Tcoz Tech Wire

Discoursing on trends and technologies interesting to Tim Consolazio, sole proprietor of Tcoz Tech Services, specializing in Flash/Flex/Air, iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, and related technologies.

"Technology from an indie software developer's perspective".

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Comments on Steve Job's attacks on Flash technology: C'mon Steve, it's about money and control.

Recently, Steve Jobs has escalated his war on Flash technology. You can read about it here:

There’s so much contrary info available to me about Steve Jobs’ war on Flash that I can’t find his position credible. It’s amazing that anybody would take it seriously.

I’ve been a Flash dev for a long time. Flash hasn’t crashed my computer in years. Browser now and then, yes, computer, never. And I run three macs, and do all my development on them. Steve is telling a half truth here; if he was being accurate, he would say that POORLY WRITTEN flash apps take down BROWSERS. That is the fact.

This is no less true of a poorly written iPhone app. Go to the forums, bad iPhone apps take down iPhones all the time; memory allocation, lockups, you name it.

Steve Jobs is being dishonest about his motivation for his attack, and it’s obvious to anybody that knows how iPhone content distribution works; this is entirely about control, and money, that’s it. If you allow Flash on the iPad/iPhone, people will be able to write games, audio/video experiences, and deliver them to the iPad, without the deathgrip approval process Apple has over applications (you must submit your app to Apple, and get approval, before distributing to the iPhone via iTunes; Apple gets a distribution fee, AND you have to pay every year to be a registered developer to be allowed to submit apps at all) . Apple won’t make the money on the app distribution, and won’t have to force you to go through the app approval process.

That’s the real issue. I am confident that an army of Flash/Flex devs, and Adobe, as well as any legit third-party evaluation process, would state that there is no technical reason that an iPad can’t support Flash.

It is also interesting that, for video solutions, he points to h.264 video (quicktime), which is a patented and privately licensed technology. And guess who owns it. Sure, cheap now...but when people start depending on it, watch Apple change that for "enterprise content distribution" or some such.

Finally, Steve says Flash is on the way out; that statement, more than any other, I just can't fathom. Flash is in no way dying at all, in fact, as a developer using it for years, I have never seen so much Flash/Flex work. I turn down good work all the time because I’m far too busy. 3d advancements and other useful technologies are allowing Flash to go where it has never gone before.

Apple was heavily vested in Flash technology for years; shortly before the release of the iPhone, they ripped it all off their website; I happened to notice this, and was suspicious of the motivation. A few months later, they announced the app store, and the model for development and distribution; then it became clear to me why you would never see Flash on the iPhone.

Apple can’t control content delivered via Flash.

Folks, people say Microsoft is the evil empire, but one thing for sure, they never tried to control the content you see and use on your devices to the extent Apple is currently enforcing. They should call the device the iCensor.

Me, I’m not getting an iPad. If I buy a device of this nature, I want the entire web experience, not some dumbed-down version Apple is foisting off to enforce control and print more mountains of money. A phone, alright…Flash does take CPU cycles and may not be ideal for a phone (though I don’t have enough info to know this for a fact), and dumbed-down versions of Flash for mobile don’t appeal to me. But there is no excuse for the iPad, unless that device is technically just a big iTouch, in which case, imho, it’s a waste of money. I'll buy a device that doesn't tell me "we don't like it so you can't have it".

Watch out Apple, you're creating a real mud-slinging marketing opportunity for Microsoft here. Windows 7 is on the rise and people are fast forgetting Vista.


At March 5, 2010 6:02 AM , Blogger Marcus said...

Glad to see you blogging again!

I completely agree with you, but I'm less irritated with Apple (I expect that sort of crap from Jobs) than from the many ignorant people spouting opinions re Flash vs. HTML5.

Whenever anyone champions one over the other, I want to stop him and ask him to show me his credentials. Has be EVER created ANYTHING in Flash? Does he know anything about how the technology works? Has he spent any time following the ways Adobe is improving Flash?

Or is he just mindlessly taking a side?

I'm also stunned by how effectively Apple, a huge corporation, has successfully sold the public this imagine of itself as just a couple of hippies working out of a garage. That may have been how they started, but that ain't what they are now.

So many people act like Microsoft is a cold, corporate giant and Apple is a magic, rainbow land of friendly fun. No. BOTH companies are cold, corporate giants. OS X is not the Marxist alternative to Windows.

At March 5, 2010 11:52 AM , Blogger Tcoz said...

All too true. Clearly jobs has no problem with Flash development practices, as long as he can control them, which is the case with using Flash CS5 to compile iPhone apps from ActionScript/Flash. You still have to be a reg'd dev to distribute the apps from the AppStore, and you still pay Apple their cut.

It's so obvious that the point is control over content distribution dollars that I can't believe everybody isn't telling Steve to just be quiet, put on gangsta rap, and swing around his dollar-sign money chain.

Steve also fails to acknowledge that HTML and JS technologies are still so far behind Flash as far as practical capability that there's no comparison. Sure, websites is one thing, any college kid can bang together an AJAX website with some nice JS animation. But let's see you do a 3d game, or high-end control panel of some kind with, with JS...err, no.

Flash is not a good idea for general websites, I get that. But it is the ONLY solid, generally accepted option for high end interactive content distributed via the internet.


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