Steve Jobs continues to criticize Flash

When the Apple iPad was unveiled last month one of the main criticisms of the device was its lack of support for Adobe's Flash player, an interactive component used on many major websites to provide everything from video content to games. Since then, Steve Jobs has attended a series of private meetings with newspaper journalists and editors to give them a better idea of how their content will be utilised by the iPad, and seemingly to persuade them to abandon Flash on their websites.

At these "behind closed doors" events, Jobs reiterated comments made at a company meeting shortly after the original announcement where he explained his reasoning behind the decision to exclude Flash from the iPad; as well as its continued absence on iPhones and the iPod Touch, despite large demand for it. Jobs believes that Flash is too buggy on the Mac platform and thinks that new features in HTML5 will eventually replace the need for it, and reportedly went as far as to call Adobe "lazy".

The main newspapers that Jobs visited - the Wall Street Journal and New York Times - heavily use Flash on their websites to provide video and graphics. These two sites are interested to hear why Apple thinks that it is unneeded and will not appear when users visit their website on the iPad.

According to Valleywag, Jobs continued his negativity towards Flash, calling it a "CPU hog," a source of "security holes" and "old technology" - comparing it with other older technologies that Apple has apparently encouraged people to ditch, such as floppy drives, FireWire 400 (ironically Apple's creation in the first place), and CDs (because of the iTunes Store).

At the Wall Street Journal, Jobs is reported to have said that the iPad's battery life would degrade from 10 hours to about 1.5 hours if it used Flash, blaming having to spend extra CPU cycles decoding it. However, you may wonder how they can know this unless they have performed tests of Flash on the device, and as Valleywag point out it "sounds like an unfair comparison; the iPad would unlikely achieve its advertised 10 hours of maximum battery life while continuously playing video of any sort, iPad optimized or not."

Jobs even went as far as suggesting that the newspapers could abandon Flash, and that it would be a "trivial" move to create video in the H.264 codec instead. The Valleywag post gives some good arguments against such a move and why it makes no sense at all, including the cost of licensing the codec and the time and staff that would be needed to complete the so-called "trivial" move to a website without Flash.

Apple's apparent grudge against Adobe was obviously made quite clear, and shortly after the meetings the Wall Street Journal's Holman Jenkins wrote an editorial which compared Apple to Microsoft. In the piece Jenkins wrote that Apple is in danger of becoming preoccupied with "zero-sum maneuvering versus hated rivals" and that the decision to not allow Flash on the iPad was a prime example of this.

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