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Apple and Adobe Debate the Meaning of 'Open'

  • May 3, 2010
  • By Developer.com Staff

Apple CEO Steve Jobs says Adobe's Flash isn't open, it's a solution to yesterday's problem and it's time for the Web video industry to move on to HTML5 and say goodbye to the Flash plugin.

In a lengthy diatribe blasting Adobe Flash, Jobs said, "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short."

Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayen fired back at Jobs during an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Narayen said Apple's claim that Flash is a closed platform is disingenuous when Apple forces developers into two tracks, one for Apple and one for everyone else.

National Public Radio's Jeremy Pennycook reporting for "All Tech Considered" said, "Apple's stringent approval process for distribution in the App Store is well known. In one recent high-profile case, Pulitzer winning cartoonist Mark Fiore's app was refused because it 'ridicules public figures.'"

Frankly, neither Apple nor Adobe are open source utopias, but as Jobs noted, new Web standards, such as HTML5, can supplant Flash by allowing video to played in a browser without a plugin.

"But HTML5 is new and adoption isn't widespread," Pennycock said, "so iPhone and iPad users will have to keep staring at little blue boxes instead of Flash videos."

While Jobs has dumped Flash from its product line, Google, which owns YouTube, is adding it to their mobile and open source products such as the Chrome Web browser.


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