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The upcoming Apple vs. Flash battle

The Wall St. Journal this morning had a short synopsis of Adobe Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen’s talk at the Goldman Sachs technology conference this week.  That’s the same conference where Tim Cook spoke yesterday.

He spoke on his view of why the iPad wasn’t equipped to play Flash:

Narayen said Apple’s decision likely had everything to do with its business model as it tries to keep a proprietary, closed system so everything goes through its iTunes store, and has nothing to do with the Flash technology. He said about 85 of the top 100 Web sites in the world use Flash, and 75% of the video on the Web today is in Flash, including Google Inc.’s (GOOG) YouTube, News Corp.’s (NWS) Hulu and broadcasters such as ABC and Fox.

Earlier this month, Jobs reportedly told Wall Street Journal execs that if the iPad used Flash the battery life would go from 10 hours to 1.5 (has Apple been testing this?).  

But is it all about technology?  Perhaps Adobe’s CEO is partially right.  Even if Flash ran efficiently on the iPad and weren’t full of security holes, Apple might balk at having other ways to get applications on the iPhone.  Certainly, Flash/AIR developers would rather write applications once and do updates online rather than have to reprogram their Apps to work natively on the iPhone.  Those apps would run on Android devices and any other devices that run Flash.  

The first mobile devices with Flash won’t run well.  Batteries will drain fast, they will crash a lot and they won’t be capable of performing anywhere as well as native applications.

Over the next year, however, things will change.  Flash will become more efficient

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Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites.

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