Apple talking about openness huh? That makes me chuckle!

  49. fouk said on

    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.

    Apples products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Apple, and Apple has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Apple products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Apple and available only from Apple. By almost any definition, it is a closed system.

    funny ain’t it …

  50. iedge said on

    I really don’t understand why Steve Jobs says no to Flash when Flash can do what HTML5 can’t do today also.Flash will be on its place ever.

  51. Adam said on

    I’m glad to read so many posts that see through Apples complete hypocrisy. The flaws in Job’s public letter further illustrate the lunacy of Apple’s arguments, especially regarding CS5’s iPhone compiler. Here are some highlights I noticed:

    – H264 (and AAC) is not open
    – Apple’s own programs took a long time to get ported to Cocoa & 64-bit
    – Flash-created iPhone binaries do not necessarily kill battery life or otherwise misbehave (there are example apps created with CS5 in the App Store at this very moment; test them yourself)
    – In the case of games, developers simply don’t care about having access to low-level APIs (Flash devs are used to working in a browser sandbox for example)
    – Flash-created binaries would be subject to the same restrictions (no private APIs, etc) as regular apps.
    – The CS5 iPhone app compilation feature requires absolutely no additional work on Apple’s part; it would have been a freebie of a million new app developers, all subject to the same Apple-takes-30%-profit scheme
    – As for banning unsigned apps to “protect the children” (an earlier argument from Jobs), your kid can just open a porn site in Safari or chat with a child predator on AIM
    – Jobs claims the iPhone uses open standards but really the iPhone itself DOES NOT use open standards. SAFARI the WEB BROWSER does. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and H264 cannot legally be used (nor can any common scripting language) to create native iPhone apps, and instead are limited to web pages. Further, apps are locked into the App Store and iTunes, and are under Apple’s complete control. A Mac and a yearly fee are required to use Apple’s proprietary iPhone developer tools

  52. Corporal Punishment said on

    Every definition of “open standard” I can find states that it must be royalty-free. Therefore h.264 cannot be called a open standard. While Jobs might have left the open part out of his letter, the h.264 page on apple.com claims it is a open standard multiple times (http://www.apple.com/quicktime/technologies/h264/faq.html).

  53. Jim H said on

    From Sony, dateline 2010:

    Sony announces that they are discontinuing production of the floppy disk.

    From Adobe, dateline 2014:

    Adobe is discontinuing the development of Mobile Flash, and announcing “Product X,” their designer tool for HTML 5 images, movies and vector animation. Adobe, which once owned the market for web animation and video, has sunk very quickly, even after they put their Adobe Flash application open source last year.

    “Open source, closed source, it doesn’t matter. Flash is a pig,” said the Norwegian developer who had released several versions of the open source project, “Flashbang.”

  54. Jim H said on

    You know, Jobs didn’t say, “No more Flash on the Mac.” In fact, I’m running “Gala,” the latest 10.1 beta, as we speak. It’s better. It’s likely there’s no way to kill Flash, in fact.

    On the mobile platform, it still doesn’t exist. What’s there is a truncated version that doesn’t play the stuff you need. The infamous 10.1 for mobile is still vaporware, after 3 years of the iPhone. Will it ever appear? Will the other platforms support it? Will it work very well, without destroying the battery? Or is it like the Microsoft Courier, or the HP Windows 7 tablet, vaporware, intended to divert attention from the iPad launch, but never to see the light of day?

    Anybody who doesn’t understand why Apple bans Flash apps should look at the last ten years of Adobe and Apple. When OS X was announced, they needed the big guys to write apps for it, and provided the Carbon interface to link their past code with the present. It also made Photoshop slow and buggy. Now, 9 years later, Adobe finally deigns to write the apps for CS5 in Cocoa, 64-bit. Thank you. So, when Apple’s market was small, they had to placate. They don’t have to take that anymore, with 85 million iPhones out there.

    An app written with another interface cannot possibly give the user the same experience on a mobile platform. When Apple decides to change a processor or the visual interface, how long would Adobe take to adapt, especially if it meant making a version with a feature that wouldn’t work with the latest Blackberry or Android phone?

  55. Juan said on

    Steve is going senile on us, like some “standardistas” with hats…

  56. vanhousen said on

    c’mon guys, Steve is a marketing pro, this letter is not about any tech-stuff, all the ranting about Adobe-Flash is marketing, it’s a marketing technique called “fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD)”.

  57. Muz said on

    Your All Mad with you big rants using your basic knowledge of the subject at hand, its one mans thoughts on flash from a well educated background on the subject, of course hes gonna spin it to apple’s side, wouldnt you in his position.

    he’s only answering the the internets backlash to apple products and flash, you dont like it?, you dont have to… but his stance on the subject is there for you to constantly bicker about….

    i love watching you all play straight into steves marketing hands, see vanhousens comments above :D

    have fun…

  58. Kyle said on

    I would love to know what kind of Flash sites you all are going to that crash your browser all the time. I basically never have that problem. Yeah, sometimes shit goes wrong, but most of the time it’s not because of an all-Flash website. It’s nothing that I can even come CLOSE to complaining about.

    One thing I really don’t understand is why Apple doesn’t give their users the option. Aside from that – why would Apple’s latest “unveiling” talk about how iPhone/iPad app developers are now encouraged to give away their apps for free – only to make any revenue on in app advertisements via iAd. FUCK THAT. I feel strongly that if an app is worth anything to me – I should be paying for that. Ads that appear in the apps that I want to use sounds absolutely-effing-atrocious. Advertisements are the worst fucking thing on this planet. Also – most ads, currently are served using Flash. HMMMMMMMMM…………………………………………..

    You’re all a bunch of retards. Steve Jobs – you’ve made some great products but I’m not willing to choke on your cock. Seriously. I created the universe.

    Thanks.

  59. Kyle said on

    MODERATED MESSAGE BOARDS IS A FORM OF CENSORSHIP.

  60. Kyle said on

    I PRINTED OUT AN ENTIRE COPY OF YOUR WEBSITE AND INSERTED IT INTO MY ANUS.

  61. Jeffrey Zeldman said on

    Dear Kyle: Stop shouting, you’ll hurt your throat.

  62. R4ikaart said on

    came here looking for something else but kyle this kinf of language is not condoned and because of people like you there needs to be moderation.

  63. m3i zero said on

    Yeah html5 will give a few very nice new options to work with flash I really need to start working with it asap

Comments off.