Apple: Uh, hello?  Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary

TiVo - 10% off coupon code SAVE10“What a difference two weeks and a few words of legalese can make to the future of a widely used programming technology,” Stephen Shankland reports for CNET. “In that span of time, Adobe Systems has gone from touting its technology for building Flash applications that run on the iPhone to canceling future development of that technology.”

MacDailyNews Note: In case you missed it: Adobe ceases development of Flash packager for Apple iPhone, iPad – April 21, 2010

Shankland continues, “When Apple changed the terms of its iPhone 4.0 software developer kit license, it effectively blocked Adobe’s move. But in his Tuesday announcement that Adobe will cease future development of the Flash-apps-on-iPhone technology, Mike Chambers, Adobe’s principal product manager for the Flash platform, let loose a tirade that indicates the battle between the two companies isn’t over yet… ‘I think that the closed system that Apple is trying to create is bad for the industry, developers, and ultimately consumers, and that is not something that I want to actively promote,’ Chambers said.”

“In a response, Apple indicated its preference for a variety of up-and-coming standards that collectively compete with what Flash can do,” Shankland reports. “‘Someone has it backwards–it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary,’ said spokeswoman Trudy Miller in a statement.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Exactly. Apple’s approach calls for an open and standard Web while lazy Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary.

In addition, we’ll repeat what we wrote this morning and many times prior: Adobe’s Flash is a proprietary, resource-hogging, browser-crashing abomination and, even more importantly, we don’t want ported software on our iPhones, iPads, or Macs because software designed for the lowest common denominator is inferior to software designed to take advantage of individual platforms’ strengths.

Adobe is lazy and they want to cater to developers like themselves. When given a choice between going the extra mile to accomplish great work that’s custom-tailored to individual platforms or clicking a button to excrete watered-down ported results, lazy Adobe will always choose the latter.

Android and the rest of the me-too also-rans are perfect for Adobe. May they all drown together in their homogenized puddle of mediocrity.

Note to advertisers: (including those who advertise via third-party ad networks and become, in effect, our advertisers): Your Flash-based ads are no longer reaching the most well-heeled customers online: 50+ million iPhone owners. They’re also not hitting brand new iPad users or 35+ million iPod touch users. If you care about reaching people with discretionary income, you might want to consider dumping your flash-based ads and moving to a more open format that people with money and the will to spend it can actually see.

Help kill Adobe’s Flash:
• Ask MarketWatch to offer HTML5 video via the customer support web form here.
• Ask CNBC to offer HTML5 video via the customer support web form here.
• Contact Hulu and ask them to offer HTML5 video via email:
• Ask ESPN360 to offer HTML5 video instead Flash via their feedback page here.
• Join YouTube’s HTML5 beta here.
• On Vimeo, click the “Switch to HTML5 player” link below any video.


  1. I’m a little disappointed in Google. They had pretty much been in lockstep with Apple in promoting open web standards. Now, they see Flash as being some strategic advantage over Apple, and so their enmity with Apple outweighs their support for open web standards. So much for principles.

  2. Good – glad someone from Apple called him on that.

    Adobe’s trying to pull a Google – pretending that their closed, proprietary stuff (search engine technology for Google, Flash for Adobe) is somehow magically free and open.

  3. @ KenC – I hadn’t thought about that, but you’re right. Of course, Adobe should be thinking ahead, and realizing they could become beholden to Google when it comes to Flash, if they keep going down this road.

  4. The first rule of business is don’t piss off the people you need to do business. Adobe bet against apple and against html 5 but now the truth is that no sane website will ignore 100000000 customers forever. Adobe should have found a solution 3 years ago. tough luck, I wouldn’t expect them around in five years.

  5. Thats funny that you say that ported apps are for the lowest common denominator–because thats exactly what I think the iPhone in general. Great potential that has been dumbed down. The irony of Apple calling Flash a closed system is mind=blown.

  6. Message to MDN. If you are so much against Flash, stop pointing to Flash videos. I can’t watch them on my touch.
    If you are so in favor of GREAT apps on the iPhone or iPad, clean your house and make the batch count tell me how many unread items I gave instead of an almost random number that resets even when the app crashes before opening.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  7. I have a Flash blocker installed. I don’t see any Flash except what I really want to see (I count six ads I’m not seeing on this page alone), and I’m shocked at the amount of Flash that’s in use on web sites. It’s way too much.

  8. “Mike Chambers, Adobe’s principal product manager for the Flash platform, let loose a tirade that indicates the battle between the two companies isn’t over yet… “

    Uh, yeah. It’s over. Adobe lost. Apple (and consumers) won.

  9. Another moron calling Apple “closed” with no explanation or clue about what they mean by “closed.” Let’s just called Apple “closed” because because everyone else is saying it. Adobe is “open.” Google is “open.” Apple is “closed.” This is nonsense…

    Apple makes most of its profit from selling the hardware. Microsoft, Adobe, and Google from software (and/or advertising). The later three have much more motivation to be “closed” and controlling in terms of software and user data, compared to Apple.

  10. Now lets see.. 2 years ago Adobe share price was about $45 fell to $16 during the meltdown and has recovered to $35.92

    Apple share price range over the same period $185 fell to $75 and currently sitting at $259

    Is the market voting on Flash?

  11. @jjjj
    “h.264 is not technically open”

    Why on earth not? It has been an approved standard since 2003. It is true, as with all modern technology, that there are licensing costs. Why wouldn’t there be? (The (multiple) companies that developed and patented the codec technology are businesses, not charities.)

    H.264 is completely exempt from royalties only if the final product is free to the consumer.

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