Dear Mr. Jobs!
Not by any means, but mainly by your marketing and strategic means, Mr. Jobs, Flash is a closed system.
Anyone can compile to Flash without using a single Adobe product. Period. There is nobody at Adobe watching over of what you produce and accepting or rejecting Flash applications because of strategic objections, unlike other companies.
The specifications for the Flash SWF format have been published a long time ago, so anyone can compile Flash/SWF. Same for FLV as the video container format and AMF for the communication protocol. That’s what I call open. The Flex framework has been published as open source a long time ago, so even programming tools and powerful application frameworks are free of charge to produce free content. For anyone. That’s what I call open.
The open screen project in it’s early stages is in the process of further removing barriers for OEM’s licensing and using Flash player technology.
You basically say Flash and so Flash Video is a closed system, a proprietary system, but at the same time you are mentioning H.264 that is used for Quicktime – and here we go: if anyone takes the time to look at licensing closely, licensing *is* a big issue here, it is very unclear for content publishers, how licensing schemes will be forced by the MPEG LA licensing pool. Basically they depend on the good will of a monopoly industry consortium in how much they have to pay in the future for using H.264. So you reject a “closed system” while at the same time pushing and calling even worse H.264 as an open technology. By any means, what does open stand for in that context? Furthermore: what are Apple plans here? Getting into the MPEG licensing pool – extending it’s monopoly in the name of “open technologies”? (Apple is already a member of the MPEG LA licensing pool, as of today). Apple’s role regarding pushing H.264 should be clear with being a member of the MPEG LA.
Thanks to Flash the internet has grown to what it’s today, a way to push the limits of development for the internet and bringing applications to communicate with and entertain people. For years you were trying to push H.264/Quicktime to be used as the web video format, so Microsoft has tried the same – and failed as well. And it was Flash that was able to build a common ground for people to watch video without wondering about having the right codec – be it Quicktime/H.264 or AVI/wmv. Sites like YouTube were able to grow, just because of a widely accepted and solid installed base of Flash players. And it is also because of YouTube that the common people use and see the internet as an entertainment source – and also enjoy accessing these sites with their smartphones.
For decades designers and developers use Adobe AND Apple products together, for producing great content and excellent applications. Apple has survived and grown basically because of these loyal customers – and last but not least because of Macromedia and Adobe – after they have aquired Macromedia. There was a time where Apple likely was trying to buy Macromedia – I wonder why. Many people are wondering at the same time where all this hatred towards Adobe is coming from? One could think of this to be the real reason behind all those flimsy contentions.
I perfectly understand and accept that Apple wants to earn money and secure a certain market share, but please, honestly say so, and not give us canting reasons for protecting us people from bad “influence”. Internet is not a religion, but sometimes I feel that Apple is. We do not need another grumpy old internet pope, Mr. Jobs. Use your genius to bring good products while also accepting that the internet and all products participating in that global system are not build upon a monoculture, this is what the internet is about. There is a pie big enough for many players, and it is competition that brings choices and innovations to the people – something you should consider when talking about what is best for someone else. I do not think it is a good idea to polarize and split the internet into an Apple and non Apple world – neither for delivering nor developing. People do not want to come to a point, where they have to decide to get an iPhone or not, because of vounded vanities of a few.
And for the most: we all know we are talking about two different things here, you know, and you are all talking about just “Flash”, mixing it into one “bad” thing to ban. That shows that this is not only a strategic move but also it’s likely emotional. We do not know what happened behind the scenes, probably you and Mr. Narayen only do, but what one can tell is that obviously the success of Flash brought up alot of resentment, especially in fields that companies were trying to penetrate for years to get a solid market share for, like web video. Yes, Flash was not the most superior product in the world to use for videos, speaking of performance, but Flash succeeded in bringing video to the desktop over the internet – and it keeps improving – especially if companies like Apple collaborate – as recently shown with the inclusion of H.264 hardware decoding, that Adobe included within a week into their current beta version of the FlashPlayer. And as every technology that wants to be accepted it needs collaboration, with developers and partners, where everybody can win. It is not always about the most optimized technology that win’s but technology that is mostly accepted and brings in a broad extensibility to the developers. Flash is far beyond than just being video, but yes, video on the web was almost equal to Flash, if you like it or not. But this is not about video. Nobody has a problem, when certain situations and sites offer concurrently or switch to HTML5 video, where it makes sense. But then there are situations where there is alot of individuality needed in playing videos, and developers want their creativity not to be limited by technologies but by their ideas. Besides video, there are thousands and thousands of great online applications being build with Flash/Flex, and now the knowledge of many more developers can be used to produce for another platform to produce apps for, what can be wrong about this? This is not about Flash player on the iPhone, this is about Adobe participating in Apple’s success. And what’s wrong with that, when there were times – and I believe they are still present – where Apple was participating in Adobe’s success?
I am not an Adobe employee, but a loyal Adobe customer and developer, while at the same time being a loyal Apple customer and I believe in tools and technologies that push the limits further, may it be HTML5 or Flash – I want to be able to decide, on a case by case – and not to be in an all or nothing scenario. Why not leave it up to the developer to decide which technology and tools to chose?
Not Flash is past but protectionism is. Don’t become a second Microsoft, don’t try to control the market, just for the sake of power. Regulatory institutions will surely keep an eye on those practices. Just look at all those difficulties that Microsoft is struggling with because of their earlier protectionism – and I am not speaking of regulatory issues only. Many loyal Apple customers – including myself – don’t want to be part of that game, but still would like to choose Apple and non Apple products to use, develop for and enjoy. Divide et impera.