Pot Meet Kettle

From Steve Jobs of Apple

While Adobe's Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

LOL.  Substitute "Apple" for "Adobe" and "i____" for "Flash" and the sentence still works fine.


  1. The Biz of Life:

    Amen. Looking forward to the Ubuntu 10.04 release later today.

  2. Kevin R:

    The difference is that Apple is cool, while Flash represents all that is soulless and wrong.

    (Only sort of kidding; not because I love Apple, but because I despise Flash. If it takes Apple to kill it off, fine.)

  3. Brad Warbiany:

    To be fair to Jobs, he follows those statements up in the original press release by stating right up front that many of Apple's products are proprietary.

    As an engineer, many of his justifications for not allowing flash make a lot of sense.

    (And no, I'm not an Apple fanboy. My wife has an iPhone and I have an iPod, but I don't use their computers, prefer my BlackBerry and would love a Droid over the iPhone. I think I'm being objective with the above statements).

  4. Captain Obviousness:

    The arrogance of Steve Jobs and the closed philosophy of Apple are why I'll never buy another Apple product. There are some advantages to their nazi-like approach, such as close control over compatibility and quality of apps, but I can't stand it because I actually want to install whatever software I want on my phone once I buy it. If Apple made an iCar they would put some chip in it that killed the ignition if you modified your engine in a non-Apple-approved way.

    Apple's tight control over the App Store content might eventually end the iPhone's dominance. Right now the iPhone still has the slickest touch interface (Droid is great, I have one, but iPhone is still slicker and smoother), but other manufacturers will be able to duplicate it soon. Android's apps are growing exponentially and without some Apple central planner saying what apps are approved. Steve Jobs' comment the other day summed up his arrogance perfectly. When asked why the App Store was banning apps with content deemed too "adult" Jobs responded that (paraphrasing) "If people want to download porn onto their phone they can get an Android phone."

  5. Gumby:

    Not up to your usual standard of analysis. I can't recall Jobs claiming the iAnything were open, whereas Adobe have tried to claim that Flash is an open standard. You may not like Apple's proprietary approach, but this is not hypocrisy.

  6. Ish:

    Of course, for a large number of Apple users the closed nature of Apple products is a major reason they prefer them, I speak as one such user.

  7. Andooo:

    Ahh yes, the users who prefer to not have control over their phones...

    or the 'gullibles' as apple refers to them internally...

  8. IgotBupkis:

    > Substitute “Apple” for “Adobe” and “i____” for “Flash” and the sentence still works fine.

    Except that you don't have to go to the iStore to obtain Flash media.

    The only iProduct I own is an iPod Shuffle I got for free as a part of a bank giveaway. I like it, it's a great little device. And I've never bought any other iProduct because I cannot abide by Apple's Naziform sales policies. I've bought two successive back-to-back Sansa Clips (2gb and later 4gb - roughly equivalent to the Shuffle in size and function) for my own MP3 needs. The Shuffle does backup duty for the Clip (I gave the older one away when I got the new one).

    There's no question, Apple does a spectacular job when it comes to form, function, and design. If only they'd stop there and license it out, leaving the marketing to the free market.

    There's no doubt about it -- Apple is the epitome of the libtard vision of what all markets are and should be. The real problem lies in what happens when they fail to anticipate.

    Apple has been in this exact same situation before, in the 1980s. They literally OWNED computing, then, through general marketing stupidity and (literal) Gallic arrogance, they fornicated with the Labrador.

    Wired did an excellent piece about it back in the 1990s, before their resurgence under Jobs.
    It's an excellent piece, and, as a computer professional, I can tell you it's spot on on every level. Worth the read. Because I think Apple, for the exact same reasons, is going to screw the pooch again at some point, in much the same way.
    They Coulda Been A Contender

  9. IgotBupkis:

    > Not up to your usual standard of analysis. I can’t recall Jobs claiming the iAnything were open, whereas Adobe have tried to claim that Flash is an open standard. You may not like Apple’s proprietary approach, but this is not hypocrisy.

    "Open" is a variable term. In computing, there are different levels of "open". Flash certainly fits one of them.

    Flash is an open standard in the same sense that Java is an open standard. The guts are readily available to everyone who needs to understand the workings of them. Just as Sun controls the basic definition of Java, however (or did, until Microsoft screwed them in court), so, too, does Adobe control the basic definition and makeup of Flash. And Adobe, unlike Apple, does not demand that all those who release Flash products do so via their own special, unique and single-owner website/market.

    Flash is NOT open in the sense of Linux, which is a committee-controlled standard in which anyone can futz with the innards any way they want to at the risk of becoming incompatible with others. Good ideas get widespread acceptance and adoption, then are added to the standard, others generally not.

    Apple is not in any way, shape, or form an "open" system. And I bed to differ, those who operate a straightjacketing system ARE being hypocritical when they criticize someone for not being open. When Kim Jong Il criticizes any other nation for "not being democratic" or for "human rights violations", that is hypocrisy. That he doesn't claim to support either himself is beside the point. If you don't support it, your ability to criticize others' lack of it is somewhat circumscribed (not fully, but somewhat).

  10. Dr. T:

    If you read the entire statement, it makes sense and has no inconsistencies. The iPhone, iTouch, and iPad have closed hardware and operating systems. But, they have an open architecture for third parties to create applications for those devices. The main problem the above devices have with Flash is that there are no hardware chipsets that accelerate Flash videos and animations. Running Flash as a software application uses too much CPU time and shortens battery life, a big no-no for portable devices. A third party could design Flash-running chips, but there is no guarantee that they would work when Adobe next upgrades Flash. That's why Apple didn't try to acquire Flash-running chips.

    Apple fully supports Flash across its entire line of computers, but Adobe's Mac versions often lag behind Windows versions both in feature sets and release dates. Urging the use of HTML5 instead of Flash is logical for Apple.

  11. mesaeconoguy:

    Apple non-popularity (non-hackability?) = deliberate lack of innovation, or apps?

    Sorry, chief, dk on that one....

  12. rxc:

    I don't normally buy Apple products because of the closed nature of their platforms - I think that it was crazy to build a computer without a portable media input device (CD or floppy), back when there was no alternative. And I really like to install home-brew software that work well and quickly (some of my free sailing software would likely not be Apple compliant).

    However, we did buy an iPod touch because it had Wifi connectivity, while other media players did not, and we discovered that the Apple business model even extends to controlling what you can buy at the Apple store, based on where you live. We are Americans, with American credit cards, living in France, and when we tried to use our credit cards to register the iPod, the site would not let us, because our IP address was in France, and Apple will not let people buy software outside the marketing area where they live. They compare the credit card address to your IP address, and if there is a mis-match, you are SOL. The agreement states this explicitly (they can use whatever technical means necessary to prevent out-of-market purchases).

    This was not good for us, as we had purchased the unit in Miami, and could not easily return it. A long letter to Steve Jobs resulted in a return phone call from someone in Ireland who explained a workaround involving some creative entries, and we can now purchase from the US Apple store. But it was quite disconcerting, and I am sure that we were given a break from a normally rigid company policy.

    No more Apple products.

    And what is "intuitive" about a double click on an object to open it or run it?

  13. jay:

    Apple is the Scientology of the tech world.

    The problem is this: Apple may dis flash but millions of websites say otherwise. So, like it or not, if you want the full internet experience, you need to buy a netbook or other more open (open as is freely adaptable, not as in non-proprietary)

  14. ADiff:

    Interesting isn't it, that while Flash, Adobe and Microsoft "represent everything that Evil", it's more likely Apple that really is "everything Evil"......

  15. epobirs:

    Dr. T,

    Since hardware accelerated versions of Flash are currently in Beta testing, that argument just doesn't hold water. There aren't any special chips needed, just standard GPUs. Flash isn't doing anything that isn't covered by the hardware acceleration already present in nearly every current device where it would be desirable. Apple's complaints fall apart when the accelerated Flash is released but that isn't Apple's real concern.

    And as for the Mac versions of Flash trailing the Windows version in quality, Apple has only itself to blame. Microsoft did a far better job of exposing the needed APIs to let third parties, not just Adobe, produce the intended functionality. None of this is mysterious. Developers have been asking Apple for this for years and they've only recently responded. Lo and behold, the latest test versions of Flash for the Mac are much improved over their predecessors.

    Jobs is being dishonest and needlessly so. The iPhone/Pod/Touch are closed platforms in terms of publishing. Apple essentially adopted the game console business model originated by Nintendo. The refusal to allow Flash hinges on one issue and one issue only: control of the platform. Apple is no different from any maker of video game consoles. They want a piece of the action on any code sold on their platform. Flash threatens that control. It is the classic Jobs dishonesty and general contempt for anyone who doesn't take his declarations as the purest wisdom.