VentureBeat published an analysis I did of Steve Jobs’s Thoughts on Flash. As one would expect, the comments have been lively. Since I used to work at Macromedia, the creator of Flash, now part of Adobe, I wanted to share my broader perspective and biases in this matter:
- I am a proponent of Web architectures and open standards. I was part of the founding team and chief architect of Allaire, the company that developed the first Web/HTML-centric application server, ColdFusion. ColdFusion ran on Windows, Solaris, HP/UX and Linux. I’ve worked on open standards at the W3C, OASIS and the Java Community Process, open-sourced WDDX and led a team that built key parts of the Apache Axis web services engine.
- I’m weary of anyone having too much control. I grew up in Communism. Need I say more? This applies to government regulation because it tends to be designed by consensus and far less flexible than the future requires.
- Eight years ago I was involved with Flash. After Allaire merged with Macromedia, I was chief architect at Macromedia and worked on initiatives that later became the MX platform and Flex, which is open-sourced under the Mozilla Public License.
- I am agnostic with respect to technology. I learned programming on an Apple ][ clone in Bulgaria but I’ve never owned a Mac. My Windows laptops have Linux VMs on them. I use both Flash/Flex and HTML/CSS/AJAX. I love my iPad, iPhones and iPods for what they are great at but am frustrated by their sometimes arbitrary limitations and use a Verizon Blackberry as my work phone and an Android phone when I travel in Europe.
- I know a bit about cross-platform mobile development, security and advertising. In addition to my work on programming models and runtime environments for the Web, I co-founded a mobile startup that built a cross-device runtime, which is how I learned about the core issues surrounding mobile platforms and mobile application performance. I also co-founded an advertising compliance company and helped start and invested in an application security company.
- I deeply appreciate and admire Apple’s focus on design and UX. I wish Apple bought Tesla and started making cars. I don’t yet care about my car being open and hackable.
- I don’t directly own AAPL, ADBE, GOOG or MSFT. I bet some of the funds I’m invested in have stakes in those companies.
Net of the friendships I have at Adobe, I have a reasonably educated and unbiased perspective.
Let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @simeons.
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All I can say is it’s hard to make a living…. first I got sucked into learning LiveMotion, then I learned Flash, and I do it all on a Mac. I do only as much code as I have to. I just want to deliver content damn it and I’m tired of having to reinvent myself— I thought the days of web publishing ease would follow quickly behind how desktop publishing became so non-techy in a few short years. Apparently CS5 advertises itself as a big step in that direction, just as Apple makes official that it’s killing my beloved designer-friendly Flash, that is no more evil than the technologies that produce ugly, blaring TV ads and newspaper ads. Have I fallen in love with my iphone for nothing…. just when all my friends are buying Mac laptops and desktops? No I can’t switch back to PC… too much invested. Now Steve Jobs is going to slowly kill Flash… another wasted gazillion hours of my time learning. I’m tired of learning stuff that gets killed. At least I got out of Quark and into InDesign at about the right time. The learning curve switch was easy. The pocketbook however wishes it didn’t have to pay for two expensive programs that do the same thing. The big boys fight their industry dominance wars on the backs of millions of creative designers everywhere.
Frankly, with Flash being obviously done for (you’ve known that for the better part of a decade if you’ve been paying attention), the whole “why isn’t there Flash on my iPad?” story is growing a little boring. The more interesting question at this point might be more along the following: once Adobe is finished inexplicably ruining itself by betting its future on Flash, which technology company is going to end up with the company’s legitimate Creative Suite properties like Photoshop and Illustrator?
Two things. First, I would have commented on the VentureBeat blog – but about 80% of the commenters seemed to have missed your point entirely – and I’d rather have the discussion here.
I absolutely agree with you – Apple’s blockage of Flash has nothing to do with how videos are wrapped – and everything to do with the upcoming Advertising platform that Apple is already hocking around to different agencies (I come from that world). I’m sure Steve is very happy to have the argument be about geeky video codecs as he quietly sets up iAds in the background.
To me (as you point out) this is (at least) a short term strategy to get a kick-start on iAds (I can imagine the iAds store already) and (at best for Apple) further putting the Android platform in a corner.
At the end of the day, whether Flash lives or dies is irrelevant. Although, ironically, Google now has a reason to make sure it doesn’t (at least for a while). Let’s face it, the amount of revenue Adobe derives from Flash – is well… irrelevant. Adobe will be fine with or without flash as a video wrapper. And (as you well know) standards die hard. I still know a few excellent apps that are still selling written in Cold Fusion.
The second thing was that this was an introduction to your blog – to which I’m now subscribed.
Thanks for making me thing on a Monday morning!
Yes, iAd is turning out to be quite the magical advertising environment.
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