Steve Jobs posts long rant about Adobe Flash


— 10:48 AM on April 29, 2010

Apple and Adobe have traded bitter jabs over Flash support lately, and there appears to be no sign of a truce. Steve Jobs has now posted a long rant about Flash on his company's website, detailing why Flash support on the iPhone will probably never happen and attempting to paint this exclusion primarily as a technological decision—not a business one.

Jobs outlines six main reasons for the no-Flash-on-iPhone policy: Flash is proprietary; Flash support isn't necessary to view the "full web," since a lot of online video and games can be played on the iPhone via discrete apps; Flash has security, stability, and performance problems; Flash hurts battery life by not using hardware H.264 acceleration; Flash was designed for mice, so features like Flash rollovers don't work on touch screens; and last, but not least, letting developers use Flash to write iPhone apps would slow the adoption of new iPhone and iPhone OS features, since developers would have to wait for Adobe to support those features.

The Apple CEO makes a fairly solid case overall, pointing out that Adobe only started using Mac OS X's Cocoa framework in its freshly launched CS5 suite of professional apps, about nine years after the initial release of OS X. Jobs also claims that Symantec "recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009," and he even provides some battery life numbers. Allegedly, the iPhone can play H.264 video for 10 hours, but software-decoded videos à la Flash play for "less than 5 hours."

The concerns about Flash's closed nature seem a tad shakier, though. Jobs says his company privileges open standards for the web, like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, all the while admitting that Apple pretty much builds its products around proprietary software—like, say, OS X and the iPhone OS. The Mac maker is also far from open about what it does and doesn't allow on the iTunes App Store.

   
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