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Steve Jobs issues open letter on Flash

'It's old. It's rubbish for mobile. Namaste'

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Steve Jobs has posted a lengthy "open letter" explaining Apple's antipathy to Adobe's Flash.

"It's old. It's rubbish for mobile. Namaste", would have been succinct, and quite adequate, but His Steveness feels it's worth a 1,700 word detour.

Jobs points out that open standards such as HTML5 and SVG vector graphics are the way to go. Flash causes performance and reliability problems: "the number one reasons Macs crash" and consumes power at twice the rate of H.264 video. Unlike a recent Apple PR missive, the Jobs letter doesn't call H.2d4 "open", nitpickers please note.

"Even if iPhones, iPods and iPads ran Flash, it would not solve the problem that most Flash websites need to be rewritten to support touch-based devices." he adds.

What he calls the most important reason is developers' dependence on sub-standard third party tools.

"It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms."

Sounds reasonable to me.

If Apple didn't produce decent developer tools, or charged a fortune for developer access to iPhone OS, Adobe would have a stronger case. Adobe has had plenty of opportunities over the past decade to establish Flash as a GUI of choice for phone OEMs.

When the smartphone wars were a mass of competing OSes (Symbian, Windows) and proprietary phone operating systems couldn't really do whizzy graphics, the opportunity was there. But now they've probably fluffed it for good. ®

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