Jobs lies in “thoughts on Flash”

Steve Jobs has posted a defence to his position on Flash and not surprisingly it’s full of errors and misrepresentations.

Let’s look at the points he makes:

First, there’s “Open”.

He asses that “Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc.”

Sure, Adobe’s Flash products are only available from Adobe. That’s what makes them Adobe’s.

But there are many open source IDE’s, compilers, RTMP servers and players available.

Also he claims that “By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.”

Flash is a complex system made up from many parts, but the most important part is the swf format. That is an open format, and you can write both a compiler and a player without needing a license.

So if the swf is open what is Jobs referring to when he says “100% proprietary”?

It cannot be the RTMP and AMF formats since they are open. And the whole SDK with compiler and Flex framework is open.

The one thing that is not fully open is Adobes own implementation of a Flash Player. Since Apple is one of the licensors behind H.264 one would think that Jobs would be aware of why Adobe cannot release it publicly. It contains proprietary codecs and hence cannot be made open by Adobe.

But if Jobs is concerned with proprietary products, maybe he should work for making H.264 open to help Adobe open the Flash Player as well?

And let’s not forget that the canvas is Apple’s proprietary technology.

Second, there’s the “full web”.

Here Jobs claims that “Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access ‘the full web’ because 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.”

To claim that “almost all” the web would be the same as the “full web” is of course dishonest in itself, and in this case the “almost” is very broad since there is countless sites that have not bothered with HTML5 yet.

And he seems to forget that Flash is used for a lot more than displaying video. He does mention games, but seems to think that because there are many games for iPhone today there are no games on the web.

He’s trying to argue that Adobe are wrong when they say Flash is needed to access “the full web”, and in the middle of the argument he switches focus to the app store and how many games there are there. Clearly Jobs has a vision to replace the Internet with his tightly controlled app store, and is expecting users to to the same. But the argument was about the web, and the fact remains that apart from video there are a lot of apps, games and animations which cannot be viewed without Flash.

Third, there’s reliability, security and performance.

The reliability and performance arguments never get’s old for Steve. I guess he still hasn’t bother with benchmarking to actually find out that his assumptions are bogus.

HTML5 and JS certainly does not provide greater stability or performance. That should be pretty clear to anyone familiar with the technologies.

Regarding security, looking at data from Secunia and the number of threats and time for them to get patched I would say that Flash has a rather good security record. It’s certainly not the case that JS is secure and Flash isn’t.

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