What’s behind Apple’s clash with Adobe’s Flash?

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Apple chief Steve Jobs isn’t a fan of Adobe’s Flash — and he released a letter Thursday explaining exactly why. He’s even got some of the Internet’s most popular destinations — The New York Times, Facebook, even NPR — working to strip Flash away from websites on the iPad,” NPR’s All Things Considered reports. “So why doesn’t Jobs like Flash?”

“Jobs says Adobe — not Apple — has a closed system because its products are 100 percent proprietary and this conflicts with Apple’s desire to use open standards for the Web,” NPR reports. “‘It’s purely technical. It’s not a very good program for mobile devices,” Leander Kahney, author of the biography Inside Steve’s Brain, tells host Guy Raz. “It’s a CPU hog and it drains battery life very quickly, so he doesn’t want it on it.”

“As recently as six months ago some technology experts thought Flash was would dominate Web multimedia,” NPR reports. “Now some are saying the technology is doomed.”

“This isn’t the first time Apple has taken aim at a mainstream technology,” NPR reports. “In the late 1990s, the floppy drive disappeared after Apple introduced the first iMac with its CD drive. And iTunes and the iPod have slashed sales of CDs.”

NPR reports, “Although Jobs is an intensely private person, Kahney thinks his intentions are good: ‘I think he is genuinely interested in crafting technology that is easy to use for consumers, and Flash wrecks that experience or has the potential to wreck that experience. And so, it’s gone. He’s just extremely ruthless about that.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. He’s not being ruthless – I hate how the media characterizes things so willy nilly. If he was being ruthless, he would ban Flash from Safari on all the Apple platforms. He is ONLY restricting it on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. ONLY, and for a legitimate reason. That being said, I would have no problem doing away with Flash on my Mac as well – it crashes Safari fairly regularly.

  2. Why do all these stories neglect to mention the fact that NO FLASH MOBILE PRODUCT EVEN EXISTS YET??

    (…aside from Flash Lite, which doesn’t run everything desktop Flash does and is therefore irrelevant to this discussion…)

    You’d think that would be a relevant point to bring up – Adobe doesn’t even have a mobile-ready product despite years of work, and somehow they’ve successfully painted Apple as the roadblock, when Adobe themselves haven’t produced a working product!

  3. It’s interesting to note in all of this turmoil over Flash that no one is making any comparison’s with .pdf’s. PDF’s are way more pervasive than Flash and just as proprietary, yet Apple embraces (licenses) .pdf at the system level so we can create, preview, and print them without a plug in or program. If Apples argument for using Flash was simply that of it not being open, .pdf would be gone too.

  4. I’m sitting in the dark with my iPad, pretending to be Steve Jobs. I’m issuing fatwas, uh, open letters. Someone just pushed a tray through the feeding hole of this 3600 sq. foot empty room. My dinner. An apple, a banana, 3 lettuce leaves, crisp, lightly seasoned, one thin sclice of American cheese, and a bottle of, oh no… No… NO!!! Crystal Geiser? I fling the tray at the wall and run back to my iPad… … …

    Grrrrr Adobe. From helll’s heart, i stab at thee. For hate’s sake I spit at thee!!

  5. Apple does not have to use Flash. It’s a choice, not a requirement. If enough web content providers and consumers believe that it is the wrong decision, then they have a choice – either accept the limitations and enjoy the other advantages of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, or vote with their dollar by purchasing an Android phone or other mobile device, and accept their combination of limitations and advantages.

    SJ has made it clear, just as he has done in the past. This is a technological choice that Apple has made based upon what corporate management believes is best for Apple and its products and consumers long term. It is not up for debate, and Apple has repeatedly demonstrated that it is willing to bear the short term abuse and controversy that inevitably accompanies a break from the status quo.

    In other words, if you don’t like it, tough.

  6. When my Macbook Pro got slow and hot, Activity Monitor usually showed Safari as the culprit with extremely high CPU usage. When I dug deeper, it was Flash on pages like NYT where the images were continually changing. I removed Flash and the problem disappeared.

  7. Adobe shot itself in the foot with the Macromedia deal. They went chasing after the Next Big Thing (NBT) with flash and neglected their current customers and their core strengths. They need to cut that infected foot off and hoble back to the creative market.

    Apple already took the video market away from them without any real effort. If they continue with this whiney behavior Steve could release a photoshop killer (not hard to do PS is the best editor out but it still sucks) or a really good HTML 5 development system and just kill them( to kill flash and dreamweaver).

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