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How does Apple accelerate the death of flash?

via:博客园     time:2021/1/21 12:47:09     readed:64


Wen / Wei Xi

Source: weixizhibei (ID: weixizhibei)

Finally, flash officially announced its death on December 31, 2020. Although it still survives in a special version in China, there is no doubt that flash will be doomed.

In this process, apple is the key variable to accelerate its death.

Today, Wei Xi is going to talk about a wonderful episode of the battle between apple and adobe, the parent company of flash. This battle process focuses on the eloquence and foresight of Apple founder Steve jobs.


At the beginning, Apple's mobile devices didn't support flash, and adobe protested at that time. But at first, Apple's size was small and the iPhone screen was small, and the parent company of flash, as a giant at that time, didn't care too much. However, with the passage of time, IOS gradually became full-fledged, and the contradiction between apple and the parent company of flash became more and more serious.

Finally, with the launch of the iPad on January 14, 2010, the contradiction between the two sides was fully ignited. The iPad sold 1 million units in 27 days after it went on the market. While consumers spoke highly of it, they also made the most severe criticism, one of which was that they did not support flash.

The reason is that at that time, more than 75% of Web videos were played by flash, and almost all web games were made by flash. In a sense, in that era, the parts that can move in PC browsers were basically developed by flash.

As a result, the public and critics criticized Apple's unilateral ban on flash. Adobe also yelled to Apple many times with public opinion, and even complained about Apple's monopoly behavior to the federal antitrust Commission.

At that time, Apple was facing double pressure from the regulatory and the public. On the one hand, it was angry consumers, on the other hand, it was strict regulatory authorities. Apple was experiencing a rare storm of public opinion.

At this time, jobs calmly took the hand by writing a 1671 word open letter, which is still on Apple's official website.

Indeed, it is not common for jobs to write articles in person. In October 2011, more than a year after he wrote this letter, jobs died. Therefore, this is the last public article in his life. In my opinion, this concise letter largely embodies jobs' eloquence and foresight.

In the letter, jobs explained why Apple didn't support flash in a well-organized, logical and well-documented way. In his description, flash is a backward and outdated technology. Apple, which represents the future and attaches importance to user experience, disdains to be associated with it. On the day jobs sent the letter, Adobe's share price dropped by 2%.

What makes Steve Jobs great is that he not only claims that flash is a backward technology, but also proves that it is a backward technology through evidence. The most amazing thing is that 10 years later, these arguments are proved to be completely correct by time.

There is no doubt that leader Qiao's insight preceded that era.


My views on flash

Apple has a long relationship with adobe. We knew the founder of adobe when he was still working in the now legendary garage. Apple was their first big customer, and their postscript language was running on our new laserwriter printer.

For many years after that, Apple was a shareholder in adobe, owning about 20% of it. The two companies had a very good time working closely together to start the desktop publishing industry, but after that golden age, we went our separate ways.

But apart from that, our two companies have almost no other common interests.

I want to briefly write down my views on Adobe Flash technology, so that our consumers and critics can better understand why we ban flash on iPhone, iPad and iPad.

Adobe once said that we are doing this to protect Apple's app store business, and the starting point is also for commercial interests, but in fact we are doing this for technical reasons.

Adobe claims that we are a closed system, while flash is open. But in fact, it is just the opposite. Let me explain.

Adobe Flash technology has 100% patents, which are unique to adobe. At the same time, Adobe also has absolute control over its future development and price. Although Adobe Flash technology is widely used, it does not mean that it is open, because it is completely controlled by Adobe company and exists only for adobe.

No matter from which aspect, flash technology is a closed system.

Of course, Apple also owns many patented products. Although the iPhone, iPod and iPad are proprietary, we still firmly believe that all standards related to the Internet should be open. So we give up flash and choose open standards like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

After using these standards, Apple's mobile devices have the characteristics of high performance and low power consumption. HTML5, a new network standard, has been widely adopted by apple, Google and other enterprises. It allows developers to develop better graphical, printing and animation interfaces without the need for third-party browser plug-ins (such as flash).

HTML5 is completely open and is managed by a Standards Committee, of which apple is a member.

Apple has also set open standards for web browsing. For example, Apple has created an open source WebKit browser kernel, which is a fully open source HTML5 rendering engine and the core of safari browser. This browser is suitable for all our products.

At present, WebKit has been widely accepted by the industry: Google uses it for Android browser, palm also uses it, Nokia also uses it, and rim also claims to use it recently. At present, almost all smart phone browsers (except Microsoft) are using it.

In order to make WebKit technology more open, Apple has pushed it to gradually become the industry standard for mobile browsers.

YouTube accounts for about 40% of online videos, Apple's mobile devices support its native applications, and iPad provides the best browsing experience of Youtube.

In addition to youtube, we can support the media of many other companies, such as Vimeo, Netflix, Facebook, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, NPR, time, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, sports illustrated, people, National Geographic, etc.

So iPhone, iPod and iPad users don't actually lose much of their video viewing experience.

Another reason for adobe is that Apple devices can't experience flash games, which may be true. Fortunately, there are 50000 games and entertainment applications in Apple's app store, many of which are free. There will be more and more games on iPhone, iPod and iPad, and its experience is far more than other platforms.

Third, about reliability, safety and performance.

Symantec recently pointed out that flash set a new record of security issues in 2009. We also have first-hand information that flash is one of the important reasons for the MAC crash. We have cooperated with Adobe to try to solve this problem, but they are not willing to change.

Therefore, we don't want to reduce the reliability and security of iPhones, iPods and iPads for the sake of flash.

In addition, flash does not work well on mobile devices. In the past few years, we have been asking Adobe to optimize flash so that it can run well on any mobile device, but there is still no progress.

Adobe has publicly said that flash will launch a version that perfectly supports smart phones in 2009, and then it will be postponed to the second half of 2009, and then to the first half of 2010. Now, they have to wait for the second half of 2010. I think they may eventually launch a new version, but we have no patience. Who knows what its final performance will be?

Fourth, endurance

In order to extend the battery life, the mobile device must decode the video on the hardware when playing it. If the video is decoded by software, it will consume more power.

Today's mobile phones come with a decoder. It's called H.264. It's an industrial standard for all Blu ray DVD playback. This standard is widely accepted by apple, Google, Vimeo, Netflix and many other companies.

Although flash has recently included H.264 in its support, today almost all flash web pages run on the older generation of software decoders, which can't run on mobile chips. The difference is huge.

For example, the iPhone can play H.264 video for 10 hours, while software decoding can only play it for less than five hours.

When a web page encodes video with H.264, it can completely run without flash technology. They can also run well on Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome browsers without plug-ins. In fact, it has a very good experience on iPhone, iPod and iPad.

Fifth, about the touch screen

Therefore, even if the iPhone, iPods and iPads can run flash, it can't solve this problem. Most flash websites need to rewrite the code to support mobile touch-screen devices.

The sixth and most important point

We have discussed the disadvantages of using flash to play video and interactive content on websites. However, Adobe still requires developers to accept flash to develop applications and use them on our devices.

The painful experience of the past tells us that if a third party gets involved between the platform and developers, it will eventually produce low-quality applications, which will hinder the improvement and development of the platform. If developers rely more and more on the functions, libraries and tools developed by the third party, then only when the third party chooses new functions, can developers enjoy the advantages of the platform, and we can't let the third party dominate And decisions.

What's worse is that once the third party provides a cross platform development tool, they may not develop an enhancement tool for a single platform unless the tool can be adapted to all platforms. As a result, developers can only develop the lowest standard applications.

Flash is a cross platform development tool. It's not Adobe's goal to develop the best applications for iPhone, iPod and iPad. It's Adobe's goal to develop cross platform applications. Moreover, adobe is very slow in supporting applications on Apple platform.

For example, although Mac OS X has been launched for nearly 10 years, Adobe did not officially launch CS5 that supports this system version until two weeks ago. In fact, adobe is the last third-party developer to fully accept Mac OS X.

We hope to provide developers with the most advanced and innovative platform. We hope that they will stand on the shoulders of Apple platform and build the best applications in the world. We hope to continuously improve our platform so that developers can create more exciting, powerful, interesting and useful applications.

7、 Conclusion

In a word, flash is suitable for the PC era, born for PC and mouse. For Adobe, flash is a successful business. We can understand their hope that flash can surpass PC. however, mobile devices are related to low power consumption, touch interface and open web standards. These are the objective weaknesses of flash.

Today, a large number of media have provided content for Apple's mobile devices, which proves that flash is no longer a necessary option for watching videos, nor is it necessary for many other websites. The 200000 applications in Apple's app store also prove that thousands of developers do not need flash, and they can create better and richer applications and games without it.

New development standards in the mobile era (such as HTML5) will win on mobile devices. Maybe Adobe should focus on building HTML5 tools for the future instead of criticizing apple for giving up things that would be obsolete.

April 2010

So, let's look at a negative case


Our view on open market

The characteristic of the Internet is that it accepts all kinds of innovations almost unconditionally. New hardware, software, applications and ideas can be found here.

As the founder of adobe, we believe that an open market is in the best interests of developers, content owners and consumers. The free choice of the Internet has brought the explosion of information, and changed the way we work, study, communicate and express ourselves.

We believe that consumers should have free access to their favorite content and applications, no matter what computers they use, what browsers they like, and what devices can meet their needs.

No company has the right to decide what you can create, how you can create it, and what you can experience online, no matter how big or creative the company is.

When the market is open, anyone's great ideas have an opportunity to drive innovation and find new users. Adobe's business philosophy is based on the premise that the best product in the open market will eventually win. The best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than competitors.

Of course, this is what we learned when we launched postscript and PDF, two early but powerful cross platform software solutions. We will publish the specifications of these two products to the public, not only invite users to use, but also welcome competition.

Postscript attracted 72 clone companies in the early days, but we maintained our market leadership through innovation. Recently, we have applied the same method to Adobe Flash technology.

We have published the specifications for flash, which means that anyone can develop their own flash player. However, flash technology is still the market leader because of the continuous creation and technological innovation of our employees.

We believe that if Apple takes the opposite approach, it will damage the development of the Internet in the next stage. In this chapter, the number of mobile devices will exceed that of computers, any individual can become a publisher, and people can get content anytime, anywhere.

In the end, we think the question is: who controls the Internet? The answer is: no one, or everyone, but not one company.

See the difference between the two letters?

Obviously, jobs's open letter has clear logic, substance and convincing evidence. Adobe's open letter is more like an empty emotional vent. There are a lot of empty words. Except for the appeal, there is no substantive content. This is the strength.

I suggest that everyone should learn from jobs' expression, concise, no nonsense, clear-cut views, data, cases, logical chain, insight and wisdom, which is extremely difficult to achieve.

Wei Xi and everyone encourage.

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