Francisco Kattan

Insights on the Mobile Ecosystem

Why Steve Jobs will Never put Adobe Flash on iPhone OS Devices

[First a quick disclaimer:  although I worked for Adobe in the past and I still have many friends there, I have no inside information on this topic.  This post represents my personal opinion based on publicly available information.]

Given the launch of the Flash-less iPad and the leaks from Apple’s post launch employee meeting most industry insiders have finally concluded that Adobe Flash is not coming to iPhone OS devices.    Over the last two-and-a-half years the conversation has shifted from

  • When will the iPhone support Flash? to…
  • Will the iPhone ever support Flash? to most recently…
  • Why won’t Apple devices ever support Flash?

The question in most people’s mind now is why not?  That is the question I want to address with this post.

While most of the debate in the blogosphere  centers around technical reasons, the real reason is not technical at all.  It is a calculated business decision made by Steve Jobs.


There is a lot of discussion about the technical issues that are keeping Flash away from Apple devices.   Here are only a few:

  • Flash drains the battery
  • Flash is buggy
  • Flash performance is too poor
  • Flash Lite does not support web based Flash content (Flash 9+)
  • Steve Jobs: Flash Lite is too constrained, Flash Player does not perform in mobile, we need a “product in the middle”
  • Steve Jobs: Adobe is lazy (well, this one is not really a technical reason)
  • Steve Jobs:  Flash is obsolete.  HTML5 will replace it.

The latest technical argument to garner a lot of attention in the bloggosphere is:

  • Flash does not support touch and requires a visible mouse with hover effect.

While many of these technical arguments are accurate, they don’t explain Steve Job’s stubbornness toward Flash.  These technical arguments are only excuses used by the Apple camp.  The lack of touch support is indeed a big problem, but if this were the real reason, Apple would have already stated this and would be working with Adobe and its community to address the issue.  After all, updating a Flash application to support touch is easier for a Flash developer than having to create a brand new application using Objective C and Apple’s native SDK.

So what’s the real reason?

Adobe Flash will not come to iPhone OS devices because Flash would limit Apple’s ability to differentiate its devices.

Adobe’s vision is to turn its Flash Platform (including both Flash and AIR) into THE consistent runtime across devices.  For more on this vision see the Open Screen Project, launched by my team while I was at Adobe.  It’s a great idea.  Developers target the Flash Platform (instead of the native SDKs) and their applications run consistently across devices, eliminating device fragmentation.  Sounds great, right??  Yes… unless you are a device manufacturer looking to differentiate with applications (can you say Apple?).

It’s clearly evident in Apple’s marketing that its catalog of native iPhone applications is a significant differentiator.  We’ve all seen the “There is an App for That” campaign.  It is in Apple’s interest to encourage developers to create native applications that take advantage of Apple proprietary APIs.  As an example, multi-touch and the accelerometer were important differentiators of the iPhone early on and it was important for Apple to have developers target those APIs.   The same applies to the proximity sensor.  As Apple continues to innovate it will want developers to target native device capabilities that run best on Apple devices.  Supporting Adobe’s Flash Platform would compromise this objective.  Apps developed on Adobe Flash or Adobe AIR would offer a similar experience across Apple and non-Apple devices.  Note the tagline on Adobe’s Open Screen Project web site:  “singular experience, multiple devices.”   This is not what Apple wants.

The strategy to differentiate with applications is not limited to Apple.  RIM and Samsung have made recent moves that point to their aspiration to differentiate their devices with applications (although neither can afford to pick the Flash battle at this time; their positions are under attack by Apple and Google and are too busy playing defense).  Unlike Motorola who chose to forgo differentiation with applications by adopting Android as its platform going forward, Samsung launched its own mobile platform called BADA.  With BADA, Samsung hopes to build its own developer ecosystem and differentiate in this way.

RIM’s strategy to differentiate with apps is clearly evident with the launch of its recent “Super App” campaign.   Super Apps are apps that take advantage of RIM’s proprietary APIs and enable tight integration with RIM’s own applications like the inbox, contacts and calendar.  I was at the latest RIM developer conference in Barcelona where the top message for developers was:  “develop your applications to integrate deeply with the RIM platform.”   I suspect that RIM will be running contests to promote Super App development and maybe even reward developers who create them with better placement on its App World store.  In this way RIM (like Apple) can ensure the availability of many applications that run better on its platform.

Although most in the industry cite device fragmentation as a top issue in mobile, device OEM’s  need to differentiate results in increased fragmentation instead.  Apple has chosen to differentiate its devices with applications and this is why Steve will not support the Adobe Flash Platform on Apple devices.

Please share your thoughts on this topic.  What do you believe is the main reason Apple devices will not support Adobe Flash?

11 May 2010 Update:

I posted this article at a time when most were pointing at technology issues as the key reasons Apple would not adopt Flash.  Since then Apple has made two moves that confirm the premise of this article (that this was a calculated business decision by Steve Jobs):

It is very interesting to note that Steve Jobs contradicted himself in his own letter.  He initially argued that the decision was “based on technology issues,” but later cites “the most important reason” as purely a business reason.   I suspect Steve got caught between the outdated “party line” to blame Adobe technology and the reality of the situation.   I’m not trying to minimize the technical issues with Flash.  They are real.  But as I stated in this article, they are used as convenient excuses by the Apple camp.  Given “the most important reason” that Steve cited, you can be sure that even if the technology issues did not exist, Steve would not have allowed Flash on his devices.  The business reason he cited trumps all the technical arguments.

In case you have not read Steve’s letter, he cited the most important reason pretty much as predicted in this article.  In Steve’s own words:  “Flash is a cross platform development tool. 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.” Steve also writes:  “We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.”

In other words, supporting Flash would limit Apple’s ability to differentiate its devices.  As Apple continues to innovate with its devices, it will publish new proprietary APIs and encourage developers to adopt them, ensuring that the resulting applications run best on Apple devices.

About these ads

Written by Francisco Kattan

March 7, 2010 at 10:54 am

38 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Great post Francisco. I agree you are right this is a business call by AAPL, and that making sure the iPhone/iPad experience is unique is the key motivator. At some point it won’t matter anymore of course – the damage to Flash will have been complete.

    Be sure to check out Rich Wong’s TechCrunch post on mobile fragmentation as well http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/04/mobile-fragmentation-forever/ Also be sure to check out the comments as some excellent follow-on posts are included.

    Brad Nicholas

    March 8, 2010 at 8:20 am

    • Brad, thanks for the comments and the link to Rich Wong’s post. Great to see Rich’s advice to developers with respect to fragmentation. We’re experiencing a formidable battle between all the mobile platforms and their need to differentiate will only make fragmentation worse. However I do believe that only a few mobile platforms will survive the battle and this will help developers — but this is still a long way out.

      franciscokattan

      March 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm

  2. Another good TC post backing up your premise – AAPL pruning app store entries to make sure native apps are credible, not just glorified web apps. http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/07/apple-cookie-cutter-apps/

    Brad Nicholas

    March 8, 2010 at 11:05 am

    • Thanks for sharing Brad. This is a good quote from that article:

      “Apple wants iPhone apps to be superior to Web experiences because they are extremely sticky and drive people specifically to buy the iPhone over competing smartphone platforms.”

      franciscokattan

      March 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm

  3. A great post! I have been wondering why Apple would reject Flash when content based on Flash is so prevalent on the web. I can see that Apple wants to differentiate its product through applications and further expand its Apple ecosystem of Macs, iPod, iTune, etc. However, if Steve Jobs is promoting an industry-standard like HTML5, how would Apple differentiate in this paradigm versus Flash?

    I have heard an argument that Flash requires a greater computing resources, and hence may degrade the iPhone experience when running Flash-based apps; hence the rejection.

    kaveman

    March 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    • Hello Kaveman. You bring up a very interesting point with HTML5 that I’d like to elaborate on. HTML5 would certainly limit device manufacturer’s ability to differentiate their devices with applications. This is one major reason Google is pushing HTML5 so strongly. Google’s vision is that “The Web is the Platform” and all apps over time should be Rich Internet Apps and not tied to proprietary devices. This plays to Google’s advantage as Google rules the cloud where it can monetize all those apps with advertising; but it also hurts device makers whose differentiation suffers.

      So why is Apple supporting HTML5 when this would clearly hurt its ability to differentiate its devices with native apps??

      I believe HTML5 helps Apple level the playing field on two other fronts where Apple has already lost initial battles:

      1. Desktop: Apple lost the battle of the desktop to Microsoft. If applications are developed on HTML5, this levels the playing field between Mac OS and Windows. Microsoft would no longer enjoy the benefits of a much larger market share to attract developers to its platform. HTML5 obviously also moves value away from PCs where MSFT rules and into the cloud where Google rules. So HTML5 hurts Microsoft dearly. This is why Microsoft is dragging its feet with HTML5 support for Internet Explorer. As an aside, this is also why we’re experiencing a second browser war after MSFT had already won. Firefox, Safari, and Chrome are accelerating the move into the cloud with JavaScript, CSS and HTML improvements while Internet Explorer is slowing it down with its lengthy upgrade cycles (IE6 still enjoys a 20% share almost 5 years after IE7 was launched!) and slow adoption of new web standards.

      2. Video: Apple (QuickTime) lost the battle for video on the internet to Adobe: Around 75% of all video streams on the internet are Flash format. In response, Apple proposed the new canvas tag that is part of HTML5 which would serve to neutralize Adobe’s Flash as the leading video format on the internet. With the canvas tag video can be played in the browser without the need for proprietary plug-ins (like Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight).

      So while HTML5 gives Google important advantages, it also helps Apple neutralize very important disadvantages.

      Even with HTML5 though, it will take a long time for native apps to die (if ever) giving Apple ample time to innovate and find other ways to differentiate its devices. Standards are good, but their deployment process is slow. There is still a debate on what video format HTML5 will support, as an example. These delays enable device manufacturers to innovate beyond the standard and launch additional proprietary features and APIs to differentiate their platforms.

      This HTML5/Apple issue is very intriguing. It would be great to hear other perspectives as well. If HTML5 hurts its App Store, why is Apple championing it? Are there other points of view?

      franciscokattan

      March 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm

      • Francisco,

        I believe HTML5 is a middle-ground for Apple, i.e. a way of targeting the mass of web developers, but not offering the ‘full’ experience. The fact that it’s HTML5 also allows Apple to extend with proprietary APIs. But full developer experience is only available with the completely verticalised solution (hardware acceleration, software APIs, App Store listing). Therefore I doubt HTML5 apps will be available on the App Store.

        Andreas

        Andreas Constantinou

        March 9, 2010 at 1:54 am

        • Thanks for sharing your insights Andreas. As long as native apps deliver a richer experience than HTML5 apps (a matter of debate), the middle-ground you propose is a reasonable outcome.

          franciscokattan

          March 15, 2010 at 11:33 pm

      • I have two more reasons:

        Apple holds patents related to HTML 5 Canvas and is a licensee of H.264.

        Apple Safari is currently ahead with regards to HTML 5 compatibility. However HTML 5 has still no standardized rendering engine. So there will be incompatibilities between browser implementations as for HTML 4, CSS 3 and their predecessors. So developers will have to optimize their HTML 5 applications. If they target iPhone users, they will optimize their HTML 5 apps for Safari on iOS. These apps may run also on other mobile browser, but there might be limitations in most cases.

        Carsten Schlipf

        August 19, 2010 at 3:29 am

  4. Francisco, good analysis.

    Every company wants a “platform” with which to cement developers, apps, and customers, but only Microsoft/Intel, and lately Apple have been able to do it.

    QCOM has been trying to leverage its BREW platform strategy, but many operators are leery of yet another “tax” on their ARPU. I’m not sure how successful BREW has been.

    The Android platform is more open, which enables many companies (and individuals) to contribute and obtain revenue, but not control the “value chain” as completely as Apple does in its own space.

    It will be interesting to see if Apple open after (if) Android gains more market share.

    Alan Stebbens

    March 8, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    • Hello Alan. Thanks for your comment. There is certainly a platform battle going on in mobile. Although MSFT won the desktop, desktop shipments are only 20% of all device shipments when you look at all consumer electronic devices that could be connected. Mobile is a disruption with big stakes. This feeds the platform war, which in turn increases fragmentation.

      Regarding your question about BREW, take a look at my post: “Is BREW Dead? Lessons Learned” here:

      http://franciscokattan.com/2009/06/03/is-brew-dead-lessons-learned/

      After I wrote this post, Qualcomm scored a new win to help AT&T compete with its own app store. It’s an interesting play for AT&T to attract developers for its mid tier devices while the non-operator stores are winning the battle for developers in the smartphone category. I wrote about this as part of a guest article on the battle of the app stores “The Mobile App Store Landscape 5 years Ai (After the iPhone)” here:

      http://www.visionmobile.com/blog/2010/01/the-mobile-app-store-landscape-5-years-ai-after-the-iphone/

      franciscokattan

      March 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm

  5. Good Analysis Francisco. I completely agree the keeping Flash out of iphone/ipod is a business decision rather than technical.

    In addition to differentiation, i feel Apple also wants to keep control over applications and application eco-system. Al well integrated Flash is another application runtime environment which can be used to run flash applications – think about the potential of Adobe Flash App Store vending applications to a iPhone/iPod device supporting flash – and flash starts looking like a trojan horse in an empire based on applications. Comments?

    Aman Brar

    March 8, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    • Hello Aman. Thanks for the comment. Great insight. The Apple App Store is definitely a walled garden with rules that Apple controls, and frankly that only Apple understands. Allowing Flash would enable developers to get around Apple’s review process.

      This is already a small issue for Apple: rejected apps such as Google Voice are able to sneak in via the web browser. But Flash (and HTML5 as mentioned by Kaveman above) poses a greater threat to the walled garden as it would enable richer applications to get around Apple’s gatekeeper.

      franciscokattan

      March 8, 2010 at 11:16 pm

  6. Hello everyone,

    Very interesting thread: Flash vs. HTML5, which takes me to a couple of further questions (a true one that wish to collect a few aopinions): if device-OS makers start to push for new differentiation moves,

    a- as mobile is yet a very fragmented market, aren’t they spoiling its biggest growing chances by making developers’ lives harder?

    b- do have platforms as AJAX future?

    What do you make of this?

    Andreu Castellet

    March 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

    • Hello Andreu, thank you for your comment and questions. I don’t believe device makers are spoiling their chances by increasing fragmentation for developers. Fragmentation is a necessary evil at this stage in the development of the mobile ecosystem. Competition among device OEMs is very intense and not all players will survive as the industry consolidates over time. This forces device makers to find ways to differentiate from their competitors and this often results in increased fragmentation as a byproduct.

      One of the big lessons from the iPhone is that fragmentation is OK as long as developers can easily reach consumers for each “fragment.” The iPhone increased fragmentation by creating a new platform with its own set of proprietary APIs. But Apple also made it much easier for developers to reach iPhone users: It lowered the entry barriers for developers, it created the app store, and it set a generous revenue share.

      Regarding your second question, web standards such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript do have a future in mobile. As these technologies evolve they will enable web developers to create rich applications that rival today’s native applications. Palm has made great inroads with its Web OS and Palm Pre already. And as HTML5 is deployed in browsers we’ll see rich web applications that run consistently across devices.

      franciscokattan

      March 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

  7. [...] Francisco Kattan (former Adobe exec) puts it on his blog: “The strategy to differentiate with applications is not limited to Apple. RIM and Samsung have [...]

  8. Francisco,

    Excellent article. Also, Ansca’s platform is amazing. We are in the business of developing a Flash platform that will deliver web content across all devices and screens. We have also done extensive research into the Apple / HTML5 / Adobe debates that are happening on the web. We feel this fire is fueled by the patents that Apple hold in regards to HTML5 technology. The Canvas, Params, and Audio tags just to name a few.

    Please see our blog for more details. I’d love some feedback from you on what we are doing.

    http://blog.nothinggrinder.com

    Sincerely,
    Aaron Franco

    Aaron Franco

    March 26, 2010 at 10:01 am

    • Hello Aaron, thanks for the note. I looked at your blog – very cool.

      I’m also a fan of Ansca’s Corona. Corona fills an important gap in the market: it enables the creative community to easily target the iPhone and Android platforms. They’ve also got a sharp team working on it.

      Thanks for pointing out the patent issue. I understood that Apple would provide royalty free licenses to canvas patent since this is a W3C requirement for standardization. If you could elaborate or refer us to an article that explains how these patent issues result in no Flash on iPhone OS devices, I’d appreciate it.

      Francisco.

      franciscokattan

      March 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm

  9. Thanks – excellent article. I spotted that Flash’s capacity to mirror the App store was the issue, but I had presumed the primary reason was the estimated 30% revenue that iPad will make from content sales ( http://bit.ly/aSUQOZ ) – that is, Apple’s taking a low hardware margin, on the promise of content sales. But I agree that pure differentiation is probably as big or bigger part of it.

    I think other reasons that Apple is pro-HTML5 cf Flash include:
    – without it, there would be no video solution for the iPad, too big a fight,
    – its OK now for video, but not as evolved yet for app-like use, c/f Flash, with mature tools and dev community for creating games, online apps, etc. – there is probably a window of a few years where App store has a definitive advantage while HTML5 “catches up”
    – Pr-HTML5 / anti Flash stance is a kind of wedge politics, polarises the technorati, tends to deflect anger from Apple itself.

    paul knight

    March 26, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    • Hello Paul..

      You raise an interesting point: Are iPhone apps subsidizing the iPhone hardware? I doubt this very much, but it is an interesting perspective.

      At the end of the day Apple is a consumer electronics manufacturer and it needs to make a good margin on the hardware. As long as Apple devices continue to be highly differentiated Apple will make a good margin on them. The Mac and the iPod are good examples to look at. They are highly differentiated from their competitors and they command a premium price as a result. Selling music tracks for 99 cents is a great way to sell more iPods at the expense of the music industry. In the same way we’re already seeing significant price erosion in the App Store — and the great majority of the app downloads are free.

      franciscokattan

      March 28, 2010 at 8:47 pm

  10. Hi Francisco! I remember writing “Engaging Mobile Experiences” like it was yesterday!

    Your analysis is spot on! The issue is political and not technical. It will take some time and money for large web sites that have built their footprint in Flash to convert to HTML5, but mobile developers without extensive portfolios are eager to move to it once they can experience and embrace tools and see some traction. Apple’s gauntlet, as you stated is based on areas it missed out on in the past.

    RIM’s “Super App” campaign will result in tighter integration with the BlackBerry platform. It’s embrace of WebKit will lead to a better browsing experience. But the message Jim Balsillie and others are carrying is that devices are overcommoditized and that it’s all becoming a services platform play with platform, digital content, and services pieces. Services lead going forward, not apps. And deep integration is where RIM is placing its bets. Quality issues in existing spectrum and a huge demand for digital services will lead a push for even more spectrum. RIM’s preaching that developers should not just focus on application development to a specific platform(s) (i.e. iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, RIM, Symbian) but on creating deep, rich, application integration. And that deep integration, localization, and concierging will enable new capabilities.

    I’m not sold on Samsung’s bada, the world doesn’t need another platform. I predicted on my blog we’d see a consolidation of mobile OSes over the next 1-2 years.

    Google, while saying it will support future versions of Flash is influencing others and developers to write for the mobile browser. That is its end vision for now. So if Apple gets mobile developers to abandon Flash and embrace HTML5, it runs into Google that is also in the long run promoting HTML5 and the mobile browser (tablets and other devices running on Chrome anyone?).

    I’ve been spending a lot of time with the development community here in Boston and for 2010 they are focused on 1) iPhone because of the buzz and growth trajectory 2) Android because of the buzz and growth trajectory expectations and 3) iPad because it’s an extension of #1; 4) and a distant 4, is BlackBerry but it has to fix its memory issues, be better optimized for the Web, and do a better job with developers who want to write B2C apps for it. Developers here are totally on the sidelines with Windows Phone 7, Symbian, and WebOS.

    Adobe will not stand still, but this is all leading to a lot of tit-for-tat and won’t go away over the next year, until HTML5 has some traction.

    All the platforms are racing to make location awareness, advertising models, and analytics as core pieces of their grand visions, just look at the acquisitions lately. And the operators are being dissintermediated in the process. Interesting times indeed!

    Sincerely,

    Randy Giusto

    randy giusto

    March 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm

  11. Hello Randy. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    I agree that we’re going to see significant consolidation in the mobile platform space, but I think it will take much longer than 1-2 years. We’re still seeing new platforms hit the market (Samsung bada as you pointed out) and the stakes are too high for vendors to throw in the towel so early.

    Thanks for sharing the results of your survey of Boston area developers. The platforms that attract the most developer attention are the ones that will survive, so your survey is a good indicator of the current scoreboard. But I think we’re only at the beginning of a very lengthy battle.

    I’ve been meaning to write about Samsung bada, so thanks for bringing it up. I agree that the world does not need one more platform, but from a Samsung point of view, they don’t want to compete on the basis of hardware only. Given Samsung’s large market share, they believe they can pull this off.

    I think Samsung did a poor job with the bada announcement and as a result bada has been misinterpreted by many reporters, analysts and bloggers. You may already be aware of this, but I’d like to elaborate for others who may be reading this post.

    Samsung bada does not intend to compete in the smartphone category with platforms such as Android. Instead, bada is targeting the high-end of the feature phone category. These are mid-tier devices with large screens and often full qwerty keyboards (physical or touch) and represent a large untapped market for mobile applications.

    Bada is not a new operating system. It is only an API access layer to Samsung’s existing feature phone operating system that enables developers to write applications for those devices.

    I’m not saying that Samsung will be successful with bada. In fact I think it will be very difficult for Samsung to build a developer community around bada. But I can certainly see the merits of their strategy.

    Francisco.

    franciscokattan

    March 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm

  12. I, for one, am loving that Apple is not backing Adobe on this one.

    Adobe is trying to hug the world, be the solution for everything, once and for all. There’s no silver bullet.

    Once, Java tried this. Remember Java applets? You could write once and run embedded on a webpage, on the native os, on a cell phone… Where’s it now? Nowhere.

    The reason is that it’s just impossible to make one consistent implementation on a variety of platforms and devices, all with the same quality. People have to install your buggy VM or plugin or whatever, and everything running inside it is sandboxed and alien.

    And then there’s vendor lock-in… Adobe’s environment is just another level of vendor lock-in. Now, you not only have to deal with the native platform, you also have to deal with your app running under Adobe’s platform ON TOP of the native. It’s just one more layer of abstraction, bullshit and bugs.

    We have to start seeing awesome apps being developed on Flash/AIR before you have manufacturers willing to back your platform. Until now, there’s not ONE killer app that I can point to that’s running on Flash/AIR platform. The only reason Flash is alive today is historical (there was no standard to deliver audio/video thru browsers, and during the dot-com bubble a lot of designers that only knew Adobe wanted to enter the bandwagon, then we suddenly have all those Flash sites that are eye-candy and serve no purpose). So what?

    Henrique

    March 31, 2010 at 3:33 pm

  13. Great article Fransisco!

    The differentiation wish from the device OEM’s is not a new business tactic but just an evolution.

    Before the “app stores era” device manufacturer’s way was to differentiate their products by the features.
    Now the mobile business is around the “app stores” and OEM’s want to differentiate themselves by this way. The solution to link to differentiation by features and differentiation by app stores is only native applications.
    An Iphone app is an Iphone app because you could access to the Iphone tool chain or other device’s native extensions.

    I work for a french company which provide a cross platform tool to develop native mobile apps in Flex (called Elips Studio) and for our users to have access to the device native extensions is a really added value.

    This new differentiation strategy is really understandable and has 2 goals, I think. Create an ecosystem around the platform, and provide better user experience.

    Jocelyn Bozabalian

    April 1, 2010 at 7:59 am

  14. Fco: great update here around iPhone OS 4.0 and the new provision blocking adobe’s compiler http://www.mondaynote.com/2010/04/11/the-adobe-apple-flame-war/

    Brad Nicholas

    April 12, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    • Thanks for sharing this link Brad. Very good read. The author (former Apple exec) supports the view I expressed here — that Adobe Flash would limit differentiation of the iPhone. The Venn diagram in the article brings this point home.

      It is interesting to note also that at the time I wrote this article most of the debate centered on technical issues (performance, battery life, touch support, etc). Apple’s recent update of the iPhone OS SDK agreement (forbidding Adobe Flash) makes it crystal clear that Apple’s ban is a calculated business decision, not the result of a technical issue.

      Francisco Kattan

      April 19, 2010 at 9:47 pm

  15. quoting your own article:”We can build for one primary browser (like we do for Firefox on the desktop today) and then figure out how to get the rest working with whatever Microsoft builds.”

    Why can’t Apple be the Microsoft of the mobile scene, why shouldn’t Apple try for that? If you were Apple would you give away your fruit of labor to create a de facto MSFT on your back? Not to mention the hit you get from the lousy flash experience.

    I can routinely open 40-50 sites with my Safari on my MB Pro AFTER I installed clicktoflash. Whereas before I’d have to restart if I had more than 15 sites on. Why don’t people acknowledge that flash is buggy as hell and a killer on performance, on Mac at least. Is it Apple’s obligation to bend over backward to accommodate someone else’s dream of platform domination?

    Any sane person would think like Apple does. If flash is bad, MSFT bad, then people should go for the better platform, that’s evolution and progress.

    Vken

    April 13, 2010 at 5:39 pm

  16. Facebook group “I’m with Adobe”:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113492765344092

    Lieven Janssen

    April 27, 2010 at 9:28 am

  17. [...] Why Apple won’t bring Flash to its devices [...]

  18. This is a great analysis of the current situation.

    I would like to point out anothe business aspect: No flash on iPhone/ipad, also means no premium advertising channel for a very lucrative segment of consumers.

    This creates two bussines oporunities for Apple:

    1: content owners need to think different about how to finance their content creation (since advertising obviously will not pay enough) for instance through App Store or iTunes etc

    2: iAd will rule the iPhone/ipad advertising market, probably worth around two billion a year

    Øyvind S

    May 16, 2010 at 6:22 am

  19. Flash and Runtimes on Mobile Devices, Who is right? Steve Jobs or Adobe?

    Steve will not put as in the following post,

    http://zerolinesofcode.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/flash-and-runtimes-on-mobile-devices-who-is-right-steve-jobs-or-adobe/

    zerolinesofcode

    May 26, 2010 at 1:29 am

  20. [...] or a UX Snob? August 19, 2010 by Ricardo Omar Sanchez Francisco Kattan on why Adobe Flash will never enjoy the tap of exuberant fingers on a iOS touch screen: Adobe Flash will not come to iPhone OS devices because Flash would limit Apple’s ability to [...]

  21. Just so you know, I’ve been running flash apps on my HP iPaq 2110, with full touch support (no visible mouse cursor stuff) and the flash player performed relatively good (take in consideration, that the device is quite old). The only reason Apple keep flash from their devices is because they are #$&%$.

    Anonymous

    September 4, 2010 at 2:33 am

  22. Nice post. As i am a flash developer i hate the act of steve, but i honor that man as he did it to make his innovations unique. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  23. [...] Sure, Apple could have still adopted the Flash Platform in 2010, but it was not in the company’s best interest at that time.  In the end, Apple decided not to adopt the Flash Platform because Flash would limit its ability to differentiate its devices.   Apple marketing was focused on the broad availability of apps that worked best on iOS.  To support such positioning, Apple needed developers to target the latest set of proprietary APIs (accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, etc.) rather than write to a higher level cross-device platform that would deliver undifferentiated experiences across Apple and non-Apple devices.  This is why Apple decided to block Flash from iOS (for more on this see: Why Steve Jobs will never put Adobe Flash on iOS devices). [...]

  24. [...] Sure, Apple could have still adopted the Flash Platform in 2010, but it was not in the company’s best interest at that time. In the end, Apple decided not to adopt the Flash Platform because Flash would limit its ability to differentiate its devices. Apple marketing was focused on the broad availability of apps that worked best on iOS. To support such positioning, Apple needed developers to target the latest set of proprietary APIs (accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, etc.) rather than write to a higher level cross-device platform that would deliver undifferentiated experiences across Apple and non-Apple devices.  This is why Apple decided to block Flash from iOS (for more on this see: Why Steve Jobs will never put Adobe Flash on iOS devices). [...]

  25. [...] Sure, Apple could have still adopted the Flash Platform in 2010, but it was not in the company’s best interest at that time. In the end, Apple decided not to adopt the Flash Platform because Flash would limit its ability to differentiate its devices. Apple marketing was focused on the broad availability of apps that worked best on iOS. To support such positioning, Apple needed developers to target the latest set of proprietary APIs (accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, etc.) rather than write to a higher level cross-device platform that would deliver undifferentiated experiences across Apple and non-Apple devices.  This is why Apple decided to block Flash from iOS (for more on this see: Why Steve Jobs will never put Adobe Flash on iOS devices). [...]


Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.