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Honda of Ithaca - 2010
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Apple, Adobe, Flash and the iPhone
elo27@cornell.edu
| May 13, 2010
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In case you haven't heard, there's been a feud going on between Adobe and Apple. Adobe, probably most famous now for its Creative Suite application set, including programs like Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash, took some heat from Apple about running Adobe Flash applications on the iPhone. Last month, Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and CEO, announced that the iPhone would continue to lack support for Flash, and furthermore, that applications made in Flash would not be allowed in the iTunes app store. In an open letter, he criticized Flash for not having support for multi-touch interfaces, for being proprietary, for quickly draining battery power due to high processor use, and for being generally unstable. "Flash is the number one reason Macs crash," he stated. Well today, Adobe is defending itself, and has started a new ad campaign, which can be viewed in full at Adobe.com/choice. On the site, the text "We [heart] choice" is displayed in large print, and the "Freedom of Choice" angle that Adobe has chosen to go with focuses mostly on the fact that Flash content is platform independent, and delivers content to hundreds of millions of people. Right now, it's hard to say how this number will change as HTML 5 becomes a new web standard for playing audio and video, but it seems that Flash isn't going away any time soon, and Adobe is working to emphasize its openness to creativity and innovation. In all likelihood, Apple probably won't end up accepting Flash on the iPhone in the next couple of years, and it's unclear whether they ever will, considering Steve Jobs' most emphasized reason for not wanting to include support: reliance on 3rd party code libraries. Basically, if iPhone app developers decided to use the tools and components provided by Adobe when they made their applications, that would mean that when Apple adds new functionality to the iPhone, Adobe-reliant developers may not be able to take advantage of new features until Adobe provides support for them, which Jobs argues would slow down innovation. It's hard to tell how this would pan out in practice, but it's a reasonable argument. The ongoing public conversation between Apple and Adobe most likely isn't over yet, and with the advent of Adobe's new campaign, there may be another public statement from Apple in the near future. We'll see what happens.
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