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Five Tremendous Apple vs. Adobe Flash Myths

Daniel Eran Dilger

Proponents of Adobe Flash insist that Apple’s iPhone 4.0 restrictions amount to “restraint of trade,” that the company’s Flash platform covers the vast majority of computers, that Adobe doesn’t need Apple and could bury it by cutting off its apps for the Mac in retaliation, that Apple really owes Adobe a hand, and that by not offering Flash, Apple is violating a universal doctrine demanding Choice. They’re wrong, here’s why.
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Ready for a roller coaster of emotionalist tirades directed at Apple? The Flash Brigade is out in full force, so there’s no asking for clarification or analytical thoughtfulness going on, just a lot of malicious motives being hastily attributed based on a series of conspiracy theory assumptions. Buckle up.

Myth 1: Apple’s great ‘restraint of trade’

The first argument being thrown at Apple is that its new restriction on the source languages that can be used to link to its iPhone SDK APIs is a “restraint of trade,” apparently because Apple has a legal obligation to support third parties who want to apply their tools to build iPhone apps.

Never mind that such accusations have never been thrown about when the subject was developing titles for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, or any other game console. Those developers must not only use the languages and tools the vendor outlines, but typically must also pay thousands of dollars for licensing fees, specialized development hardware, and jump through a variety of other hoops.

The same people who seem so morally outraged about about Apple’s still minority share of the smartphone market (in terms of hardware units sold), seemed completely cool with Microsoft’s reign over the entire PC market, which it micromanaged in meticulous detail, telling PC makers what hardware they could and could not sell, what software they could not bundle, and so on.

If Android had a nickel for every “developer” who threatened out of rage to run to that platform every time Apple enacted a new policy, that hobbyist platform could probably afford to buy itself a real game.

Myth 2: Flash is ubiquitous

Adobe likes to say that 96% of all computers in the US have Flash installed. What it doesn’t say is that more than 60% of all smartphone web traffic, and 96% of all “Mobile Internet Device” (that’s a euphemism for “iPod touch”) traffic doesn’t run Flash at all.

Additionally, it’s not as if Adobe had created a great mobile Flash platform and Apple stomped all over it to be mean. Adobe didn’t have a mobile version of Flash that could even play Flash videos until Flash Lite 3 appeared, well after the release of the iPhone. Even then, that product couldn’t run most of the Flash content created for desktop PCs.

Adobe didn’t pass that hurdle until last summer, when it introduced an early version of Flash Player 10 for Android. But that version still doesn’t play back everything the PC version does. The latest 10.1 version for mobiles is supposed to do better, but it’s still in demo stages and requires a Cortex A8 class processor, meaning it only runs on Android or webOS devices from the last several months.

If Apple supported this, it could only run on the iPhone 3GS. So Adobe’s mobile strategy is actually just now emerging. Apple has been selling the iPhone for three full years now. There was no suitable version of Flash to sell, so Apple made its own plans.

To hear from the tech media people who feed from the Adobe propaganda machine like ducks being force fed for foie gras, you’d think Adobe has had a real mobile strategy all this time and Apple has just been playing the role of a conniving obstructionist.

The truth is that it’s Adobe’s fault there’s no Flash on the majority of mobiles, because the company was completely happy just misleading the world of pundits while talking instead of doing. Well it’s not 2007 anymore, it’s 2010, and that’s three years of work that everyone else has put into HTML5.

Adobe hasn’t done anything to earn the rights to cram the Internet back into the Flash box it likes to sit upon as it collects taxes from those creating content that only plays back via Adobe’s own players. Adobe never been on top of things in the mobile world, and the desktop version is not exactly doing all that much anymore either. As companies shift their resources from everything Flash to HTML5, Adobe’s desktop monopoly over interactive content will rapidly erode. It’s not Apple’s fault that’s happening, it’s Adobe’s.

Why Apple is betting on HTML 5: a web history

Myth 3: Adobe’s gonna get Apple

With Apple making no effort to bail Adobe out from the consequences of its own incompetence, the Flash Brigade is calling for a merciless reaction from Adobe. Perhaps the company will give up a huge chunk of its Creative Suite sales by snubbing Mac users?

That’s what Microsoft did when it realized Apple was now competing against it in productivity apps. Look at how much money Microsoft saved by not developing Mac versions of Office 2008 and 2010. Oh wait, Microsoft did develop generations of Office for Mac even though Apple is now selling iWork. Microsoft made lots of money selling Office for Mac.

And that’s why Adobe will keep selling Creative Suite for Macs. Adobe can make lots of money even while it snubs Mac users, so why would it stop making money to snub Mac users? Adobe is also rolling out new apps for iPad and iPhone. Clearly, the company is around to make money, not to behave like a 15 year old girl dramatizing her contempt for those who have offended her in some fashion. Somebody tell the Internet.

Sorry Flash Brigade, Adobe isn’t about to retaliate against Apple. The reason Adobe is talking is because that’s all it can do at this point after screwing up its mobile strategy and failing to anticipate years ago where computing was headed and what changes it needed to make. It’s not Apple’s job to keep Adobe in business.

Office Wars 3 – How Microsoft Got Its Office Monopoly

Myth 4: Apple owes Adobe a living

The Flash Brigade also likes to tell tales about how Adobe (like Microsoft) lovingly rescued Apple back when the company was having hard times, so Apple should be paying Adobe back by establishing Flash as the proprietary alternative to open web standards.

This is curious (or perhaps hilarious) because Adobe’s support for Apple has long been just as money motivated as Macromedia and Microsoft. Back when Apple wanted its major developers to embrace NeXTSTEP and port their existing code to a modern new API that would solve a lot of the old problems with the Classic Mac OS, it got nothing but blank stares from all threes of those “partners.”

Had they invested in Apple’s plans, we’d have gotten a Mac OS X with the sophistication of the iPhone back in 1998, rather than living through a decade of Apple building Carbon and then weaning its developers off it. Adobe and Macromedia helped delay Apple’s plans for a decade just so they could safely make money selling Mac users less sophisticated software.

When Apple turned itself around, it was no longer in a position to beg for the support of companies like Adobe and Macromedia and Microsoft. It has begun telling developers what to do. It told Adobe that if it wanted to build 64-bit Mac apps, it would need to do it using Cocoa. Adobe balked for a while, pushing off the 64-bit port of Creative Suite for the Mac by a year and a half. This spring, Adobe will finally get portions of Creative Suite apps to Cocoa, just a decade plus a few years after Apple asked the first time.

The only thing Apple owes Adobe is decade of torturous knuckle dragging. Let’s see if Flash is still around in 2020. Maybe Steve Jobs will accommodate Adobe by throwing in a version of Flash with iPhone OS 14 as payback for Adobe sticking it out like a trouper.

Cocoa and the Death of Yellow Box and Rhapsody

Myth 5: Apple should just solve Adobe’s problems by offering Choice

With hearts bleeding more dramatically than even the most tortured religious figures ever imagined under centuries of Christendom, the Flash Brigade next insists that no matter how justified Apple is in restricting its own platform, no matter how incompetent Adobe was in screwing up mobile Flash, without regard for how powerless Adobe is to demand that anything really change, and ignoring how awful Adobe and Macromedia were to Apple in the past, it’s Apple’s duty, no, moral obligation, to support Flash as a Choice.

That’s because a variety of Choices are always preferable to a subset of ideal options. Who needs a web based on open, interoperable standards when you can have the Choice of all dynamic content being locked up in Flash? What a wonderful option.

I know when I plant a garden, I don’t do any weeding first because I want to give all forms of life an equal opportunity to spread and benefit from my efforts and irrigation. If I just planted vegetables and herbs, I’d only have things that were good. Why not also have the weeds that are already here? By not weeding, I get the things I want to grow AND the option of weeds. Who cares if those weeds will choke out any positive development and keep things just the way they were before I did any planting. Choice is always preferable to change, because change is scary!

Well, at least in the minds of companies who advocate Choice when their particular Choice involves monopoly control. Microsoft wanted music player buyers to have a Choice of music stores and a Choice of hardware vendors, but interestingly, not really a Choice in media player operating system vendors.

Similarly, while Adobe wasn’t so keen on offering users a Choice of Cocoa support, or a Choice of both HTML5 and Flash output from its development tools, it is really interested in Apple offering users a choice between the HTML5 open web Apple is cultivating and the Flash weeds it wants to see choke out any potential for change on the web.

The fallacy of Flash: why Adobe’s ideological war with Apple is bankrupt

Nothing left to do but talk

And so, through a mix of incompetence, belligerence and emotionalist hypocrisy, Adobe has been pumping a non-stop stream of propaganda about how critically important Flash is on mobile devices, even though millions of people been using the highest ranked smartphone for three years now without suffering any ill (not even the rest of humanity on lessor smartphones have missed being able to render desktop Flash content, because they haven’t been able to either). There’s a reason for all that talk: Adobe is terrified.

Like Microsoft, Adobe has long been able to sign up every major player in the consumer electronics industry to pay for whatever garbage it has had the shameless balls to crap out. Three generations of Flash Lite, and now a variant of its desktop web plugin that demands the fastest smartphones on the planet just to run it. Once you get used to getting paid to do next to nothing, it’s a brutal shock when somebody stands up and refuses to play along with your ridiculous game.

Apple isn’t just a rebellious outsider. Not in mobiles, where it controls most of the world’s web traffic, and certainly almost all of the traffic of affluent customers. Flash has found its way to the hobbyist Android platform, and has graced the webOS even as it goes through its final death throes. It is promised to arrive for Windows Phone 7, the ace in the hole Microsoft plans to use to take back all the market share it lost to Android. But Flash isn’t ever going to be on the iPhone OS, and that not only makes a big black hole in Adobe’s strategy for maintaining in monopoly control over dynamic content on the web, but also questions why we were ever using this crap in the first place on the desktop.

Once society awakes to see how duped it’s been, the value of Adobe’s $3.1 billion 2005 deal to acquire Macromedia (largely for Flash) might look like less than a brilliant move.

87 comments

1 stanv { 04.10.10 at 2:27 am }

I’ll agree with you for a moment about those “big five myths”. The fact is Adobe has been public about their intentions of releasing Packager for iPhone for over an year, and Apple has never attempted to communicate with them that they will not like that.

You may say “they don’t have to do that, they don’t owe them anything”. But mere good manners require that at least someone at Apple sent them an email “Sorry, we won’t let that happen” much earlier than *4 days before release*. Real people, with families to feed, who have worked hard at Adobe for the past over an year will lose their jobs over Apple’s choice of poor communication.

Would Apple let Adobe know earlier of their intention, the result would be the same for the iPhone and iPad: no Flash packager.

However, at Adobe, those software development resources could be saved and pointed in a better direction where their efforts wouldn’t go to waste.

[Oh please, nobody is going to lose their jobs over CS5 features. And Adobe assumed some risk in pursuing a strategy of making Flash-created iPhone apps rather than working on HTML5 tools - Dan]

2 scotty321 { 04.10.10 at 2:27 am }

Brilliant as always. Also, I’d like to add 2 things:
1. Flash technology discriminates against people with disabilities, as explained on this website: http://www.flashsucks.org/
2. As you mentioned yesterday over at AppleInsider, even if Apple DID want to have Flash on the iPhone for some crazy reason, it technically couldn’t allow it because it wouldn’t work with the new multitasking of iPhone OS 4: http://tinyurl.com/y95ghat

3 stanv { 04.10.10 at 2:53 am }

> Oh please, nobody is going to lose their jobs over CS5 features.

And you know this for a fact how? Would be willing to guarantee it to me somehow? Or just throwing words around.

I know for a fact Adobe has postponed a lot from their Flash roadmap to make way for the iPhone packager. Now that this entire effort is useless, people have a significant reason to skip this cycle of updates, which will hurt Adobe and it’ll have to cut even more jobs to keep afloat, starting with the developers who they have no use for anymore.

> And Adobe assumed some risk in pursuing a strategy of making Flash-created iPhone apps rather than working on HTML5 tools – Dan

Until 4 days ago the objective risk was non-existent: the Flash packager was consistent with the then published SDK license agreement, and the app store has accepted many projects from other platforms, such as Unity, which has some of the game bestsellers on the App store at this very moment.

The risk of dealing with Apple is that they’re arrogant and unpredictable. The problem when the CEOs play little games like the one happening between Adobe and Apple, to reiterate again, actual people are hurt, most of whom had absolutely nothing to do with the decisions Adobe made at some point in the 90-s.

4 ShabbaRanks { 04.10.10 at 2:58 am }

@ Scotty321

Thanks for the flashsucks site. It’s nice to see a website with a genuine point, well made and bugger all else. Updated too.

5 stanv { 04.10.10 at 3:02 am }

@ scotty321

That multitasking explanation is just a really bad guess. All existing apps, including those from Flash Packager, Unity, Appcelerator and so on, work on iPhone OS4 by being transparently suspended when you switch away. This is also how native apps behave by default on OS4. The only limitation comes from being unable to use the background services, like background audio, which is easily fixed by the 3rd party platforms exposing the API-s to their users.

6 ShabbaRanks { 04.10.10 at 3:31 am }

@ Stanv

The bottom line is that every company in the world has a responsibilty to it’s own staff to best secure it’s own future. This can be through co-operation and trade with other companies or other means. Apple isn’t responsible for the well being of Adobe and it’s staff. Adobe isn’t responsible for the well being of Apple and it’s staff. It would be lovely if Adobe and Apple got on but at the moment their strategies don’t mix. What’s good for Adobe is bad for Apple and vice versa.

Don’t go throwing around opinion as fact. If you think staff at Adobe will become redundant directly due to the actions of Apple and it’s someone else’s opinion that won’t happen, the worst reply is that they countered your opinion with theirs.

It is, however, a fact in a capitalist world that if Adobe has to lay people off it is due to bad decision making at Adobe. You can’t blame Apple for being self serving, just as it’s unfair to blame Adobe and Microsoft for the same. You can only blame a company for this if it’s holding back capitalism itself. Hence competition laws.

7 ulicar { 04.10.10 at 4:17 am }

Oh, no, another by Dan.

1997 Microsoft invested $150 million andagreed to develop office for mac because of the antitrust lawsuite, possible patent lawsuits and not for money. Apple productivity tools are pure joke. If you are using iWorks, instead of OO.org, or MS Office, there is something wrong with you.

So, torecap, Apple blackmailed MS to continue development for mac. MS is doing it for the money, but not the money originating in the Mac area.

See, that was information you should have given to your readers, and not that whitewash.

8 Berend Schotanus { 04.10.10 at 4:26 am }

There’s a war going on between sysops and sysdevs on one side and users on the other side. A war about power, money and status. But also a war about just earning your own living…

Sysops and sysdevs do have an interest in keeping technology mystifying and complex without making it too much performant. That’s how they can justify their job to the enduser, earn their respect and get an excuse to ask financial compensation for the work done. And over time, as Dan brilliantly states, they risk getting used to getting paid to do next to nothing.

Users on the other hand have an interest in break-through innovation that offers more value for less money. But interestingly, after a break-through innovation we tend to see a counter movement where sysops and sysdevs are able to conquer a bit of terrain back.
The PC was such an innovative break-through, depriving sysops and sysdevs from the status the ancient mainframe computers offered them. The counter move was MS-DOS that gave sysops and sysdevs some of their terrain back and allowed them to build big expensive and complicated business networks.
Similarly the Internet was an innovative break-through that suddenly allowed ordinary people to benefit from computer networks that were supposed to be only available to rich businesses through expensive sysops and sysdevs.

Here is my guess: I think Flash was the tool that gave sysops and sysdevs some of their power back that they were deprived of by the internet. Flash is to the Internet what MS-DOS used to be to the PC. Flash gives a sysdev full control over the remote PC, which wasn’t possible with just HTML.

So obviously the “Flash Brigade” consists of sysops and sysdevs who are understandably angry about loosing their terrain. And that it is not all just malicious conspiracy is made very clear by the remark of stanv above:
Actual people are hurt (e.g. by loosing their job at Adobe’s) who were not aware or involved in the “little games” that CEO’s are playing.

9 ludachrs { 04.10.10 at 4:34 am }

@ Stanv

Adobe has had 10 years to release Cocoa versions Creative Suite for the Mac and is just now getting to that with CS5, I work in the graphics industry where a very large majority of all content is worked on the mac. CS4, 64 bit, Cocoa native . . . NO, Photoshop CS4 can only address 3.5 gigs of RAM and has been hamstrung by not being native and 64 bit for years, why didn’t Adobe help Apple out by rewriting millions of lines of code before 2010. Why was the Windows version of photoshop CS4 64 bit? Apple owes Adobe pleeeeaze, CS4 is the slowest, buggiest, worst written versions of Adobe software I have ever used in over 17 years. Adobe is just as arrogant as Apple. Innovate or die! Adobe owns the Mac graphics market but they are every bit as arrogant as Quark was when they did and look what happened to them. Maybe instead of updating the last set of tools content creators were using Adobe should be developing the next set of tools content creators will use.

10 broadbean { 04.10.10 at 4:38 am }

@ulicar $150 million was small change for Microsoft. And exactly what was their return when they sold the stock back, on top of the money made from Office for Mac? They made a tidy sum, and was able to divert some accusations as being a monopoly. Don’t think for a moment there wasn’t a tremendous upside for Microsoft at the time and the small gamble paid off big time.

@stanv Apple changing tunes on its developers? Where’s the news in that?

Flash is strong on the desktop, even though it sucks on the Mac. So it is not ubiquitous on the mobile platforms, that’s where their management team needed better decision making. They can cry foul about Apple, but resting on their laurels is certainly biting back their backsides at the moment.

Anyway, have you seen their senior management team?
http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom/executivebios/

How would you like to be the Adobe CEO with both founders looking over your shoulder everyday as joint Chairmen of the Board?

And oh, @ulicar, Microsoft Excel is pretty good, could be even better with Office 2010. OO is crap, and Pages and Keynote rock. If you don’t know that, you don’t know Jack.

11 RattyUK { 04.10.10 at 4:57 am }

@ulicar
So Microsoft making something approaching a Billion dollars in the deal is not relevant? When Microsoft unloaded the shares they “purchased” they did damn well on the deal.

“Apple blackmailed MS to continue development for mac.”
Give me a break. Yeah, blackmailed to make money.

12 Techflaws.org { 04.10.10 at 5:49 am }

The problem when the CEOs play little games like the one happening between Adobe and Apple, to reiterate again, actual people are hurt, most of whom had absolutely nothing to do with the decisions Adobe made at some point in the 90-s.
Tough luck.

Oh, no, another by Dan.
Really? So what else did you expect on his blog?

13 Harrie { 04.10.10 at 7:23 am }

There is another very good reason for not allowing application builders that sit on top of Cocoa. If a system update reveals a bug in an individual Cocoa built program, the developer can repair it immediately. If, however, the bug is in the application builder, a whole bunch of apps will suddenly be incompatible and the individual developers can do nothing about it. They have to wait until it is repaired by the manufacturer of the application builder.

Adobe has a track record of needing about ten years for such repairs (remember Adobe Type Manager?) It thus falls onto Apple to program around those bugs. I can very well understand that they no longer want to do this.

The only alternative for Apple is then to repair it themselves.

14 ObamaPacman { 04.10.10 at 8:00 am }

@ulicar (aka failblog of words),

Again, major fail.

iWorks contain Keynote. Many businesses and CEO use Apple Keynote. For example Nintendo CEO (yes I got photos) uses Apple Keynote on a Mac.

Steve Jobs also uses Keynote. Let’s see, Apple is a $230 billion dollar company, so by your rational, there is must be something wrong with Steve Jobs and other CEOs.

Thanks for your always way off opinion. FAIL.

Back on topic, Adobe works so diligently that the desktop Flash works on windows mobile “open” devices. NOT.

Fact: Windows Mobile (WiMP) is on the market for almost a decade, and still no desktop-flash for it.

15 Per { 04.10.10 at 8:56 am }

@stanv

If you actually did read the article before posting a comment, it is just super funny that you posted a “think of the children”-style comment to a blog post about the Flash Brigade’s emotional tirades. This is irony 101. You just help to prove Daniel’s point.

@broadbean
Let’s not feed the trolls, shall we?

16 Dorotea { 04.10.10 at 9:07 am }

Thanks for the information on mobile flash. I thought it was on all smartphones. I find it funny that Apple has kept a product off of the iPhone that does not exist!!!!!!

So I’m assuming that RIM doesn’t have flash either.. Correct?

And the mobile flash that works on Androd/WebOS doesn’t work with most Flash websites? Hilarious!!!!

17 donarb { 04.10.10 at 9:26 am }

Adobe’s whining is really amazing. The ubiquitousness of Flash is like a cancer, they are even now building it into the heart of all their flagship products. Yes, Adobe is adopting the write once, run anywhere philosophy that even Microsoft abandoned years ago.

Fireworks CS4 has had a known bug where it crashed whenever you quit, Adobe knew about it but said they wouldn’t fix it because it caused no data loss. Only recently did Adobe say they would fix it.

18 John E { 04.10.10 at 9:56 am }

reading many of the Flash Brigades wails, i’d bet that the most self-righteous are web designers who have become practically dependent on Flash and so feel threatened by its decline. as if having to learn HTML5 is going to cost them a lot of money or valuable time. many begin ” i’m a developer …”

but of course there will be just as much paid work to be done. more actually, with the rapid growth of the mobile web. and a transition period that will give them enough time to learn a new system. what it really amounts to is crybabies wailing “change is so hard!”

19 zdp { 04.10.10 at 10:10 am }

When I decided that I wanted to start making iPhone apps, I looked at many developer tools. I was really interested in appcelerator because it used technology that I already knew.

In the end though, I bit e bullet and learned objc because I was worried that I would not have all of the tools and options available to me via the third party software. Indeed, if someone wants to start building their iPhone 4 software and they are not using Xcode, they have to wait until their development tools are updated to support it.

I think that apple does not want to be reliant on another company becoming a roadblock in implementing new features.

20 Random { 04.10.10 at 10:40 am }

While Adobe’s PR is doing it’s job distorting facts to their advantage (or trying to), there’s good chances their engineers are already busy building an HTML 5 development framework for CS6. That should keep those hard working real people’s families fed, and thanks to Apple, too…

Now if they aren’t, then, well, whatever happens to Adobe and their stock valuation will be well deserved.

21 stanv { 04.10.10 at 10:49 am }

@Per

> it is just super funny that you posted a “think of the children”-style comment to a blog post about the Flash Brigade’s emotional tirades

All I said was Apple could do the right thing for themselves without letting another company work for over an year only to let them know “no deal” 4 days before release. With a simple phone call or an email. This is the same issue as the AppStore approval process but on a bigger scale.

If you can’t comprehend this, discussing it further is pointless. If you’re willing to put me on either side of the fence, not a good choice, as I never gave opinion of Flash Packager as a product, nor argued whether Apple is wrong to limit access to their platform. It’s not *what* they did, it’s *how* they did it.

22 stanv { 04.10.10 at 11:12 am }

And a last note so I clarify my point of view. If Adobe and other companies with similar tools (Unity, Appcelerator etc.) knew in advance not to invest at all in such platforms, things would be a lot smoother for Apple themselves.

Letting them know after they’ve made the big investments only means that Adobe will sue, complain at SEC (already filed a complaint yesterday), make workarounds and generally be a much larger problem for Apple than it would be otherwise.

Apple is making lots of enemies fast, and I’m not sure if they could respond adequately to the combined wrath of Google+Adobe+Microsoft+co in the long term. and I want Apple to be around as their contribution to the industry is tangible and valuable. All they need to do is drop that arrogant attitude and stop sending out mixed and always changing messages to their partners and developers.

23 donarb { 04.10.10 at 11:39 am }

Apple’s release schedule has nothing to do with Adobe. They didn’t put out a new developer agreement just to screw with Adobe’s release of CS5. Apple has been concentrating on releasing the OS for the iPad. Once the iPad shipped (you know, like last week), Apple could drop the beta status for that OS and then concentrate on the next version of the OS, 4.0. As Daniel has said, the new version of the OS most likely dictates a change in the developer agreement in order to provide future stability for the platform.

The new agreement is actually nothing new. Apple has always stated that interpreted and abstracted code would not be allowed. But then developers kept pushing the line seeing how far they could go. So Apple decided to spell it out for the terminally clueless.

24 JohnWatkins { 04.10.10 at 11:51 am }

@ stanv
“Real people, with families to feed, who have worked hard at Adobe for the past over an year will lose their jobs over Apple’s choice of poor communication.”
OMG! Are you for real? This is satire, right?

@ulicar
“Apple blackmailed MS to continue development for mac. [and other wack stuff]”
Do you really have no idea what actually happened at that time? I can only assume you are some kind of comedian or performance artist.

25 JohnWatkins { 04.10.10 at 11:58 am }

Great article Dan. Very interesting.
Some of the readers’ apologist comments are immensely entertaining as well.

26 Neil Anderson { 04.10.10 at 12:00 pm }

Hey, Adobe, go build your own phone and put Flash on it….

27 Maniac { 04.10.10 at 12:18 pm }

Wow. Great article. I’d forgotten how long it took for Adobe to move their bloatware to Objective-C / Cocoa. Just when Apple needed help promoting OS X and transitioning from Motorola to Intel.

And, of all that Flash content clogging the web, I wonder how much of it is porn. Maybe it’s fitting that Porndroid, er, Android runs Flash.

28 Ric { 04.10.10 at 12:59 pm }

Stupid question: If Adobe did a good job with their tool, it should be impossible for Apple to even know that the user is not using Objective C right? I mean, they have to interface with the OS like everyone else and Apple does not have access (right?) to the source-code of the App.
Apple does not really actively try to hinder those jailbrake devices but neither are they supported. Why? IMHO because Apple wants to provide an ecosystem that “works”. If you want to break out of this ecosystem: OK, but don’t come to us if something goes wrong.
Now if Adobe’s Interpreter assumes something and that is changed in a future release (like Harry describes) who is responsible?
if hundreds of developers come crying to Apple, they would have to make the system “backward compatible”, effectively becoming dependent on Adobe.
So in conclusion: if I use Adobe to create Iphone Apps, that should be no Problem but IF Adobe fu**ed up it is them (and me) who is responsible.

29 stormj { 04.10.10 at 1:06 pm }

Bravo!

Excellent post! My only question is why doesn’t Apple have more people out there explaining this? I guess their strategy is to let the flacks for their competitors do all the carping and let their sales and stock price speak for itself, still, I get bored telling all of my friends that they are full of it when they repeat these ideas that, under normal circumstances, they would be embarrassed to repeat because they are so noobish.

The death shrieks from the Flash Brigade are typical of any other crowd of developers that got locked into a dead technology and now are mad that they wasted their time.

Welcome to the world of software development. Go buy another Programming for Dummies book and make flashlight app for a different program.

30 Thomas Menguy { 04.10.10 at 1:14 pm }

Good one Dan, I generally agree with your points, Adobe suffers more of itself , and not from Apple.

I like facts and as much as you do, and you first point just made me fall back out of my developer chair : yes you do have choices to dev on Wii, XBox, PS, with some cross platforms stuff, a lot made by the game studio themselves: just to speak right there is no technical issue with using a cross platform well made SDK (if you want to argue, no pb, let’s open the discussion, I’ll be more than happy to elaborate), after all only application quality, the final result, should count, not the technology used to make it no?

Why not just say that Apple doesn’t want to allow cross platform development of the apps so that they can achieve a developer platform lock-in (all the little indy dev can’t afford a multi platform development without a third party cross platform SDK), and a customer lock-in because we won’t find our beloved apps on android/winmob/webOS/Symbian/BB/etc, sor hard to switch

After all it’s difficult to blame Apple for that! …

It’s just that this kind of dictatorial lock-in is not making me, as a dev, confident in putting my business into the Apple hands: imagine if I choose a wonderful third party library for all my apps, and from one day to another, it is now forbidden by Apple? What should I do If I don’t have the resources to do something else? Enforcing its tools, and forcing me to use their own way of coding will simply constraint my creativity and my productivity. Difficult to say that for me, but I begin to wonder what would have been our software world if Apple had won the desktop war : no java, no .NET, no Flex, no Qt, and the list goes on, and yes those technologies have a purpose and some strength the old objectiveC doesn’t have.

Anyway this new 3.1.1 SDK paragraph (the one proscribing anything else than C/C++/ObjectiveC and web dev for iphone) is a beta one … perhaps it will change by the time OS 4.0 is coming.

31 lowededwookie { 04.10.10 at 2:43 pm }

Super sorry StanV but your comment about people losing their jobs over this is nothing to do with Apple.

1): Adobe based all their developments on existing technology and therefore an existing NDA. What they failed to do is hazard a guess to what Apple has in plan. If they thought about where Apple might head they wouldn’t have rushed out a workaround for a problem of their own making.

Think about it, Apple is pretty vocal about Flash and while pre-compiling a Flash app to run on the iPhone is a good workaround, Adobe has failed to do so in an Apple way. As Dan correctly pointed out Adobe dragged their heels on getting their apps onto Cocoa despite Apple telling them 10 years ago that’s the way they want everyone to develop. As such Adobe has to rush out an app at the last minute because they didn’t expect Apple to kill Carbon… Only Apple had been telling them for 10 years that was what they were going to do. Who’s at fault? Apple for killing Carbon or Adobe for calling Apple’s bluff and finding out they had all the Aces?

2): Anyone who says laying off staff is the best way to save money is deluded to the Nth degree. This is the most retarded move ANY company can make. The best way to make money is to spend money to remove the old inefficient ways not by getting rid of the more experienced staff. Want to save money by getting rid of staff? Get rid of the high paid do nothing executives and accountants who are causing the inefficient methods in the first place. Basic engineering 101 unfortunately the world is run by idiots not engineers.

As for Ulicar’s stupid statement about iWork he’s obviously never used it bar cursory glances. I use it all the time for everything I do. I am more productive and I have all the tools I need – which I admit are not that heavy – and I can do some pretty great things in Numbers and adding iWork.com into the mix makes it even more beneficial to me. In fact I would like to tell you now that for the most part there is NOTHING Office offers me over iWork and iWork is half the price and more Mac-like to use. Excel offers me a ridiculous amount of rows and columns that I don’t need by default which takes up resources doing nothing whereas Numbers takes up only resources I actually use. Hmmm what offers the better deal. Pages allows me to create word processing documents or produce desktop publishing documents whereas Word only offers word processing and to get desktop publishing I would have to use MS Publisher which… oh wait that’s not on the Mac. So essentially I get more with iWork for half the cost. It’s a no brainer really.

32 BigJayhawk { 04.10.10 at 3:05 pm }

Granted, FEW of us could even claim to be as business savvy Jobs — BUT — sometimes I wish people posting comments to blogs like this would just THINK FOR A MOMENT before posting.

Let’s see . . . Apple says to Adobe . . .

By the way, we have a SUPER-SECRET new iPhone OS coming out. We’re announcing it in April. Until then, NO-ONE will know ANYTHING about it (officially, anyway). However, since you are all nice guys and have families to feed, we will tell you to tell them to stop production OR ALTER production (which Adobe could still do) on a feature that will not work with OUR NEW VERSION of OUR iPhone Operating System?!?

HELLO — Apple did not SCREW Adobe’s families by telling Adobe their system will not work with iPhone OS 4 just 4 days before CS5 came out. They told them just days after iPhone OS4 (and it’s SECRET multi-tasking features) were announced!

Just like ANYTHING IN TECH, Adobe will be able to use whatever they want that works with OS3 ONLY UNTIL OS4 is released in the summer and fall just like anyone else. Adobe has several months to alter the system so it compiles to the native C code that it should have been compiling to in the first place. Apple has EVERY RIGHT to be able to test Adobe-made iPhone software for OS4 just like everyone else’s iPhone software for OS4!

Go Dan – great synopsis. However, it’s not FIVE things. It’s just this ONE. Adobe must be compliant with MY EXCELLENT iPhone / iTouch / iPad experience just like everyone else. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck with iCRAP just like the rest of the “Smart Phone” world is stuck with! (That incidentally has NO GOOD FLASH EXPERIENCE EITHER!)

33 hoth { 04.10.10 at 3:11 pm }

“When Apple turned itself around, it was no longer in a position to beg for the support of companies like Adobe and Macromedia and Microsoft. It has begun telling developers what to do. It told Adobe that if it wanted to build 64-bit Mac apps, it would need to do it using Cocoa. Adobe balked for a while, pushing off the 64-bit port of Creative Suite for the Mac by a year and a half. This spring, Adobe will finally get portions of Creative Suite apps to Cocoa, just a decade plus a few years after Apple asked the first time.”

Such an utter gross distortion of the truth that the Republican Party would be envious. Quick, name a major Apple app originally done in Carbon that was ported to Cocoa prior to the last six months or so. That’s easy, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, iTunes….oh wait. That’s right Apple couldn’t even be bothered to port its own apps to Cocoa. FCP and iTunes are still Carbon, so Adobe will actually be ahead of Apple in terms of Cocoa ports of major apps once CS5 is released.

I’m not an Apple developer, so I can’t say this for certain, but it was my understanding that Cocoa doesn’t actually make much, if any difference from the end user perspective. Plus if Carbon was so awful, why did Apple pledge to release a 64 bit version of it, when by that point they clearly had the leverage to force developers to Cocoa. And why did they wait until the last minute to announce the change of plans? Surely the decision was made at least weeks if not months before WWDC. Adobe didn’t “balk” , they were forced to throw away a year plus of work and start over. That’s why Windows had 64 bit PS first. If Apple had kept its promise of 64 bit Carbon or never promised it in the first place, that wouldn’t have happened.

Sorry for injecting reality into your blog…

[So from the perspective of today, yes what you said is correct. But if Apple hadn't been forced to develop Carbon (a massive undertaking) just to get 3rd parties on board, it would have been able to work on Cocoa/Yellow Box, and therefore wouldn't have had to port the Finder to Carbon, but rather could have enhanced NeXT's existing file browser.

Other Apple efforts would have been started in Cocoa or ported immediately, but the delay of MS/Adobe/Macromedia meant that Cocoa itself was delayed to get Carbon done first, which took a long time to plan and execute, and which fundamentally warped the entire architecture of NeXTSTEP/Mac OS X. - Dan ]

34 PhilipWing { 04.10.10 at 3:35 pm }

Curious that choice is good with thousands of Windows applications, many doing the same things as others, but bad when the iTunes App Store has thousands of apps, many doing the same things as others. Analysts want the company with which I work to offer more choice to make more money (sic, suck more money out of consumers for the same or worse). FYI, we went public April 1st… (really, check the papers and the web) :) Oh, and lowedwookie, my wife was and want to be again one of those corporate accountants, although I’m trying to change her mind… :)

35 pa { 04.10.10 at 5:34 pm }

“stanv { 04.10.10 at 2:53 am }
> Oh please, nobody is going to lose their jobs over CS5 features.

And you know this for a fact how? Would be willing to guarantee it to me somehow? Or just throwing words around.”

And how you know about job losses at Adobe as a result of all this?

For your information, I know there were be no families affected because not only Adobe is not firing anyone, they are trying to appeal to Apple engineers’ morals by offering them jobs at Adobe.

This 4 day before release excuse is nonsense. Adobe has been knowingly doing something that was not sanctioned by Apple in a sense similar to the way Palm tried to get iTunes to sync with Pre. Palm know Apple wouldn’t allow it and yet they didn’t give up.

There are well over 100,000 iPhone developers. There have been complaints by many regarding the huge number of existing apps and how hard it is to stand out in the crowd. The least Apple can do to appease the best developers is to prevent some from using third part platforms which will end up causing problems down the road anyway for developers as well as for end users.

Apple does not like to court developers who in order to easily write apps for multiple platforms end up using the lowest common denominator of features and who are not interested in applying themselves to make the best iPhone OS apps – not to mention having to depend on those third parties to catch up with new APIs.

36 FreeRange { 04.10.10 at 5:39 pm }

Another great example of how “wonderful” flash is is how millions of people are now using flash blocking plug-ins in their web browsers when they access the internet making the internet much more responsive and efficient, and their lives much more productive.

37 lowededwookie { 04.10.10 at 6:30 pm }

PhilipWing, I’m not necessarily against accountants but I am against the idea that accountants should have a say in how best to make money. It seems the only place these people look is at the cost of employees when in actual fact you can reduce costs in other places while still retaining the experienced guys.

If your wife becomes an accountant please tell her to be smart and look at the big picture not the area that makes no sense in losing. ;-)

38 nonlinearmind { 04.10.10 at 7:06 pm }

Hey Daniel,
Great article, as usual. I’ve been wondering, since this Apple/Adobe feud has become heated, whether or not you think Adobe could technically create a version of Flash (the CS app) that would allow developers to export out as HTML 5. To me, that would be the wisest choice, because they’d still be selling a Flash (and HTML5) development app. The Flash platform may dwindle, but they’d still have a loyal user base using a “Flash” app for churning out HTML5 content rather than Flash content.

Also, I’ve always wondered how Adobe collects fees from content creators. Could you explain, briefly?

Keep up the good work… and hope you’re staying off the bike!

39 BassPilot { 04.10.10 at 7:24 pm }

Well said, Dan. I am not a developer. Nor am I an expert in web standards. But I *do* know what works well on my computers and in my browsers. I have noticed that most of the time I suffer a browser crash on either my aging Windows XP PC or my MacBook, it is the result of a flash app. I am therefore happy that Apple has made the decision to exclude flash from iPhone OS4. I am not interested in the ease with which developers can compile a monkey-bashing ad for a web page that I might view on my iPhone. Rather, I am interested in my iPhone continuing to work well with practically no need to restart it due to a locked-up app.

I am not an Apple fanboy. I purchased my iPhone 3GS only after being reluctantly convinced that it would benefit me in my daily business routine. I became a fan of the product based upon what it does for me on a daily basis and the utility that I discovered in the product over time. Since my iPhone does all I ask of it every day and does it well, I am loathe to contemplate any change in Apple’s developer standards that would alter its usefulness or functionality.

40 Derek Currie { 04.10.10 at 7:42 pm }

Some personal POV notes:

1) Losing Jobs At Adobe: It may in fact be important for certain people to lose their jobs at Adobe. Their work culture and their attitude toward their customers have been self-destructive for well over a decade. Every company needs to ‘breathe’ as I call it. Out with the bad employees, in with the good employees. In particular, Adobe needs to boot out all the marketing morons who work in management. They never belonged there in the first place. (Definition of ‘marketing moron’: Marketing staff and executives who despise customers except for their ability to hand over cash).

2) Who is /really/ ‘arrogant and unpredictable’? Back in 1999 Apple made it clear that ‘The Future Is Cocoa’. The statement could not be clearer. Who could have predicted that it would take Adobe 11 years to catch up? Why was Adobe so Tardy? Arrogance. They weren’t even paying attention to their own welfare. Delaying the Cocoa re-write of all their Mac apps has been greatly to their detriment. What consumer computer platform went 100% 64-bit in 2006? Macintosh. NOT Windows PCs. Windows PCs may not be 100% 64-bit for YEARS! So Adobe releases 64-bit CS4 for Windows and NOT Mac. That’s self-destructive. It is not Apple’s business to worry about Adobe’s arrogance and unpredictablity as well as their total disregard for Apple’s development roadmap.

3) Flash has sucked for Mac OS X for many years. There is nothing revelational about Apple not supporting Flash on iPods, iPhones and the iPad. Adobe have known full well all these years, despite outrageous lies to the contrary, that Flash is a CPU devouring monster. Only a brain dead OSX mobile device maker would allow such a piece of battery killing crapware on their machine. Gigantic DUH factor here folks! Seeing as Adobe has done NOTHING (again despite their outrageous lies to the contrary) to solve their crap code problem, they get what they deserve.

Cry not for Adobe.

41 motor { 04.10.10 at 8:42 pm }

Adobe killed Freehand and incorporated NONE of its features into Illustrator. When I read the migration guide, the main theme was “you’re S.O.L.” for all of Freehand’s superior features.

F’ Adobe. Freehand, unsupported for seven years now, still runs great on my newest PowerMac. May it outlive Adobe.

42 gus2000 { 04.10.10 at 9:06 pm }

“… behave like a 15 year old girl dramatizing her contempt for those who have offended her in some fashion. Somebody tell the Internet.”

OK, I LOLed.

43 studiodave { 04.10.10 at 11:38 pm }

I laugh at all those of you that think Apple owes Adobe anything other than a swift kick in the pants. Adobe has already dropped support of Apple at least once or do you have a copy of Photoshop Elements 5 for the Mac. No you don’t because Adobe did not release one, they skipped 5 and only after Apple started to regain market share did the decide to make version 6 with it’s missing features as compared to the Windows version of 6. Flash is not allowed here on my computers and I’m glad it’s not on my iPhone and will not be on my iPad.

44 Matthew Fabb { 04.11.10 at 7:07 am }

“Never mind that such accusations have never been thrown about when the subject was developing titles for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, or any other game console.”
Funny you mention this because you can use Flash to create WiiWare games (I imagine technically you could create a full Wii game with Flash, but I’m not sure anyone would want to). Also Flash is known to be used to create the UI screens in certain games on the XBox and PlayStation. While all 3 companies make you jump through hoops to get games approved and have their own custom SDKs, they don’t have limits on what 3rd party tools.

If the end results are the same and native iPhone apps need to be inspected at the byte code level to tell them apart, then Apple could be in legal trouble over ‘restraint of trade’.
“Similarly, while Adobe wasn’t so keen on offering users a Choice of Cocoa support, or a Choice of both HTML5 and Flash output from its development tools”

Adobe has been demoing Dreamweaver CS5 will plenty of HTML5 support since their big Adobe conference MAX last fall. You can even copy and paste Flash animations from Flash CS5 into Dreamweaver CS5 and it’s then outputted via the canvas tag.

Also note that Adobe doesn’t try to stop 3rd party tools from creating Flash content. You can use open source or even commercial tools from outside of Adobe to create Flash content, most using the free Flex open source compiler.

45 cypherpunks { 04.11.10 at 7:14 am }

To retaliate, Adobe doesn’t need to discontinue supporting the Mac. They can do the exact same thing Microsoft did. They can support the Mac, but poorly. Adobe products can hit the Mac market 6 months to a year after Windows. They can run slower, have Windows-style UIs, and possibly have fewer features. They could spend a little less on testing, so it’d be a little less stable too. They’d still be the best-in-class software for the Mac, so Mac users would still buy them (just like they do Office). On the other hand, graphic designers would begin to flock to Windows where the software worked better.

The same goes for Flash. It’s a little slower on the Mac, but if it becomes much slower and much less stable than the Windows version, the Mac browsing experience will suffer, and Apple will hurt.

Adobe, on the other hand, will barely notice.

46 addicted44 { 04.11.10 at 9:21 am }

I think the biggest problem with Adobe currently is that with the Macromedia acquisition they seem to have forgotten that they are a design tools company, and not a format company.

Instead of wasting time creating a Flash -> iPhone utility, they should have been creating a Flash -> HTML5 one, or better yet, just a basic design software outputting in HTML5 (I am not denying HTML5 is not as robust as Flash, but with the Canvas element a lot can still be done with it. The problem is the lack of tools, which is where Adobe needs to step in).

47 berult { 04.11.10 at 9:24 am }

The Art of Creation expresses itself in Ideas and Languages, Substance and Form, Harmony and Opposition, in a compulsive drive toward Freedom; Freedom from a perceived alien, suffocating Truth. Literary genres, Music, Visual Arts beg to canvass Fundamental Differences. So does a Computing Language.

Mozart composed his Requiem in the dawning days of his Life. A Masterpiece of Western Civilization. A Pupil of His had the daunting task to compose the unfinished Part after his passing. Seamless rendering, wouldn’t we all agree, of the Continuum of Mozart’s take on Death. It takes a spiritual kin to convey one’s real apprehension over Death. And over Life.

Job’s expressive language is His alone, no additional layer needs be juxtaposed upon it. I, as a Programmer of sort, can build and extend my reach within the genial constraints of an Original and Proven Perspective on Life in the 21st Century. It’s my call.

48 addicted44 { 04.11.10 at 9:26 am }

At the same time, I don’t see how Apple can enforce this restriction without running afoul of some anti-competitive regulation.

Honestly, Apple needs to just start allowing 3rd party app stores (with the condition that devs cant sell their apps cheaper there), and then they can impose whatever rules they want in their own app Store without hearing any complaints.

The fact that it comes preinstalled with every iPhone and has the restrictions Apple imposes will ensure that the Apple App Store will still be very popular, and most devs will still continue conforming to its rules (since they want to sell on it). At the same time, the other App Store provide a sort of safety valve, in case the App doesnt get approved for the App Store for whatever may be the arbitrary reason of the day.

49 John E { 04.11.10 at 11:09 am }

gee, i wish folks that throw “restraint of trade” around here and elsewhere would take the time to learn what it really refers to. it is about access to markets, not to individual products.

Apple/iPhone in no way dominate the smartphone market. just the opposite, that market has multiple competing OS’s, hardware, and telcos, and Apple holds just one piece of that huge pie. there is no way at all Apple is “restraining trade” in this market. there is no right for anyone to demand access to any one company’s product/services – in this case, the iPhone OS – except if and when it does dominate or control that total market via a “monopoly” or some other kind of control of the total sales. so if Apple wants to build a proprietary OS with tight limits on how to design apps for it, they certainly can. if that leaves out some other companies or developers, too bad. “it’s just business.”

even Apple’s 70% control of the iPod-type PMP market is not enough to trigger this issue. plenty of competition in products from many companies still remains. it is only when a company controls 90+% of a market, like MS/Windows, and there are few if any viable competitors that “restraint of trade” in such matters becomes relevant. (or if two or more companies collude to accomplish the same effect.)

50 lemecdutex { 04.11.10 at 12:59 pm }

You know, until Adobe makes FrameMaker and other apps for the Mac, then I think Apple is smart not to have any reliance on Adobe technology. Adobe has even very offensively recommended Windows PCS as being “best” for their apps, which is disingenuous, because Adobe is the one who made the apps so inefficient on the Mac to begin with.

51 Per { 04.11.10 at 2:41 pm }

@stanv

Of course Adobe knew that Apple wouldn’t hand over the control over its number one asset without a fight. They were just stupid enough to think that Apple would blink first. Don’t be silly and talk about picking up the phone to save those poor, poor, hard working people over at Adobe. Their executives gambled and lost.

52 ludachrs { 04.11.10 at 4:13 pm }

@ 44cypherpunks
yeah thats a brilliant business plan, Quark used the same arrogance to squander a 90% market share of desktop layout to almost 0% in the US. Please, please, please do that Adobe, I can’t wait to see who takes the business away, competition is good and Adobe products are not innovative.

53 JohnWatkins { 04.11.10 at 6:57 pm }

I must say iWork is very nice, for what it is. But what is it? Its an inexpensive least common denominator office suite. Write a thesis with it? Maybe, but you really need something more like word (even with its frustrating behaviors and shortcomings.) Laying out a book? Better get InDesign (an earlier version) or Quark. Do you need a spreadsheet to earn your living? Do *NOT* use Numbers! It chokes on a basic mortgage comparison sheet. Keynote is great of course (Steve and Al use it and care about it afterall!)

This is the one thing I really worry about with Apple. They do make excellent software . . . but then they tend to lose interest in it as the next cool thing comes along. Look at Logic and Final Cut Pro. They’re really cool, groundbreaking and have made a big splash. But now they have served their purpose (make platform viable, show that that kind of SW can be great on a Mac, and sell lots of Mac hardware) and are languishing under neglect.

They need to spin these babies off in a controlled subsidiary like they have with FileMaker and Bento. A group of people who are passionate about the software they produce and maintain, but also care about Apple, Objective C, Cocoa, and cross platform viability (the last thing may not be practical for FinalCut and Logic, but its vital and much easier for something like a database or browser.) Kick those kids out of the house and let them thrive on their own merits!

PS Anyone who thinks its a great idea to use Flash to make native content for the iPhone (or the Mac) is just too stupid to understand Apple’s very smart, and lean strategy for innovative progress (multiprocessing, Grand Central, the reason for Cocoa, etc.) Apple and Apple users will be much better off without their “contributions.”

54 lowededwookie { 04.11.10 at 7:49 pm }

@cypherpunks

Or Apple can do what they did with Final Cut and make their own application that supports their frameworks and use it to lead the industry.

I would welcome an Apple Photoshop over an Adobe one. Maybe they could take Pixelmator over and make it the Photoshop killer it’s rapidly becoming.

This way Apple is in control of it’s own destiny as opposed to relying on old companies that think they have a license to print money.

55 binaryArtisan { 04.11.10 at 8:11 pm }

@ Matthew Fabb (#43)
“If the end results are the same and native iPhone apps need to be inspected at the byte code level to tell them apart, then Apple could be in legal trouble over ‘restraint of trade’.”

What on Earth makes you assume that an automated translation layer will produce results that could at all pass for something that an intelligent human being following established best practices created from scratch?

And I mean that opening exclamation literally: nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere works like this, not just when considering this 3.3.1 scenario.

Let’s say you were putting together a spoken-language phrase book: would you even for a split-second ever consider using something like Google Translate to produce such a book?

The poor suckers who bought your book – relying on it to produce good results – would unknowingly be walking around making complete fools of themselves to the tune of an arbitrary level of clumsiness and offensiveness.

And again, what about Microsoft Frontpage? That offered to easily publish your work to the Internet as HTML files, and best of all you didn’t need to learn all this messy angle-bracket markup language stuff – just use your familiar Office Document layout tools, and we’ll take care of the rest! Only, even at the time the produced web pages would load slowly over dial-up due to bloat and of course in all likelihood only be rendered correctly in Internet Explorer.

And yet again, from the real world (and also plucked semi-randomly from my own primary areas of interest), what about the promise of point-and-shoot cameras?
Just press this button, and we’ll make great photos happen for you!
We’ll focus the lens using smile detection, calculate the exposure for you, stabilize the lens for you so you don’t need to even try to hold it steady or use a tripod, pop up a little flash so you can take pictures in the dark, and then you just connect your camera to your printer and we’ll print out your photos for you.

Only: the resulting photos automatically translated by the camera from a total lack of thought or care on behalf of the photographer will range from ‘total ass’ to ‘meh’.

This is plainly and particularly so when compared to the results from a photographer who takes the time to understand and apply lighting, composition, selective focussing, posing, and so on.
Which, by the way, accounts for the vast majority of photographic material we encounter on a daily basis.

See any parallels with the App store? The absolute saturation of quality we’re accustomed to comparing everything else to, ranging from the ‘total ass’ of Windows Phone 7 to the ‘meh’ of Android.
Funny how the same people who complain most loudly about 3.3.1 are also the ones who dismiss the entire App Store as just Fart Apps.
I think they need a mirror, not a bullhorn.

Just as you cannot just rock up and reasonably expect to submit your point-n-shoot nighttime-flash photos to be used on the cover of any publication that actually considers itself vaguely respectable, Apple is not going to accept the automated translation tool: something that, from all possible real-world examples in any field or discipline you care to name, would be relegated to talentless hacks anyway, as JohnWatkins pointed out before I got finished composing this reply.

NotDirectlyRelevantCounterpoint:

By the way, JohnW, iWork is not a lowest-common-denominator in quite the same context. That’d be OpenOffice.

No, iWork is highly targeted entry level suite (with the obvious exception of Keynote) that is geared to users who will not miss its ‘missing’ features.

It’s Thinking Different, because Office for Mac already exists, and OpenOffice already exists, and Office for Windows running in Parallels already exists… and as just one small example, none of those suites have the publicly-stated goal of making spreadsheets ‘beautiful’.

Complaining about things it purportedly does not do is missing the point as much as complaining that Photoshop Elements doesn’t do everything Photoshop CS does.

56 Finn W { 04.11.10 at 11:25 pm }

Thanks for the great article!

@cypherpunks
Unfortunately, I think Adobe is already doing much of what you describe. The CS4 already features a non-standard flash-based interface. Several Adobe programs lack feature parity with the PC (Acrobat comes to mind). Most, including Flash, have not been optimized for recent Mac hardware and OS. Programs like Photoshop Elements or Premier have delayed releases compared to the PC.

I think the reality is that Mac users simply remain with the older versions, which often have fewer issues and better stability. I think the CS4 sales are likely indicative of this. Adobe only ends up hurting themselves (especially in such cases as Premiere). I don’t see many jumping ship to the Windows side. And if Adobe slows Flash development on the Mac? Well, it doesn’t seem to be hurting the iPhone sales.

Personally, I feel Adobe is reaping what they have sowed. Horrible installers, byzantine updaters, vulnerabilities that constantly need to be patched, onerous copy-protection. The current CS4 Suite has several bugs that I encounter regularly and aren’t deemed worthy of fixing, (or fixing properly). Hopefully this will be a bit of a wakeup call for the company.

There’s a lot of great people and ideas at Adobe, but the company has become somewhat reckless and irresponsible (Quark, is that you?). I don’t blame Apple for wanting to minimize the damage they can do on their new platform. I already patch Acrobat 15 times a year with an auto-updater that fails regularly on my Mac. I don’t need that on my phone.

57 NotAppleFanBoy { 04.12.10 at 12:57 am }

This article (and website) is tremendously nauseating.

Apple just cannot do wrong in Dilger-Land, where the Apple products are magical, and any critical ideas against Apple are met with conscientious arrogance and patronising loyalist diatribe.

“Beware the Adobe propaganda” cries Dilger, and in brackets “digest mine instead”. Hilarious. Donate to this site via Paypal? Even more hilarious.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that HTML5 will not be stepping up to take the place of Flash, unless everyone suddenly turns a blind eye to the huge list of sacrifices that would be needed. Flash is good. iPads and iPhone are also good after they’ve been jailbroken.

[Yeah, I get that you hate people you disagree with and love Adobe Flash, but what's your point? Can't you articulate a position? - Dan ]

58 bastion { 04.12.10 at 6:31 am }

Stanv wrote: “I’ll agree with you for a moment about those “big five myths.” The fact is Adobe has been public about their intentions of releasing Packager for iPhone for over an year,….”

Really?

MacWorld, Oct 5, 2009: “Adobe announced Monday that its developers will be able to use the upcoming version of Flash Professional to create apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. That revelation, made at the company’s Max developer conference in Los Angeles, coincides with the unveiling of its Flash Player 10.1.”

On what planet does six months count as over a year?

“But mere good manners require that at least someone at Apple sent them an email “Sorry, we won’t let that happen” much earlier than *4 days before release*.”

Now the question is: Where’s your evidence that no such communication took place?

59 JohnWatkins { 04.12.10 at 7:09 am }

@ 54binaryArtisan,
If you read the original comment you would see that Loadedwookie implies that iWork is a suitable alternative to MS Office. I’m merely pointing out that its definitely not equivalent for power users.
Its an incredible value for $80, but its features and functions are limited. In particular, Numbers is cool and groundbreaking, but really not ready for prime time. Sure, organize your kids soccer team roster with it, but don’t try to run a business on it!
And attend to the distinction between ‘observations’ and ‘complaints.’

60 WaltFrench { 04.12.10 at 8:01 am }

@Ludachrs 51, I think you missed the joke by 44: this is exactly what Adobe has done: a slower, raggedy Flash experience in Safari, a way-behind-other-platforms Photoshop.

Adobe can claim technical excuses; Safari has been pretty dynamic and Flash has had to jump thru hoops; Apple was not as forceful as it might have been in telling Adobe to port to Cocoa. (Planned 64-bit support was dropped from Carbon as a throw-the-horses-overboard lat-minute re-direction.)

61 ggarzo { 04.12.10 at 8:32 am }

binaryArtisan { 04.11.10 at 8:11 pm }

>I think they need a mirror, not a bullhorn.

outstanding!

62 stefn { 04.12.10 at 9:48 am }

Isn’t it kind of like telling Target or Sears that it has to ship its merchandise by UPS rather than Fedex? It is literally nobody’s business how Apple conveys its content.

63 GeorgeFromNY { 04.12.10 at 10:30 am }

One small thing…

“The same people who seem so morally outraged about about Apple’s still minority share of the smartphone market (in terms of hardware units sold), seemed completely cool with Microsoft’s reign over the entire PC market, which it micromanaged in meticulous detail, telling PC makers what hardware they could and could not sell, what software they could not bundle, and so on. (DED)”

Regarding software bundling, MS is guilty as charged.

But micro-managing hardware? Wintel users should have been so lucky. The PC hardware market has been mob-rule chaos since the late 80s when IBM shot itself in the leg with the PS/2 MCA platform, and followed up by shooting itself in the head with OS/2.

Fact is, one of the (few) advantages of PCs was the ability to kit your machine out in any one of a zillion configurations – Microsoft didn’t care, so long as you were running Windows.

[Starting around 1990, Microsoft began issuing "reference designs" telling PC makers how to build their machines. It set minimum standards and effectively decreed what things would be cost effective to include because MS was issuing them for all makers, because they were all using Windows.

MS recognized this was the only way it could compete with Apple. Google hasn't really recognized this with Android, where it is far more permissive and lets everyone have their own UI. - Dan]

64 GeorgeFromNY { 04.12.10 at 12:39 pm }

Dan,

Starting around 1990? I don’t follow that at all.

If you’re referring to the MS-Intel PC System Design Guide, that existed from 1997 to 2001 and was barely enforced.

Windows 3.0 did debut in 1990 and was the first truly successful version. But I was using (and building) PCs back then and I well remember DOS mattering more than Windows.

As I recall, Apple chose to go upmarket with the Mac II line in the late 80s, throttling down support for its only low-end, entry-level machine, the ][gs – which it would kill it outright in 92.

While the Macs were wonderful machines and well worth the higher price, the market for DOS PCs simply exploded like nothing before seen – indeed, like nothing we’d see until Windows 95. Cheap DOS machines (later, DOS + Win3.0/1) from OEMs and whitebox shops rocketed Microsoft and Intel ahead in market share and installed base.

Lo, did the Microsoft-Intel juggernaut sweep o’er the land!

I miss those days. The drama of the OS/2 fiasco. My delightful Mac IIci. The final acts of the Amiga and Atari ST and the death-rattle of those odd British platforms. The arrival of SoundBlaster and Red Book audio. Issues of Computer Shopper that could stop a bullet.

I do not miss VL-Bus and clumsy SCSI rigs, though. What a pain that was.

People who built, serviced and used PCs had to worry about no end of compatibility hassles and flaky components in those fell times, but I don’t remember Redmond micro-managing hardware to any degree.

Tech history debates aside, I love Roughly Drafted! Thanks for taking the time to reply.

65 gslusher { 04.12.10 at 4:56 pm }

JohnWatkins wrote:

“I must say iWork is very nice, for what it is. But what is it? Its an inexpensive least common denominator office suite. Write a thesis with it? Maybe, but you really need something more like word (even with its frustrating behaviors and shortcomings.) Laying out a book? Better get InDesign (an earlier version) or Quark.”

Well, that covers 0.00034% of the users. What about the rest? Few people are writing theses or laying out books. Most people need to write letters, make flyers and newsletters, make simple spreadsheets, etc. For most of us, learning Word, much less Excel, is a massive waste of time and effort for nearly zero payoff. It’s a bit like having to go to a truck driving school when you really just want to drive a Honda Civic. (I have Office 2004 and NeoOffice, as people persist in sending Word and Excel documents. Most of the Word documents are pure text–though the authors will use 14 colors, 8 fonts, 6 type sizes, and every possible style–and could have been done in a text editor, or, better, directly in the email. Most of the Excel documents use no functions more sophisticated than “SUM.”) If you need a complex tool for word processing or spreadsheets, then, by all means, spend the time and effort to learn Word & Excel. Me? I’ll stick to iWork (and AppleWorks, as well).

66 bazjapan { 04.12.10 at 5:04 pm }

Hmmm, funny I have always seen great utility in a cross platform vm.
Now especially with many having touch screen support, it seems a real viable option for delivering rich media experiences using the web as a delivery tool. If you see the web as a place to read text, hey who needs the richness of a vm. But if you think it can offer more than that then maybe vms can be part of that too and even help push it forward. As for Adobe, aren’t they just a tools vendor who sell software so that their customers can make cool stuff? A quick read through some links on google would also suggest that they are making steps to open source some of their technologies. What’s with the hate? I am an iphone user and think it is great. If not via the browser, it would be nice to see a swf player in the app store. Lets hope freedom to choose will prevail.

[I'd encourage you to read the article, not just reply to the headline. This is not an issue of "hate" for Adobe, but rather the opposite of everything you just wrote.

Quick, name a successful "cross platform vm" … Java on the desktop? Silverlight? Flash, which only really works on the Windows PC browser? Sorry, "a cross platform vm" has been tried a lot, and all it creates is a lowest common denominator mess. Look at the web itself: it works, but is pretty limited in significant ways. It is no substitute for native apps - Dan]

67 JohnWatkins { 04.12.10 at 6:45 pm }

@ 65gslusher
Exactly (sort of.) As I said, “iWork is very nice,” “Its an incredible value for $80,” etc. iWork will work for most personal use, **but** it is not a **substitute** for Office. It is not **equivalent** to office (both for good and bad.)
And your estimate of 0.00034% of users needing some advanced office suite features is ridiculously low. Most people working in any kind of basic, ordinary work from sales to typical office work, to advanced high school or college have need of the advanced features for spreadsheets and/or word processing. Pages may be fairly good, but Numbers is not nearly adequate for normal use. Don’t even think of using Numbers for tracking your finances (In your case maybe not, if you really think, “For most of us, learning Word, much less Excel, is a massive waste of time and effort.” Can you even get a job if you can’t use Word and Excell?)
For the level of use you seem to envision TextEdit is probably sufficient.

68 bwana { 04.12.10 at 7:08 pm }

Pardon the intrusion but I feel a lot of the hubub about the new SDK locking out certain dev tools lacks something. All this talk of conflict between Jobs and the developers neglects the human aspect. Jobs was critically ill. He was served with a death sentence. And survived. That kind of event changes one’s perspective on life. It takes you out of the short term. It allows you to make greater gambles with greater aplomb. So Jobs’ perhaps sees this as his last chance to help his apple survive, and he is reacting to tragedies of the past.

OTOH, the thousands of developers are like fish trying to stay in the school. They know what they know because of all the others around them. When adobe sprinkles some ‘fish food’ like the adobecs5 compiler, the developers school turns to it. For apple to fight this natural urge, it has to sprinkle some of its own fish food onto the developers. Apple needs to mod its development tools so they can produce apps that run on other platforms. As a prominent developer, how do you feel about something like this?

[I don't follow the logic behind the idea that "Apple needs to mod its dev tools to produce apps that run on other platforms." Apple isn't trying to spread its platform (like Microsoft), it's trying to sell its hardware platform. Creating or facilitating the creation of apps for other platforms would do the opposite of what the company is aiming to do. - Dan]

69 cadillac88 { 04.12.10 at 10:37 pm }

There’s a lot written about Apple Software so it is easy to think Apple is a software company. Same with iTunes -I used to think that Apple made a big chunk of its money on iTunes. And OSX. But in fact, any software written by Apple is ultimately meant to promote hardware sales. Hardware is the money maker. OSX is the shiny bow on the iMac. iTunes is the iPod’s pretty wrapper. And the SDK a gift card on anything that runs iPhone OS and is looking more and more like the gate leading straight into the company’s backyard -its just that Adobe can’t go in there because they want to set up their backyard right smack in the middle of Apple’s backyard. Apple still wants the developers but they have to leave their rather large friend outside.

70 ytpete { 04.13.10 at 2:07 am }

Wow, this is full of false rhetorical devices. Let’s just pick two:

Myth #2:
You’re essentially making this argument: ‘Flash wasn’t ready for mobile in 2007, so Apple shouldn’t support it on mobile in 2010.’ The state of things in 2007 has little or no bearing on the present in the fast-moving software world. You could use this same logic to ‘prove’ that we should all communicate via smoke signals (the telephone network wasn’t ready for prime time back in 1830, ergo it’s still useless years of development later).

[Well no it's simpler that that. If you didn't catch it, it's that Adobe had no mobile strategy, and so it got bypassed. Apple is no longer interested in turning back the clock to play with Adobe's closed, outdated, and DOM-unfriendly Flash when there are better, open, modern, and web-savvy technologies available. - Dan]

Bonus:
You also talk here about Apple dominating the mobile web-browsing scene, but evidence suggests Android devices are set to surpass iPhone OS traffic in the near future: http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/29/stats-iphone-os-is-still-king-of-the-mobile-web-space-but-andr/

["Set to surpass" isn't news, it's a prediction. Itanium was once set to surpass x86 once, just as Gartner. And the data Engadget is supplying isn't platform's share of web traffic, it's share of ads being displayed. App Store titles are more likely to be paid, while Android hobbyist apps are more likely to be adware, because Google is pushing Android as an adware platform for selling its ads, while Apple is pushing the iPhone as a hardware platform and creating value with creating a real market for software, not adware-supported junk.]

Myth #5:
You set up a false dichotomy: “a web based on open, interoperable standards” vs. “all dynamic content being locked up in Flash.” Actually, neither one of those is “choice” since they both only offer one way to build/deliver content. Choice would be allowing both onto the device: let the market of developers and app customers decide which, if any, wins.

Apple, of course, has always pushed closed platforms over choice, and it usually has been to that platform’s detriment (e.g. PCs dominating the desktop market).

[Completely wrong on every level. Both Apple and Microsoft promoted platforms with closed/proprietary APIs, so there was no "open" advantage to Windows over the Mac. In fact, Microsoft was far more hostile to its 3rd party developers. While Apple worked to appease MS, Adobe, Macromedia, etc, MS worked to kill off WordPerfect, Lotus, Apple, Netscape, Sun, and many many other Windows developers and steal their app businesses. So your old song about how Apple lost by being open is 180 degrees wrong. Apple lost on the Mac because it was open and allowed its developers to screw it over repeatedly, starting with Microsoft and continuing through the rest of them.]

In this case, Apple is very deliberately hurting the bottom line of content creators to fatten their own wallet, and I think people are finally beginning to see that.

[Only ignorant people who want to believe nonsense. Apple is simply working to benefit itself, joining the ranks of Microsoft, Adobe and everyone else that has served themselves first. That's what companies are supposed to do, because not doing that means they go out of business, which Apple nearly did in the mid 90s after a decade of allowing 3rd party developers to trample it and then steal all of its value and abandon it. It's about time the company stopped groveling for Adobe's attention and began serving its own interests, which directly serve the interests of its customers as well.

If content creators are too dumb to figure out where the demand is, then they deserve to get jobs pumping gas. Those who look out for their own interests will learn new tricks and stay comfortably busy with lots of work. - Dan]

71 ericgen { 04.13.10 at 6:40 am }

I find it amusing that Adobe is calling this a “slap in the face” to Apple’s iPhone and iPad developers. There’s a logical inconsistency there. If they’re already an iPhone or iPad developer, they’re already NOT using Flash. Therefore, Apple is in no way harming any of their developers (admittedly, some apps are already in the store that started life as Flash, but this is a very small number compared to the total).

Apple is “slapping in the face” people who want to develop applications for the iPhone OS platform but who do not want to invest in learning the iPhone OS platform. I don’t see that as a bad thing. This “slap in the face” should be viewed as a “wakeup and smell the coffee” motivator, not a negative affront.

72 bazjapan { 04.13.10 at 7:54 am }

@Dan,
I did read the article thanks. I am no flash lover but are you telling me that a cross platform vm such as flash could not replicate the functionality of 99% of the apps currently in the app store? As for it’s success that is a debate in itself. It’s all well and good bashing it now, but it was a god send when we had to play the codec game. This is about economics nothing more nothing less. Apple are a great company and so are Adobe both have been pioneers in the industry. Lets hope they sort it out as flash isn’t half as bad as it’s been made out to be. Hey another quick search on the web would suggest adobe are even pushing formalized development practices for some dev framework they have come up with called flex. One last thought though I may be well off base but could it not be argued that if Apple could slow the progress of the web it’d be in their best interests?

[You're worried that Apple is slowing the progress of the web? Would that be because Apple spearheaded the development of WebKit, a leader in web standards and now the most popular by far of all mobile browsers engines? Sounds like you have that backwards: it is Microsoft and Adobe who are against web progress, because they're enjoying the remnants of their 90's monopolies over the browser and content plugins, respectively.

I also keep hearing this argument that Apple is against Flash because if it existed for the iPhone, then all development would be done in Flash and the App Store would crumble and Apple would lose its 30% cut. This is absolutely ridiculous on so many levels, but it makes "common sense" to people who don't know anything and who fear science.

For starters, if developers were so hot to trot on mobile Flash, why didn't things work out similarly on Windows Mobile or Palm or Symbian, all of which had lots of apps and eventually had some sort of Flash Lite that nobody used over the past half decade. Oh that's right: there WAS NO REAL FLASH FOR MOBILES UNTIL THIS YEAR.

And now that there is Flash on Android, and now that 10.1 supposedly works so AWESOMELY, why hasn't Android Market blown away and been replaced by tons of wonderful Flash content and games? Maybe that's because FLASH SUCKS AND WONT EVER REPLACE NATIVE APPS. Or maybe its because NOBODY GIVES A RAT'S ASS ABOUT FLASH CRAPLET GAMES. Or maybe A BUSINESS MODEL IS IMPORTANT AND FLASH DOESN'T HAVE ONE.

In any event, I'll stop using all caps if all you Hotmail/MSN people stop the Tea Party chant about how Apple is blocking Flash garbage to prevent the App Store from falling apart. Because that's complete Beck.

Take no personal offense, I just like to write like that - Dan]

73 ysysarchitect { 04.13.10 at 10:58 am }

I have scrambled to get up to speed on iPhone and iPad app development, not only to understand how apps are created in Xcode/Interface-Builder, but also to try to understand this Adobe issue. I am really impressed with the security models in place in Mac OSX and iPhone. ( see also http://www.trustedbsd.org/mac.html and Apples’ own PDF on the topic 26048.0 Security Overview ) Seems like maybe Adobes’ Flash is somewhat lacking on security, but because it’s its own black-box, hard to say.

It seems to me that the market and the competition has to deal with the reality that iPhone and iPad are full of a lot of high potential. This kinetic force in the market is going to make some competitors scramble and others are going to realize they can never catch up to a particular product, in this case, the iPad.

But the way business works, you cannot simply usurp or invade the sovereignty of one companies’ right to do things the way they want. It appears clear that Apple in its own quirky way is not only leading in consumer satisfaction, but also leading in trying to do the right things in technology. Nobody -must- buy an iPad. The market will decide whether or not Flash is important. I think it’s off to a great start, and I hope Adobe will think of the larger context that they can’t force their proprietary products any more than Apple can into the market. Microsoft seems to be losing market share because of that very reason, but if they like a lot of companies can present a valid case for their products, the all-important “value-add” then the market will respond positively to their offerings.

74 bastion { 04.13.10 at 12:09 pm }

“It’s all well and good bashing it now, but it was a god send when we had to play the codec game.”

Just because something sucked less than the alternative doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to stick with it when something that sucks even less comes along.

“Lets hope they sort it out as flash isn’t half as bad as it’s been made out to be.”

Ultimately, the absence of Flash on the iPhone comes down to one very-widely-reported clause in the developer agreement. No execution of arbitrary code. I’m not sure how bad you think Flash is, or how bad you perceive it’s been made out to be but for many people it has been a necessary evil. The difference now is that it’s rapidly becoming less necessary. Apple’s on the record as saying that the overwhelming majority of crash logs they’ve seen involve a single browser plugin. Not all browser crash logs. The majority of all crash logs regardless of application. What single browser plugin is on virtually every Mac?

“One last thought though I may be well off base but could it not be argued that if Apple could slow the progress of the web it’d be in their best interests?”

I’d vote for “off-base.” If you think otherwise, leave behind the innuendo and lay our your justification for that implication.

75 ysysarchitect { 04.13.10 at 12:38 pm }

bastion,

It appears to me that all the relevant players will have to come UP to Apples’ standards. I have yet to see anything from any other ‘player’ that is doing things beyond the “best” that Apple is doing. Google will certainly have mass appeal to people that can’t or won’t buy Apple. Google tablet customers will be perfectly content with their choice, but I suspect Google will care less about their customers over time than Apple does. At any rate, it is fun to see Microsoft on the ropes because of the impending black cloud that Google will bring with their tablet…. :-)

All the players seem to want to bash Apple for good fun, but in the final analysis the Apple consumer/customer base seems oblivious to the tirade from Adobe or even their own friends and family that seem somehow disadvantaged when Flash isn’t available. There is far more to like about the iPad than to worry about Flash.

Apple products seem to have the right pieces in the right places for durability.

Make no mistake, the UI on my Mac can be quite frustrating at times, but I’ve learned how to make it work simply because I know and trust the OS is doing the right things, and that frees me up to focus on my work, not whether or not I did a virus upgrade and have to look over my shoulder to see what new surprise awaits me. That would include having to buy more and more crap from 3rd-party vendors that exploit the weak security on Windows. Apple customers are not always happy, no customer base is, but the alternatives out there keep their customers in place. Gee, I can’t imagine going back to Windows, and suffer that mess. I also like to think Mac, and even FreeBSD are the real influencers now in Linux, and the momentum is growing.

For all the criticism of Apple, they price their software right in most cases, especially for the mass market, they -produce- the software right, and the have really good security in place. Not to mention they contribute back to the community, something I never hear about from Adobe.

If anything, Adobe is a monolithic entity that communicates horribly, and has said little why it hasn’t evolved. If Flash is not really well thought out, especially for 64-bit, and the high quality of Apple, all they have to do is go back and make it better. Adobe simply has to come UP to standards, not try to whine and cry that Apple won’t come _down_ to their mess. There was a time when Adobe actually was perceived as being high-quality, maybe the runoff from all this negative press will actually make them re-think Flash to avoid the cost to their other products.

76 geoffrobinson { 04.13.10 at 12:55 pm }

Daniel,

I heard the theory that supporting 3rd party APIs (which what would happen if you have a cross-platform compiler) would result in much headaches in terms of a release schedule. Backward compatibility and all that.

Any truth in that concern?

77 marsviolet { 04.13.10 at 4:01 pm }

A Google+Adobe+Microsoft axis of evil would prove that Apple is doing something right. However, both Google and Microsoft secretly want Flash to die, so don’t expect this imaginary axis to have legs.

78 ysysarchitect { 04.13.10 at 6:01 pm }

Google should outfox all of them by just giving everyone who wants one, their phone or tablet. The condition is if you choose the phone for free option, Google reserves the right to let their advertisers call you at any time of the day or night. If you choose the AdPad you let Google popup ad widgets at any moment while you are using it.

79 ytpete { 04.14.10 at 2:19 am }

Dan — I wanted to respond to a few of the points you inlined into my post #70 up above…

>> Well no it’s simpler that that. If you didn’t catch it, it’s that Adobe had no mobile strategy, and so it got bypassed. Apple is no longer interested in turning back the clock <> “Set to surpass” isn’t news, it’s a prediction. <> the data Engadget is supplying isn’t platform’s share of web traffic, it’s share of ads being displayed <> not adware-supported junk <> Completely wrong on every level. Both Apple and Microsoft promoted platforms with closed/proprietary APIs, so there was no “open” advantage to Windows over the Mac. <> Apple is simply working to benefit itself … That’s what companies are supposed to do <> there are better, open, modern, and web-savvy technologies available. <> Look at the web itself: it works, but is pretty limited in significant ways. It is no substitute for native apps << (up in comment #66)

I think this is an important point: Apple supporting HTML 5 and the like is *not* in its best interest. Apps written in cross-platform, non-native HTML 5 do not help differentiate Apple's hardware from the competition. Either Apple serves its self-interest and pushes Apple-only native apps, or it encourages HTML apps and hurts its interests by becoming more of a commoditized platform — but you can't have it both ways.

I totally agree that every company acts in its own self-interest (in fact they have a fiduciary duty to). But — some companies' self-interest can be more aligned with their customers and users than others'. In this case I think it's pretty clear that Apple's interest in selling iPhones is *not* aligned with content producer's interest in making their material as widely available as possible.

80 ytpete { 04.14.10 at 2:24 am }

Ack, sorry, let me try that again with less markup destruction…

Dan — I wanted to respond to a few of the points you inlined into my post #70 up above…

>> Well no it’s simpler that that. If you didn’t catch it, it’s that Adobe had no mobile strategy, and so it got bypassed. Apple is no longer interested in turning back the clock

Sounds like you’re still saying ‘Apple shouldn’t be bothered to support some technology because N years ago, it wasn’t good enough.’ No one is asking Apple to support 2007-era Flash.

And I disagree that “Adobe had no mobile strategy”: they were in the mobile phone space years before Apple was.

>> “Set to surpass” isn’t news, it’s a prediction.

Ok, so let’s get concrete: since the end of the summer, Android’s share of the data has increased 30 percentage points, while Apple’s has slightly declined. The two are roughly even today, with Android on a strong uptrend and Apple on a slight downtrend. I’d sum that up as “set to surpass.”

>> the data Engadget is supplying isn’t platform’s share of web traffic, it’s share of ads being displayed

Good point. But, if I was running an ad-supported website, I’d care a great deal about share of ads being displayed.

>> not adware-supported junk

There are a few hundred million Google search, Facebook, Pandora, etc. users who would beg to differ that ad-supported things are “junk.”

>> Completely wrong on every level. Both Apple and Microsoft promoted platforms with closed/proprietary APIs, so there was no “open” advantage to Windows over the Mac.

I disagree, but more importantly you’re not responding to my main point, which was that your “Myth #5″ sets up a false dichotomy between all-HTML-5 and all-Flash. The debate is about allowing Flash-created native apps to compete *alongside* hand-coded native apps. No one is talking about dropping JS or Objective C support.

>> Apple is simply working to benefit itself … That’s what companies are supposed to do

Related to that, I want to contrast these statements you’ve made:
>> there are better, open, modern, and web-savvy technologies available.
>> [from comment #66] Look at the web itself: it works, but is pretty limited in significant ways. It is no substitute for native apps

I think this is an important point: Apple supporting HTML 5 and the like is *not* in its best interest. Apps written in cross-platform, non-native HTML 5 do not help differentiate Apple’s hardware from the competition. Either Apple serves its self-interest and pushes Apple-only native apps, or it encourages HTML apps and hurts its interests by becoming more of a commoditized platform — but you can’t have it both ways.

I totally agree that every company acts in its own self-interest (in fact they have a fiduciary duty to). But — some companies’ self-interest can be more aligned with their customers and users than others’. In this case I think it’s pretty clear that Apple’s interest in selling iPhones is *not* aligned with content producer’s interest in making their material as widely available as possible.

81 elliot_geno { 04.14.10 at 8:08 pm }

HTML 5 is to Apple as Flash is to Adobe.

And once advertisers get a hold of it… Cough… iAd.
HTML 5 will be 99.9% bad too…

There is only one difference. Adobe doesn’t sell or host the ads.

Oh… and just because its HTML doesn’t mean all that motion, video and audio will be any less taxing on your machine.

[Not sure exactly what you're saying, but HTML5 is not at all owned by Apple, nor can Apple in any way control or limit how other parties interpret or optimize their rendering of HTML5 content. Adobe fully owns Flash.

Additionally, there are multiple problems with Flash. One is the design of the overall platform, another is playback on the plugin. Another is that web playback is all done through a browser plugin, which is a really bad/insecure way to deliver content. Content is also delivered as a binary, which is why you get a waiting prompt. And unlike the whole point of the web, Flash doesn't integrate into the DOM, so you can't layer components and make them translucent and rotate them or animate them in the page using CSS. Flash is an alternative to the web, not a part of the web.

Yes, graphics intensive things will still need CPU to run whether implemented in HTML5 or Flash, but Flash eats up the CPU doing nothing, not just when it has big graphics to render. It is clearly not built well. HTML5 is also much easier for platform makers to accelerate and optimize the performance of; with Flash, they have to wait for Adobe to care, and Adobe has made it clear that it does not care about anything but the Windows PC. Which is why Adobe is just now scrambling to deliver a player for various mobile platforms. How long will it continue to care about those platforms? When the show ends? When iPhone shows that there's no point in rendering Flash on a mobile device? -Dan]

82 Player-16 { 04.14.10 at 11:14 pm }

@elliot_geno:
‘There is only one difference. Adobe doesn’t sell or host the ads.”
No. They make the plug-in that mounts inside your machine that reads the Adobe ad which is why many web surfers install flash blockers.

Dan: this topic seems to be right for me to rattle your cage by mentioning a couple of things. 1st: nothingGrinder. Talk about a brown-nose. He went in a round-a-bout way not answering then, when, pressed, answering my question (poorly) and cut me off as well as calling you a lier. The major answer(s) was this:

‘”Implementing Flash Player and AIR in a manner that is consistent, updatable, and addressable by third-party developers”

Thanks to the partnership with Google, the Flash Player will be automatically updated without needing user approval. This will ensure more stability and security in the Flash Player.’
(Read http://blog.nothinggrinder.com/id-rather-be-a-woz)

So I read into this and a few key words popped up; ‘consistent, updatable, and addressable’ and ‘partnership with Google’ then finally ‘automatically updated without needing user approval’. Partnership. This was the BIG ONE that leads me to my 2nd: The Open Screen Project.

‘”Obviously, Adobe wants to make money, this is why they are pushing to have Flash become the new internet standard. The OSP is the first step to doing so. The plugin architecture created between them and Google is step two. Link http://www.openscreenproject.org “‘

I’ve been trolling around the web in limited fashion seeing if anyone has refereed to Adobe’s OSP that many large and small companies are climbing aboard (except one) No one’s said anything; not even that Hank Williams guy. Now, what I would like to know -since you’re more ‘freely’ available than Gruber- your opinion on this for the many ‘Flash Brigade’ – like nGn- are spewing your 5 myths all over the place. I honestly think Apple is doing the right thing by disallowing Adobe. With the OSP, Adobe will have a HUGE user base and use it to bully Apple into submission to add Adobe’s plug-ins.

…or will this need to be a separate topic?
————-
Correct me if I’m wrong for I do not have the SDK agreement with me but I discovered this on ‘developer.appcelerator.com’, iPhone App’s that were rejected received a letter with this quote about a month ago:

“3.3.1 Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs … The following non-public APIs are included in your application: u_charType ucol_close ucol_getAttribute ucol_getLocaleByType ucol_open ucol_setAttribute ucol_strcoll”.

This indicates Apple had already set the wheels in motion and it’s just been discovered and revised for the iPad.

83 Derek Currie { 04.15.10 at 12:30 pm }

I rarely do this, but I believe it needs emphasis:

elliot_geno sez: “just because its HTML doesn’t mean all that motion, video and audio will be any less taxing on your machine.”

Dan sez: “Flash eats up the CPU doing nothing”

What Dan pointed out here is the SUPREME problem with Flash. Why would any application be eating your CPU alive when it has NOTHING to do? What exactly is Flash doing when nothing at all is playing and yet Flash is chewing up every CPU cycle it can get its hands on? At the very least, this is POOR programming. Adobe may well not have created the code, but they are now responsible for it.

Surely everyone here has experienced this: You play a Flash video on a website. It finishes. You leave that page up and open up another. You play that Flash video until it finishes. You open up another Window and read some stuff that leads you to another Flash video, that plays and stops. With each added, stopped, supposedly qquiescent Flash video, your CPU activity increases to the point where your computer’s fan is blowing like mad to keep the temperature down. And NOTHING IS PLAYING! This is why I consider Flash to be GARBAGE. If Adobe aren’t willing to clean it up, then kill it dead. This behavior by any application is entirely unacceptable.

Adobe’s “evangelist” has gone out of his way to LIE and INSULT Apple and BULLSH*T all of us with deceit, diverting attention away from this SUPREME problem. And yet it lives on. No other program in my experience has ever done this, short of one that has gone into a race condition, which is clearly not the case with Flash.

Conclusion: Flash is CRAP PROGRAMMING.

Adobe: Either FIX IT or put Flash out of our misery now. Oh, and please stop LYING to us. In case they never taught you in biznizz skool:

Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned.

84 josh { 04.16.10 at 8:26 am }

dan, i agree with almost everything you wrote but in the real world there are still some issues for me concerning the ipad. i see the ipad as primarily a consumer (i.e. non-techy) device. i really want to buy one for my korean mother-in-law who will be staying in the states with us this summer. we could set it up in korean (i am assuming that functionality is already built in). the problem for me is the korean web. for a country of smart innovative people, they really have their heads up their a**es when it comes to web design. almost every korean website has active-x widgets and they love flash. everytime, we bring a macbook to seoul, my relatives love it… until they try to use it for the web. it’s no use trying to explain to people that a site doesn’t work because it’s designed wrong. my wife and i have fusion installed on our macs primarily to run internet explorer. i know it sucks but that’s reality and it’s going to stay that way for a long time. i applaud apple for fighting the good fight but until this is resolved, i probably will just stand on the sidelines with my dual platform macbook.

85 JoseGaldamez { 04.17.10 at 11:25 pm }

Dan, this is golden. Many lulz from the article and the ensuing comments. The weed analogy was my fave. Peace.

86 InfoWorld’s Galen Gruman fails to understand Apple, Adobe Flash — RoughlyDrafted Magazine { 05.10.10 at 4:39 pm }

[...] Five Tremendous Apple vs. Adobe Flash Myths [...]

87 maniek { 05.14.10 at 12:49 pm }

>> HTML5 is also much easier for platform makers to accelerate and optimize the performance of; with Flash, they have to wait for Adobe to care, and Adobe has made it clear that it does not care about anything but the Windows PC. Which is why Adobe is just now scrambling to deliver a player for various mobile platforms.

HOW is html/js/css easier to optimise if there are: 3+ different browsers and html adoption time is 5+ years ? new version of fp adoption time is 1-2 years for 95% between version 8 and 9 there was a difference in effciency between 10 to 30 TIMES. Hows that compared to “optimising html” ? And how it differes from optimising actionscript ?

[You missed "for platform makers." Also, a goal of HTML5 is to clarify how to implement the spec better than HTML 4 did, meaning there will be fewer issues between browsers. We see that already. there's no massive headache to target FF/Safari/Chrome/Opera, even if it is not perfect yet. Also, the real world answers your questions about how fast JavaScript is evolving via competition between Apple, Google, and Mozilla, compared to the speed of ActionScript developing within Adobe. - Dan ]

Adobe plans to bring a good mobile player started long before apple thing started. It may be simple to create 1 app for iphone and forget it. 10.1 player will work on EVERY main platform and mobile. Thats a HUGE thing.

[It's a huge promise. Adobe hasn't been able to make a player that works well across two desktop platforms where there are few performance challenges (a fast idle CPU most of the time) and no problems related to network use, power efficiency, thermal issue, etc. So now you're ready to believe that Adobe is going to roll out 5 flawless mobile clients over the next year? And that it will work well to have content targeted at both desktop web and mobile devices? ]

Dont tell me Steve wants to applications be created in HTML5, as he knows what are its possibilities, and those are really poor. Why would he support platform that could bring appstore to floor ? He wouldnt. Why noone tells h.264 codec license ends in 2016 ? Apple wont pay for it, every one else will.

[Think before you create conspiracy theories. Apple is busy creating web apps. Every heard of MobileMe? The App Store isn't Apple's only business.

And as for your rabid change of direction to H.264: that's also the codec Flash uses now. There is no licensing issue, only FUD from Ogg zealots. You're confusing your ideological fantasies. One is an argument for Free everything, the other is an argument that open is the devil. You can't argue both at once without looking like an uninformed idiot. ]

How is it flash worked well on 3.0 version of safari, and on 4.0 it doeasnt ? Apple just does a bad programming (quoting one of the comments ) How is it it works well on Chrome, Firefox, IE and a whole PC platform ? Who talks about optimisation for apple if they cant do it on their own platform ? Itunes is one of the worst nightmares on PC, ask anyone, dont ask me. I have an iphone and havent use itunes since last year. It creeps me out.

So better not talk about coding skills of anyone inside apple.

[Flash has never worked all that well on the Mac platform, but if you have facts to support you claim that Safari 4 introduced new problems for Flash, you need to present them. I don't think you're a credible source given your other comments.

Also, notice that you blame Apple for Flash not working on the Mac, and again blame Apple for iTunes not working ideally on Windows. Perhaps Apple isn't at issue as much as Flash being terrible on the Mac, and Windows being a terrible OS that doesn't support multiple processes very well. I mean, the rest of the world knows that, it's about time you learned it as well. - Dan ]

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