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Why so hard on Adobe’s Flash Steve?

Why so hard on Adobe’s Flash Steve?

Adobe was the recipient of a harsh series of criticisms this week from Steve Jobs regarding Flash technology.

Jobs was reported as saying,

“They are lazy. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it is because of Flash. No one will be using Flash. The world is moving to HTML5,”

Let’s be honest here, HTML 5 whilst a competitor for Flash is new. Testing and real world usage will show it to be buggy too. Are we going to hear an attack on HTML 5 for not delivering in a few months.. perhaps.

I don’t think it has anything to do with Flash being buggy or the so-called primary cause of Mac crashes. I think it has to do with another flagship product of Apple’s: QUICKTIME.

  • Flash is more or less ubiquitous on the web.
  • Flash is going to be the definitive format for all major Smart Phone video except iPhones.
  • Flash is and has been an immensely versatile platform which in turn has led to Air and Flex.
  • Flash is simple to install as a browser plugin.

Now admittedly Flash works way better in Windows than apparently in Apple OS land or apparently in Linux. Just this week my sister asked for some tech support for Flash on Ubuntu.. lucky me.

Having tested Flash on PC and MAC several years ago and up to today I am aware of some bugs but it just didn’t sound right. So I asked myself, what did I see as the reason?

I was visiting Apple’s Movie trailer site and looking at which moview I wanted to see but was going to miss at the Cinema (I have an impending arrival Birth v2.0) and I was admiring the GUI and function of Quicktime on the Web:

despicable_me  quicktime_movie_trailer

The higher screen capture shows the neat  menu selection options in Quicktime in Windows and IE8. The second screen shows the sleek gloss back controls and plugin details from right-click.

The same trailer in Flash from our good friends at YouTube:


Now I need to see these in Mobile Land but I suspect that the real fight is to turn Quicktime into a real competitor for Flash.

My personal experience with Adobe generally and Flash specifically as a QA / Tester who found any bug(s) related to our usage of their plugin was that I reported the bug and scenarios to reproduce and I got a response, a rapid response expressing interest in what I had found.

I don’t really mind what Steve Jobs reasons are for his comments. He is Steve Jobs and well I am me. I think in his position he is entitled to criticize his competitors any way he sees fit.

Keep in mind though, the important word here is competitor. So hopefully competition here will benefit all of us the end user with more stable, versatile cutting edge technology particularly in mobile land.

flashplayer_100x100 compete QT


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I agree with this but as an iPhone user and a big fan of Macs over the year I think that Steve needs to get over it and cooperate with Adobe because his posturing and closed attitude is bad for users.

Also, I know Adobe has bent over backwards trying to meet every requirement Apple has made and STILL they come up with more. If every other phone (hello Google) can run Flash why can't an iPhone again? Oh yeah, because of competition and a closed attitude.

Also, anyone who offers a PLATFORM for developers is going to have some challenges between stability and capability. Adobe doesn't write all the action script out there. That is many developers of various capabilities over years and years of time. Sure, Adobe needs to make sure that bad code developers write fail with appropriate errors without destabilizing the host browser, but still, for Apple to blame only Adobe? It's sloppy and they simply are acting like Microsoft used to. The worst is it's bad for the kids. Adobe and Apple used to try to get along for the sake of the kids and now they are sniping at one another and threatening divorce and it's ugly. Both companies need to put aside being petty and come together and DO SOMETHING for the users. Just my opinion, but I care about this issue as do nearly ALL of the designers I know.

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