Apple vs. Flash: The InfoWorld peace plan

Wars like the conflict between Apple and Adobe over Flash seldom yield a productive outcome. InfoWorld proposes a way forward

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In Adobe's defense, the company has created an enterprise platform for Flash under the LiveCycle brand that includes an Eclipse framework, data integration, and an application server. The suite is currently in use by enterprise developers and professional services organizations.

Resource-hogging. A related issue to the quality of the code is the quality of the player; both conspire to eat up resources such as CPU cycles, memory, and battery power. Jobs has pointed out that Adobe has been promising mobile versions of the full Flash Player for years but has yet to deliver one.

Without Flash players actually on the market, it's hard to know if Jobs' concerns are valid. But the delays are worrisome. We may get a clue if Adobe meets its promised June ship date -- which has slipped a few times already -- for Flash Player 10 for Android.

Compromised security. As Microsoft has tightened the security features in its Windows operating system, its apps, and its development tools and as Apple has begun to do the same on its end, Adobe stands out as the emerging threat magnet, due to a regular flow of security holes in its Flash, AIR, and PDF technologies.

Of course, Apple has had its share of security issues on the Mac OS, so it's no paragon of security virtue. But the iPhone OS -- because of Apple's tight controls -- has so far been spared breaches outside of jailbroken devices, and it's understandable Apple wants to keep it that way.

Lack of gesture support. Jobs claims the Flash's keyboard-and-mouse interface expectations -- derived from its PC roots -- simply don't make sense in a gesture-based mobile device. He's sort of right. On the other hand, most Web pages also are designed for keyboard and mouse input, yet Apple lets users access those sites on its iPhone OS devices. What's the difference?

True, Apple has substituted its own UI approaches for some native HTML UI conventions -- such as the scroller for picking menu items in <select> tags -- but it doesn't do so for JavaScript UI elements, even though most of those are not touch-friendly. So why apply a different standard to Flash UI elements?

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