Why Apple will not allow the iPhone to be compatible with Adobe Flash


I recently read a brilliant article by John Haughton in the Observer, Apple’s iPad war on Adobe and Flash. Which relates to my previous post, Using Flash Professional CS5 to publish AS3 projects to run as native applications for iPhone.

Coincidently I was reading Dynamics of Software Development by Jim McCarthy, and the phrase Compatibility kills… was mentioned.

The crucial question

As a AS3 Flash Developer the question posed in the two paragraphs in the article is most significant.

…85% of top 100 websites use Flash; it’s the No 1 platform for video on the web – 75% of all videos use Flash…


… Jean-Louis Gassée (a former Apple executive) proposes a simple thought-experiment: “By the end of 2010, there will be more than 100 million iPhone OS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad). You’re the webmeister at an important content site. The boss comes in and asks you why you’re not supporting the iPhone OS devices. ‘Our stuff is all Flash-based, chief, those guys don’t run Flash’. You’re about to become the ex-webmeister. The boss, a really patient sort, asks you to ‘think different’ about all these ‘noncompliant’ customers, each of whom has an iTunes account backed by a credit card, and has developed the habit (encouraged by Apple) of paying for content. So, one more time, with feeling: what’s your answer?”

Steve Jobs thinks he knows the answer the ‘boss’ will want iPhone OS apps, Apple have plenty of cash in the bank and he’s determined to win this incompatibility war after losing out to Bill Gates before.


Don’t expect the iPhone browser to become Flash Compatible any time soon, and I’m sure CS5 created iPhone apps will never be authorised in the iTunes store.

Further links:

Other articles by John Haughton include: Apple + iPad + Huxley = Orwellian


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