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back to article Jobsian Vendetta - Flash stabbed by Mac the Knife

Amidst all the wonderfully amusing half-truths and haughty hypocrisies dripping from his open letter on Adobe Flash, Steve Jobs has at least made one thing quite clear: his biggest beef with Flash is that it lets you create applications that run on all sorts of devices that weren't built by him. And his biggest beef is also his …

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Megaphone

Can't we decide ourselves?

As a developer (Java, not Flash but same principle) it should be up to me to decide if I want to use the latest features on a platform or a cross-platform tool not Apple - you give me the option to use these features, you can't *make* me use them.

Having bought a Windows 7 laptop I wanted to use some of the Windows 7 UI bits and pieces so I learned C#. Same for iPhone: if, as a developer, I want to produce something "standard" (and lets be honest, I'm not aware of anything the iPhone has which other platforms don't) then I should be able to to use a generic toolkit/language, be that Flash or whatever. If I want specific features then I can learn the specific language.

Also, if all these "substandard" apps are created which don't use the latest whizz-bang features that his Steveness has blessed us with then people will simply not buy them - someone who does use the native tools will have produced an app doing the same thing but with these features. Hell, even mark apps as "iPhone only" or "cross platform" to show people.

I guess he doesn't think his customers are capable of making that decision though. Says a lot really...

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"you can't *make* me use them"?

How is Steve "making" you do anything?

At the end of the day, nobody - and I mean nobody - is making you develop for the iPhone, or even expecting you to develop for the iPhone. There are a wide array of other devices out there for which you can develop, using Flash or Java or whatever else.

Apple have created a line of products that don't use Flash, and for which they don't allow cross-platform development tools. If you *want* to develop for those products, you have to use the freely available tools provided - and that's something that's entirely in Apple and Steve Jobs' power. It's their right to allow or dissallow whatever coding they like on their platform, just as it's your right not to have anything to do with that.

But don't whine on about what bad old Steve is "making" you do. If you don't like iPhone app development, don't develop iPhone apps - go to Android, or Windows Mobile, or Symbian, and prove what a great success they can be without the restrictions Apple chooses to impose.

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Welcome

No relation?

I assume that "Tim Cook" is not the same "Timothy D Cook" who is the COO of Apple Inc?

Unless, of course, El Reg is being read by the most influential people these days...

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Jobs Halo

You know

I've often wondered that myself.

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Stop

RE: Can't we decide ourselves?

"as a developer, I want to produce something "standard" then I should be able to to use a generic toolkit/language, be that Flash or whatever."

Flash is a proprietary language. Java and C++ are not. Makes more sense to develop in those, doesn't it?

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Coat

Agreed

I have to say I agree with 'Tim Cook' on this point. A lot of people come on these comments and make silly points simply cos they don't like one manufacturer or the other. Like the guys says nobody is making you do anything.

Fact is a I really like my iphone because it is easy to use, a pleasure to use and is reliable. I can't say the same when I use flash based websites on either my W7 PC or my Macbook. Nor can I say the same for the various Nokia and SE phones I owned before.

I used to dislike Apple (or more precisely the people who owned Apple products) but now that I've actually gone out, bought and used a couple of their products I can see where people are coming from. They are just much nicer to use and frankly life's too short to bother with 'one OS, multiple hardware platforms'....I mean have google learnt nothing from Mircosoft?

Anyway.

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Thumb Up

this is why..

I come to El Reg. Most other sites/comments on this letter are in agreement with Mr. Jobs. You provide much deeper and reasoned analysis.

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Jobs Horns

Re:this is why..

Because if they don't agree with His Steveness, they will finish in the same naughty corner as El Reg. No invitations to product launches, no direct news, etc.

Jobs has quite a big part of tech journalism by the balls. Another reason to hate him? Like if there are not enough of them already...

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Anonymous Coward

Hooray for reasoned analysis!

Like the opening line that refers to "all the wonderfully amusing half-truths and haughty hypocrisies" in Steve's letter, but omits all the tedious exploration of those points that other commentators go into. After all, they must be half-true and hypocritical because they came Steve Jobs, right? That's the kind of deep and reasoned analysis we love.

The closing line is in the same vein; "In so many ways, the letter is nonsense." Bravo Reg, sweep away all proofs or discussion, because anything coming from Apple just must be nonsense. These other journalists that bother to consider that Steve might have raised valid points just don't understand the way we do.

But seriously, this article is one of the most one-eyed I've come across. The author is fixated with a single issue: that Apple will not allow developers to use any tool they like on the iPhone. In itself, there is no problem with that. It's Apple's product - they can do as they please. The point of contention is that it is hypocritical for Apple to be so restrictive and then reject Flash on the basis that it is closed. Again, this is a one-eyed view that completely ignores context.

The Web is the place where all platforms meet, and therefore it is the place where openness and standards are crucial. If significant parts of the web experience are in the hands of a single company, the performance of every platform is dependent on the implementation of their technology on that platform. In short, they can make the Internet a lousy experience on one platform and a great experience on the other - and there is nothing the platform owners can do to change it. Therefore, Steve is calling for open standards on the Internet. The power to succeed or fail on the Internet is then in the hands of the platform owner.

The iPhone/iPad/Mac, however, is the *only* place where Apple has an opportunity to really shine, and they need to stand out to survive. In this context, Steve is calling for developers to use the very best that Apple has to offer. And it's a fact that cross-platform development kits (for the user interface at least) have a very poor record. Take Java - I've given up on the idea of Java apps in the Mac (at least where they provide a UI) because they are so poorly implemented. You can see their lineage from a mile off. I've also worked in many cross-platform development environments, and it is a constant source of vexation that you cannot access ground-breaking API's because they can't be reconciled with the framework.

I submit that Steve's approach makes sense - adhere to standards on the Web where all the platforms meet, but stand out in the place you call home. Flash is diametrically opposed to both these ideas, providing bland homogeneity everywhere and remaining a closed technology.

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Grenade

"Adhere to standards"

That's a tad strong, when it supports a company that has brought us the atrocities of QuickTime, Safari, iTunes, and Bonjour.

Anon to escape the rabid task force from the Church of St. Jobs.

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re: this is why..

I come hear because I like to read posts from sarcastic piss-takers like you :-S

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All of the things that work fantastically well

on my macs

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Coat

as opposed to:

DCE_RPC, NBT, IE6/7/8, WMV, Windows Media Player, Windows Vista, er....the list goes on and on....

As opposed to:

Buzz (which they pushed out without privacy on purpose BTW), wave, paid for results, and a whole load of other crap designed to provide private user data for their ads business....

Come off it, of all of them Apple is probably the least worst. At least they make a decent phone and decent music players. Oh, and my macbook air is great too (and cheaper than the Sony x series).

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FAIL

obviously

Are you playing with words or don't you see your obvious contradiction?

"...In so many ways, the letter is nonsense. But on this point, it's completely clear..."

it seems though that the only nonsense in here is your "essay"

nonsense cannot be completely clear. that's common sense sir.

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FAIL

Ha!

I love the fact you felt the need to tell the world about your inability to understand plain English.

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Unhappy

Wow.

He wrote "in so many ways the letter is nonsense" but "on this point it's completely clear"

He did not say "nonsense is completely clear". These are entirely different statements.

I'm amazed at your how poorly you read and comprehend.

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clearly not obviously

i believe the statement refers to the previous line which makes comment on his vendetta towards flash.

and it also says 'in so many ways, the letter is nonsense' and indeed the ramblings of men are sometimes nonsense to some and not to others, get some perspective here please.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: obviously

Of course nonsense can be completely clear.

The meaning of this is quite clear - it's also nonsense, "If I have 5p then I am rich"

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No Thanks!

Steve Jobs is getting out of control. Isn't crap like this why he was ousted from Apple back in the mid 80's? I am grateful for everything he has done for Apple however this is a bit ridiculous.

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Go

yeah but

in those days, he didnt earn billions of dollars for putting out devices of limited capacity but everyone can't stop buying them.

in those days, it was hard for them to even sell mac's, nevermind the idea of selling mp3 players

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FAIL

devices of limited capacity - oh ffs

Another, "my fridge won't toast bread" types of comments, and "I should be able to tinker with the embedded windows system in my automobile" and "because all this bitching makes me seem intelligent and of course makes my p***s bigger!"

Task orientation in a lovely form factor makes for a perfect product that people go out and buy. But, trolls are the ones who are right here - millions and millions of people are wrong. I guess they just haven't realised the happiness and joy they receive from Apple products is false. Once trolls enlighten them, then they'll be as angry about Apple's success as all the trolls currently are?

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Paris Hilton

Ahhh, there it is!

The old Register is back, still smarting from being excluded.

Stiletto Cade meets Stiletto Steve.

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mmmk

Why use free crappy little flash games and apps when you could be paying for crappy little games and apps from the app store?

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developers...

Why develop online flash games that cost you bandwidth to run in the hope you can make money selling adspace when you can make money selling them in the app store or android marketplace?

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RE: mmmk

You'll find PLENTY free crappy little games on the app store.

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Gold badge

Now we have TWO Steves saying

"Developers, developers, developers." Both while runnign a business model that goes: "Open Standards: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish." (HTML 5.0 specifies what video codec? Because who was being stubborn?)

Yet, apparently one is significantly "better" than the other.

Let me just pre-empt the entire thread here with the new motto for Apple, Inc:

“Mac. It's not that big of a deal.”

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Grenade

Fence.

Well... I see the author personally stands on the side of the fence.

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The real scoop ...

This is a classic case of misdirection. It's about the money peoples. It has nothing to do with battery life, cross platform, or anything else beside the money. We seem to all forget that Uncle Steve gets 30% of all apps sold in the App Store. If they where to support Flash, Flash could easily bypass he App Store and download Flash Apps directly to the iPhone/iPad and Uncle Steve would get NOTHING for the newly installed "app". This is what is unacceptable to Uncle Steve.

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Anonymous Coward

Correct

Yes sir, that is correct. It's time for Steve and his legion of board-crawling shills to return from whence they came I think.

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Jobs Horns

Money

But even if I were to compile my app from Flash, I would still have to buy my dev licence and submit my app for inspection by the iStore. Jobs still gets his 30%.

There are two issues here which people sometimes get mixed up

1. Apple doesn't like you running Flash files on the iPhone. ie .swf's.... Like you would on your desktop/laptop browser. Fair enough, he might lose out on some cash.

2. Apple doesn't like you writing a Flash app, and compiling it to run on the iPhone. For which he gives a couple of lame excuses.

Two similar but different issues.

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Umm, no...

...that's not correct, given that you could do the same with html5.

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Anonymous Coward

tardis?

In the year 2020 maybe, but while HTML5 still has precisely zero penetration, Steve can wax about how great it is all he likes, safe in the knowledge he'll never actually have to deal with it as a revenue leak.

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RE: The real scoop ...

That'll be why you can already get so many pieces of free software on the app store already then, won't it?

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WTF?

RE: Money

"But even if I were to compile my app from Flash, I would still have to buy my dev licence and submit my app for inspection by the iStore. Jobs still gets his 30%."

Unless, of course it was a free app... well, yes, he'd still get 30% but it would be 30% of nothing...

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FAIL

Completely Wrong

Apps for the (unjailbroken) iPhone have to be signed by Apple or they will not install so, no, Flash would not allow you to magically download and install apps bypassing the App Store.

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you mean like webapps?

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

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Jobs Halo

tsk tsk tsk

"Yes, Flash has its security and performance problems. And, yes, we'd much prefer a webworld that relies open standards. "

You took awhile to get there, but eventually, you put the notion into a nutshell.

It's funny reading all these articles that are dissecting allllllllllll of Apple's reasons not to support flash, when it should really be banned for the above reasons. Have have yet to see any half descent article in defence of the Flash player - other than it's popularity for ads. This is no different than getting rid of the floppy drive.

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FAIL

Then I suggest you read this

http://jessewarden.com/2010/04/steve-jobs-on-flash-correcting-the-lies.html

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Terminator

err, wait -

" Have have yet to see any half descent article in defence of the Flash player - other than it's popularity for ads. "

I've seen other reasons for defending it as well. They usually boil down to Farmville, pr0n, and some variation of a thinly-disguised "...but I don' wanna learn ANOTHER skillset!"

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RE: Then I suggest you read this

Yep, they use a lot of weasel words to try to save Adobe, things like mentioning all the items which are not proprietary and then saying "Using a blanket statement saying Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary is a lie."

Except no-one else is allowed to make any Flash creation software, are they?

Or

"Lie #3: “…75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads…”

Incorrect. If a video is H264, that doesn’t mean it can play on the iPhone."

True, but since MOST of the video hits through Flash are Youtube, there's not a lot left over. Youtube vids can be watched on the iPhone btw.

Lie #4: “users aren’t missing much video.”

"Every time a user see’s a blue lego instead of the video they wanted to see, they are missing a video. There were so many people seeing the blue lego, including Steve Jobs himself on stage demoing the iPad, that they removed the blue lego as a PR effort to make it seem like there was something wrong with the website itself vs. the iPhone/iPad."

Umm, I don't see blue lego on my Mac notebook and I'm not missing any video. Probably because I've got Click-To-Flash. It's made me realise how much pointless Flash there is sitting out there. Ads mostly, it seems. One in particular with a buzzing fly did my head in!! I'm glad they're not there on the iPhone. Lucky iPhone users!

And the biggest lie of all:

"Lie #8: “…Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers…”

Incorrect. The whole reason Flash Player has continued to stay ahead of the curve is because Macromedia/Adobe innovates it. There are gesture & touch API’s in the Flash Player; I and many others have used them for the iPhone resulting in a 100+ apps on the App Store."

They've used "touch API's in the Flash Player" and used them "in a 100+ apps on the App Store".

Really? This seems like a claim that people have written apps in Flash and got them on to the iPhone App Store? I don't think so!

"Lie #9: “For example, many Flash websites rely on “rollovers”, which pop up menus or other elements when the mouse arrow hovers over a specific spot.”

Incorrect. This was already discounted 2 months ago by Mike Chambers."

Incorrect, he showed that the rollover event was there BUT in order to see it, you have to know it's there, know it's a rollover item, press in a blank area of the screen (which unless you know better might be a roll over button too and you've just clicked it) and then drag your finger over.

Not exactly like mouse rollover in any way. They're two completely different things!

"Lie #13: “The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content.”

Incorrect. See #3. Media companies will have to create players like Netflix did to support those devices; these aren’t HTML5, they’re Cocoa."

Come off it. I can already watch video and consume web content without relying on Flash. I'm doing it right now ffs!

I could have picked more FUD out of the morass they presented there. To be fair, there were a few truths, presented straight. There did seem to be many more "truths" that were at best half-truths or outright lies!

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FAIL

Wow..check a few facts...

>Except no-one else is allowed to make any Flash creation software, are they?

Lots of 3rd party companies make Flash creation software, the specification is open even though the standard is proprietary.

>Really? This seems like a claim that people have written apps in Flash and got them on to the iPhone App Store? I don't think so!

Well over 100 have already been approved under old T&C using pre-release CS5. You can still buy them on iTunes and many people have.

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Anonymous Coward

Much prefer open standards?

Yes, I would much prefer open standards. To the point that flash not merely isn't available on my platform of choice, shutting me from many a dancing rodent site[1] and saving me countless hours otherwise wasted: It's also a threat to information dissemination and archival. The same way proprietary document formats are the bane of archives. Try and save a local copy of something dynamically created on-the-fly from a big fat renderfarm somewhere a continent away. Once what you see has become intimately dependent on the state held in your browser, or worse, in some browser plugin, you're SOL.

And it gets worse: Can you index word perfect or word star files? Can you even read the floppy formats associated with cp/m machines? In a sense that's actually easier than dealing with certain old micros~1 formats. But all that is still relatively simple. Now add proprietary video and audio to the mix as with flash, and the fun starts. And then, of course, for the real connaiseur, there's always DRMed files that require a now-long-shutdown activation server. Imagine trying to read or ``experience'' a flash/silverlight/what-have-you thing a decade or two down the road.

Even java isn't guaranteed. Would java 1.0 ``applets'' still work in todays java virtual machines? I haven't tried and don't know, but all you need is one incompatible change by sunacle, and the lights go out again. Or rather, don't come back on like they did a decade ago.

``Online'' is great and all, but not really suitable for scholarly work. ``Proprietary'' neither, and then there's ``Online And Proprietary''. Have we become that dumb, dull, and dense?

[1] I don't mind too much since most such sites violently violate the first principle of what I look for in a ``web browsing experience''(yuck): Information. Most ``lamp stack'' sites have the same problem in that they require all sorts of more than usually fallible dynamicism to serve up essentially static data but that's merely bad design and limps along quite nicely most of the time. AJAX is almost as bad as flash in that it eats *my* cycles like there's no tomorrow again most of the time without adding something in return and shutting out browsers without javascript (like all the text-only ones, one of which I'm using right now). But the bottom line is that if you don't know what your core business is, then you're basically wasting my time, so I might as well skip you and look elsewhere. Businesses have lost my custom because of ``flash upgrades'' to their webshops. Even partial ones. This is where ``graceful degradation'' is a custom-saver.

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Anonymous Coward

obviously

all your developers are belong to Steve Jobs

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Only a problem for iPhone & iPad users

And if you bought into the hardware, then you are Steve Jobs' bitch, my friend.

Personally, I prefer Macs when they still could boot from a floppy, but to each person his own poison...

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Bronze badge

Forget the bullshit please.

It would be fairly boring if the media just published the plain fact that it is simply about ownership of the platform, games and adverts.

'Its mine, all mine' is the cry.

Or maybe as LOTR style 'It's my precious'.

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Pint

aye

Although I dont agree with the methodology, flash *is* still shit.

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JMD
FAIL

you *is* ignant?..

Flash is a platform for engaging consumers. It shines where open *standards* fail to deliver. But mostly it bypasses the issues of browsers, because they fail to follow or agree on using the said open standards, thus making them open suggestions for browser vendors.

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er...

So what exactly is Mr Jobs going to do if people start being able to build 'crappy little games' and other apps using HTML5? He has championed these 'open' standards so it will be interesting to see what happens if developers find that they can provide a significant number of the apps they want via the web without having to go through the itunes store?

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RE: er...

So...

Releasing an app free on the web

or

releasing an app free on the iTunes store.

Let me see... he get's no money in either scenario, so your point is?

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