Apple Versus Flash : Round 1

Something funny happened lately and I’m not talking about me moving and me being away from this blog for several weeks. No, I’m talking about Apple and the fact that everyone and their mother seem to now be against them.

Of course, that’s not a bad thing. It usually means you’re doing things correctly when your competitors start considering you as a worthy opponent. With the many weeks away from the blog, there’s so much to talk about. Let’s start with Flash.

When Steve Jobs wrote his open letter explaining why Apple wouldn’t support Flash, it started arguments all over the Web between Apple fans and Adobe fans. Clearly, Apple believes Flash is bad for the Web and they have no intention of caving in. Adobe obviously disagrees. Unfortunately for Adobe however, Jobs’ points are pretty good. Sure, you can laugh at the irony of Steve Jobs admonishing Adobe for creating a closed platform, but at the end of the day, performance of Flash on Macs (and Linux) has sucked for years and years. Why should we think it’ll be different on a mobile device? Ends up it’s not. Shocked yet?

That whole thing is just stupid anyway. Flash, clearly, isn’t that good. It’s not good for the Web, and it certainly isn’t a good tool to create mobile apps. Not because Adobe makes it, but because Adobe has never been able to make Flash performance acceptable on OS X. They’ve had more than 10 years now. If I was Adobe, I’d create great tools to easily create HTML5 and JS/Ajax piece of software. Instead of creating Action Script, output to standard JS.

Google, itself in a fight with Apple was quick to ally itself with Adobe and announce Flash support in Android during Google I/O. If I was Adobe however, I’d be a little worried because during that same conference, Google spent a few minutes on Flash and the rest of the conference talking about how HTML5 was the answer and how their JS engine was faster than the competition. Google is Adobe’s friend for now, because it gives them a way to differentiate themselves from Apple, but let’s face it, Google isn’t a huge fan of Flash. Just look at all the Google products. None of them ever use Flash, except for Youtube. The same Youtube that’s slowly moving to HTML5 and H.264.

Some people have construed by Anti-flash tweets as being anti-android but that really isn’t true. I’ll be blogging about Froyo soon, but I’ll say right away that I’m quite impressed and I’m glad to see some great competition for Apple. iPhoneOS needs to innovate. Hopefully that competition will help speed things up.

Flash for me is in the same category as IE6. It used to be great, it used to be the best way to go, but we’ve moved past and now it’s time to put it to rest. Adobe loves to say you don’t get the full web without Flash on the iPhone and iPad, but for the most part, all I’m missing these days is flash banners. Somehow, I think I’ll live.