Apple’s Steve Jobs allegedly called Adobe’s Flash a dying technology in a meeting with Wall Street Journal executives earlier this week
In efforts to gain support behind the iPad, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been Adobe Flash-bashing, according to a report from Valleywag.
The tech site reports that when Jobs met with staff of the Wall Street Journal, which uses Flash on its site for videos, slide shows and more, Jobs not only promoted the use of the video compression standards H.264 instead of Flash, but dismissed Flash as buggy, a “CPU hog,” an entry way for security issues and a technology that’s seen its day.
“We don’t spend a lot of energy on old technology,” Jobs reportedly told the Journal.
Analyst Ezra Gottheil, with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK that Jobs has “product reasons and business reasons” for wanting to convince potential supporters to drop Flash, and that his alleged comments aren’t just a bit of trash-talk.
“Flash is slow, it requires frequent updates and it’s relatively buggy,” said Gottheil. “I’m sure he’s exaggerating the degree to which these things are true, but his complaints are at least based in reality, if taken to the extreme.”
Plus, adds Gottheil, “Flash has another issue that Apple hates. To be at all efficient, Flash has to talk directly to the hardware, and Apple, which wants to control the user experience entirely, doesn’t expose hardware to outside developers,” as iPhone users know well.
At the Journal offices, Jobs allegedly compared Flash to floppy drives, old data ports, backlit LCD screens and even the compact disc, insisting that it’s a technology on its way out.
“Flash is a de-facto standard on the Web… and therefore [Jobs] can’t shake loose of it,” said Gottheil. “He wants it to be more of an option and less of a standard. He wants to push it over the edge. All technologies come to an end, and he wants to [encourage the end of Flash] sooner than it would come otherwise.”
In a 10 Feb. report note, Jeffries & Co. analyst Ross MacMillian wrote, however, that Flash has nothing to fear from Apple. “Apple’s exclusion of Flash from the iPhone/iPad and Google’s YouTube beta that uses an HTML5 video tag are recent events that have caused investors to raise concern over the future of Flash (which is today’s leading Internet rich media/video container),” MacMillan wrote in the research note. “We think Flash will remain a leading (but not the only) rich media platform, and, more importantly, this has almost zero bearing on numbers over the next 18 months.”
Gottheil, however, says the floppy disc comment isn’t so ridiculous. “When did people start talking about floppies being obsolete? [Jobs] actually started doing that quite early in the cycle. But long term, he was right.”