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What’s Wrong with Flash?



The former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs explained why they chose not to allow Flash on their iDevices in April 2010. Many of you should be familiar with the term Flash and the fact that it doesn’t work on iDevices because Apple has been insisting not to adopt it from Adobe, a well-known software developer in the world. Before we get to that, how many of you actually know that Apple was Adobe’s first big customer? Apple invested in Adobe when they were still in their garage. They used to be partners supporting each other in many ways. So, what happened?


Apple is known for their innovation on solving people’s problem. Apple’s goal is to provide solutions based what consumer’s needs. And it is this core value that brings its success. Adobe has the similar culture until its Flash.app. 


Jobs pointed out couple reasons why Apple keeps Flash away from iDevice. 

For instance, Flash is a 100% proprietary product which is only available from Adobe. Unlike other open standards such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript which allows developers to use freely, Flash is under control of Adobe who has all the rights to do anything about it, from tech spec to pricing. 


Secondly, Flash violate the concept of “full web”. Since there is a modern video format H.264, which is viewable on any iDevice, Youtube, Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, and many many others, Flash is just a new standard that gets in the way. 

Third, it’s not safe enough. “Symantec highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009.” said Steve Jobs. 

Forth, it kills battery life by almost two folds while playing videos on mobile devices.

Fifth, Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not touch screen using fingers. The “rollovers” doesn’t work by using fingers hovering on the screen. 


And the most important reason, Flash violate Apple’s motivation-providing the most advanced and innovative platform to our developers DIRECTLY. Adding this third party layer on their system doesn’t fit in Apple’s goal. Apple wants developers to stand right on their OS and take the most advantage of it to develop apps. Any third party layer would make it more complicated for developers to work.  


What happened? Why couldn’t Adobe successfully deliver its Flash prosecutes like its other products? The answer is simple. They forgot the core value of business. The purpose of business is making customers. In order to do that, companies should start from identifying consumers problem and then provide solution based on the concept of “what I can do for you.” Asking developers to adopt Flash which was designed for PCs into mobile devices is just the opposite. They are simply asking people to buy what they have at hands. 


Helping consumers with what you can do not what you have at hands is something companies need to keep in mind. Help them before you can sell to them. This is how you play in the game.



 Thoughts on Flash by Steve Jobs

April, 2010 http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

Categories: Uncategorized
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