Why Apple will not let Flash on iOS
I just left the following comment on Dave Winers blog. He was, once again, having a go at Apple over Flash. And this particular post was a response to Grubers’ response to his original post. I’ve lost you already, haven’t I?
Anyway, this is what I said:
I don’t have an iPad, so I don’t feel the lack of Flash as much.
In saying that, what Apple have to remember is that will millions of Apple Customers convince web designers to dump flash?
Adobe tried to get Flash running on iOS but Apple stopped them.
What we’re looking for here is for some sort of compromise. Would Apple allow Adobe to deploy a completely custom Flash build on iOS, one that removes some UI headaches (such as the mouseovers that Steve always talks about)? Would web devs actually use such a thing ( remembering that the whole premise of Flash is to write once, run everywhere)?
What if the whole reason that Apple is doing this is to give HTML5 a running start?
So, if we are going to ask if Apple is winning and losing, we need to define exactly what “winning” and “losing” actually is. Does Apple win when HTML5 becomes dominant? Does Apple win when Adobe shutters Flash? Does Apple win when iOS only Flash-less sites spring up everywhere?
OF course, for Adobe, they win when Apple lets Flash in any form on to the platform. Adobe even win when Apple lets Adobes translation tool run.
What we can say for certain is that thus far, lack of Flash has not hurt Apple very much.
Later, it occurred to me, that there could be another reason for Apple to leave Flash out of iOS.
Consider. Most of the worlds advertising is Flash-based. And without Flash, there is no way for people to view those adverts.
So, what does Apple come out with, but their own advertising platform.
So, Apple just locked out most of their competition in the advertising space, giving their own platform a running start. So, this means that all those advertisers have to come to Apple (or Admob, but thats a footnote) to get their adverts some views.
Apple giveth and Apple taketh away (reverse that).
Also, when one thinks of Hulu and other sites that primarily use Flash as a delivery mechanism for content, not having that option means that delivery of said content to iOS users has to go through either the iTunes Store, or H.264 and HTML 5.
So, keeping Flash off the iOS platform is central to Apple’s business interests. And, as I said in my comment above, Apple has yet to see significant backlash. Unless you are ageek or a web dev, nobody says “I ain’t buying Apple till they support Flash”.
In fact, until this back and forth erupted between Winer and Gruber, I completely for got there wasn’t Flash on iOS. Why was that? Because web designers and developers have been making thier sites iOS friendly for years.
Even if you take the view that Apple isin’t winning, it certainly isin’t losing either.