Apple's new MacBook Air ships without Adobe Flash pre-installed: a sign of continuing Adobe-Apple conflict, or something else?
In an April letter posted on his company's Website, Apple CEO
Steve Jobs wrote that Adobe Flash "is the number one reason Macs crash."
Furthermore, he added, "We don't want to reduce the reliability and
security of our iPhones, iPods and iPads by adding Flash."
Flash-forward seven months, and now Apple has actually escalated its
conflict with Adobe: The company's new MacBook Air line ships without Flash
pre-installed, requiring owners to manually download the plug-in.
Apple itself is apparently framing the Flash prohibition as part of a larger
effort to give users an optimized experience. In his letter, Jobs had
previously damned the plug-in's reliability, security and performance.
"We're happy to continue to support Flash on the Mac," Apple
spokesperson Bill Evans reportedly wrote in a statement to tech blog Engadget
"and the best way for users to always have the most up-to-date and secure
version is to download it directly from Adobe."
chose to echo that message in its own statement
: "As always, Adobe
recommends that users download the most up-to-date version of Adobe Flash
Player from Adobe.com."
Although Jobs moved earlier this year to ban flash from Apple's mobile
devices, the company subsequently revised its iPhone Developer Program License
Agreement to eliminate restrictions on development tools. Under the revised
guidelines, developers can use Adobe Flash to write apps, provided the apps in
not download any code."
Apple battles aside, though, Adobe seems determined to port its wares onto
as many screens as possible. The company's worldwide developer conference saw
the Oct. 25 rollout of Adobe AIR 2.5 for
televisions, tablets, smartphones and desktop operating systems.
"Prior to this release, AIR has been
used to run apps on the desktop, but AIR 2.5
is able to support mobile apps and TVs with common frameworks and common tools,"
David Gruber, group product manager for Flex and Flash Builder, told
eWEEK in an interview
. "Everybody wants to get into the app game."
Adobe hasn't been the only target of Apple's ire in recent months. During
the company's quarterly earnings call Oct. 18, Jobs fired broadsides at both
Google and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.
"We've now passed RIM, and I don't see them catching up with us in the
immediate future," Jobs told analysts and reporters on the call. "I
think it's going to be a challenge for them to create a competitive platform. .
. . With 300,000 apps in Apple's App Store, RIM has a high mountain to climb."
As for Google, Jobs added: "We think Android is very, very fragmented,
and becoming more fragmented by the day. . . . We also think that our
developers could be more innovative if they can target a singular platform,
rather than a hundred variants."
If you want a sign of the increasingly vicious competition between Apple and
its competitors-and how those respective sides are trying to make their
products as distinct as possible from one another-observe how fervently Google
and the rest tout their support for Adobe Flash, even as Apple remains
ambivalent, at best, about the player.