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Apple blasts Flash as 'closed and proprietary'

updated 09:40 am EDT, Thu April 22, 2010

Responds to Adobe dropping iPhone plans

Adobe has it "backwards" when it comes to web standards and the iPhone, claims Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. The statement comes in response to a quote from Adobe product manager Mike Chambers, noting that Section 3.3.1 of the latest iPhone developer agreement effectively bans the use of Flash cross-compilers for iPhone apps. Adds Muller, "it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe's Flash is closed and proprietary."

Chambers commented that Section 3.3.1 "has the effect of restricting applications built with a number of technologies, including Unity, Titanium, MonoTouch, and Flash CS5." Adobe is in fact dropping support for Flash-to-iPhone compiling after Flash CS5, and directing most of its effort towards Android, the platform in closest competition with the iPhone. Companies which have already released iPhone apps cross-compiled from Flash may be at risk of having them blocked from the App Store, Chambers warns.

Muller's remark appears to disregard the prevalence of Flash, which is regularly used for videos, slideshows and advertising on the web. The technology is also supported across Mac, Windows and Linux systems, and in a limited fashion on some smartphones. When Flash 10.1 for mobile is released, it should expand the format to Android, BlackBerry and webOS phones. Apple has typically decried Flash because of battery, security, stability and CPU load concerns.

by MacNN Staff



  1. donmontalvo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bye bye Flash...

    ...and good riddance. Never, every, in my long IT support career have I ever been forced to wrestle with such a poorly written resource hog as Adobe Flash. Adobe Flash was great. Then everyone and their 6 year old started to pollute the internet with as much flash as they can shoe horn into a page. Now Adobe Flash is a joke. I absolutely LOVE it when a talented web designer creates a beautiful page without using Flash. Flash is internet Crack. We need to move away from it. Leave it to Apple to REMIND the world there are better, more open (read: not proprietary) solutions out there like HTML5. I'm behind Apple's decision 100%. Die, Flash...Die!

    Don Montalvo, TX

  1. Outdo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Pot and the Kettle

    iPhone is proprietary, too.

  1. bonaccij

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Narrow Sighted

    "Muller's remark appears to disregard the prevalence of Flash, which is regularly used for videos, slideshows and advertising on the web. The technology is also supported across Mac, Windows and Linux systems, and in a limited fashion on some smartphones."

    Uhm... so just about every site that uses Flash for this stuff also (now) has an HTML5 compliant site as well that can be seen on devices (yes, iPhones, but also others) that cannot support Flash. And, the last time I checked, HTML5 (an ACTUAL web STANDARD) is ALREADY supported on all of these devices... what... so we are going to wait for Flash to get their junk out of the door because "X"# of companies have "promised to support Flash" on all of their devices?

    The media is so ridiculously skewed right now. Nobody talks about how, by decrying Flash, Apple actually helps out other platforms (a.k.a. Android, Symbian, WebOS, WinMo) IMMEDIATELY because HTML5, believe it or not, ALREADY WORKS ON THOSE PLATFORMS. Why everyone doesn't get this annoys me. You would think these other technology companies would rally behind Apple on this one. Why should we wait to get "the full web" when the companies responsible for these sites can re-encode them to use HTML5 and everyone can see/use them now???

    "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" - Mogatu

  1. bauhaus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    PR women not versed with the tech

    h.264 is not open (it is licensed)

    html5 is not standardized, yet (anyone who's ever had to really work with it knows of the differing implementations for different platforms -- Apple being one of the worst for having it's own way of implementing some features and having its own set of calls that are ONLY used by WebKit.)

    html5 won't even be a candidate for a standard until 2012

    This is all issues for Web support and Apple should, if they choose (and as they have), restrict Flash out of the private APIs and Safari web browsing. There's a tech issue there.

    Cross-compilers are a different story where clearly Apple is exercising restraint of trade for Apps. Flash recompiled as native code IS native code and is only barred by words on a document, not technological hurdles. Same goes for Monotouch. Those Apps should be treated like any other app and if there are problems with it, let the marketplace decide not to use/buy them. Apple's sandboxing of apps should keep any app from s******* with the phone/pad. Easiest thing to look at is Wired magazine's iPad app (one of Apple's launch partners for the iPad.) It runs fine and is cross-compiled with Flash CS5. If users are happy (and Apple was enough, at the time, to promote the Wired mag), why should Apple interfere now? This part is a douche move by Apple that only hurts developers and consumers.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The anonymous author of this article obviously doesn't know that prevalence has nothing to do with whether a technology is open, closed, proprietary or licensed. In fact, the observation that Flash (which is closed and licensed) is indeed so prevalent is a vindication of Apple's position in this regard. Duh! For the hard of thinking: the unbounded prevalence of any proprietary technology is bad, period.

  1. PRoth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who's getting tired of this already?

    Apple: You're a caca poopoo head Adobe.
    Adobe: Am not! You're the meany!

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple's Right

    Flash is a proprietary cancer on the web, and Adobe is holding back human progress. They must be stopped. Once Apple has their proprietary software installed on 98% of web browsers, and 90% of major websites use it, then Apple will need to be stopped as well. Until then, sorry Adobe, but you're on the wrong side.

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Everywhere does not equal open

    "Muller's remark appears to disregard the prevalence of Flash, which is regularly used for videos, slideshows and advertising on the web."

    By the same logic Windows was an open standard because it runs on most computers. Your argument is flawed. There ARE internationally recognized standards out there. Flash is not one of them. This is why when I ran a departments web server I refused to put Flash on it. I told the programmers to use standard HTML code and standardized tools. I also would not let them put up sites that were only accessible with IE. They were pissed but they became better programmers.

  1. 7stringdude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    HTML 5 does not replace Flash

    Until somebody creates an equivalent application that lets designers create and animate graphics without requiring the user to know a ton of code, there is no way that Flash will ever go away – no matter how badly Apple wants it to. Designers need a way to test out their animations and designs without having to go to a programmer every time. And although there are some of us that know how to program and do so, there are a lot of designers that just want to bring their ideas to life without a ton of hassle. If Apple were to create a Flash-equivalent program that automatically writes the HTML 5 and javascript for the designer, maybe they might have something to stand on. As a proud owner and user of Apple computers as well as a graphic designer that has long enjoyed the once strong Adobe/Apple relationship. I am disappointed that Apple continues to alienate Adobe. It's sad that most of the creative tools seem to be now stronger on the PC side, when at one point in time, anyone creative would only dare use a Mac. It was creative people that kept Apple alive throughout the years. Android is too great of a threat to Apple for them to be alienating Adobe and the creative industry. At least that's my perspective.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    did everyone miss the point?

    OK, someone please tell me how the fact that Adobe Flash is closed, proprietary, a freakin' nightmare to support, etc, etc, etc, has anything to do with the fact that Apple won't let you convert a flash app to an iPhone app.

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