In recent months, Apple has come out strongly against Adobe’s Flash platform by affirming that there won’t be any support for Flash on Apple’s mobile products (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad).
Steve Jobs, in a detailed missive to the world at large, explains why Apple is dead against supporting Flash on its products.
The main points he put forth are as follows :
- Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary.
- H.264 is a far better and modern format for viewing videos than Flash.
- Flash is full of security holes. It is the number one reason that Macs crash.
- Flash does not perform well on mobile devices.
- When it comes to battery life, Flash sucks. To achieve long battery life when playing video, mobile devices must decode the video in hardware; decoding it in software uses too much power.
- Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers.
- Letting a third party layer of software such as Flash come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform.
Interestingly, John Sullivan of the Free Software Foundation responds, arguing that Apple is presenting users with a false choice between Adobe’s proprietary software and Apple’s walled garden.
Here is what he has to say (and I quote) –
Jobs has hit the nail on the head when describing the problems with Adobe, but not until after smashing his own thumb. Every criticism he makes of Adobe’s proprietary approach applies equally to Apple, and every benefit attributed to the App Store can be had without it being a mandatory proprietary arrangement.
Apple can offer quality control and editorial selection over available free software, and encourage users to exclusively—but voluntarily—use their store. Instead, Apple chooses to enforce legal restrictions, the transgression of which is punishable by criminal law, on users who want to make changes to their own computers, like installing free, non-Apple, software.
Interesting take from both sides indeed.