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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Lack of Flash is all about Money

All this talk about Flash on the iPhone/iPad . . . Why does Apple freeze out Flash?  Here’s why:

  • 1% battery life.  If Apple is willing to cripple the phone with no background applications to save battery, then I can believe that disallowing Flash supports this same cause.
  • 1% of this is that Flash is “lame” or proprietary or any of that nonsense.
  • 98% of this about the App store.  Apps delivered through the browser can’t be monetized (and to a lesser extent controlled) through the App store.  If Flash was enabled on the iPhone anybody could write apps for the iPhone without Apple’s permission. 

That’s it.

The iPhone is as open as is useful to Apple.  I’ll bet that if they could get away with shutting off Javascript on the iPhone they would do that too.  Of course, that would also cause an enormous uproar, so they won’t.  Javascript in the browser is the leak in the App store.  Their only defense is to make their browser lame (or be slow to adopt new standards). 

One thing that backs up my point about the App store is that neither the Flash nor Silverlight runtime is actually banned from the iPhone.  You just have to build it into an iPhone application for the App store and you are in business.  Miguel de Icaza and his excellent team proved that last year (with Mono anyway) as has Adobe with Flash.

What do I think about this?  I find it irksome to say the least, but I didn’t buy the iPhone thinking it was anything but a closed platform, controlled by someone who thinks they know best.  I’m OK with that for now – the phone works pretty well.  Eventually something will work just as well without the restrictions. 

And then I’ll jump ship.


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