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Opera (Like Apple) Criticizes Adobe's Flash

Adobe's Flash now faces two outspoken critics: First Apple, now Opera -- the web browser provider. Apparently, Opera Product Analyst Phillip Grønvold has some concerns about Flash and its influence over the Web. For VARs that are advising customers on Web development and design strategies, this story is too important to ignore. Here's why.

Dave Courbanou

May 7, 2010

3 Min Read
Opera (Like Apple) Criticizes Adobe's Flash

Adobe’s Flash now faces two outspoken critics: First Apple, now Opera — the web browser provider. Apparently, Opera Product Analyst Phillip Grønvold has some concerns about Flash and its influence over the Web. For VARs that are advising customers on Web development and design strategies, this story is too important to ignore. Here’s why.

First off, a tip of the hat to TechRadar.com’s exclusive story. The media site spoke with Phillip Grønvold for his perspectives on Adobe’s Flash technology. Grønvold’s thoughts:

“Today’s internet content is dependant on Flash…If you remove Flash you do not have today’s internet….We are trying to give the best internet experience for our users therefore we need Flash – there is no way to beat around that bush…But at Opera we say that the future of the web is open web standards and Flash is not an open web standards technology.”

Gee, That Sounds Familiar

This, of course, echoes Steve Jobs’ negative Flash sentiment from April 2010.

So then what purpose does Flash serve and how will it be used in the future? Grønvold states that it will be there for dynamic content, much like Microsoft’s Silverlight — but here comes the clincher:

“…Flash as a video container makes very little sense for CPU, WiFi battery usage etcetera – you can cook an egg on [devices] once you start running Flash on them and there’s a reason for that.”

Again, words already spoken by Jobs’, and something many users already know — CPU temps and usage push the needle into the red when rendering video. TechRadar’s story goes on to note that Grønvold believes Adobe needs to move fast to get on board with open web standards or still find itself under fire.

TechCrunch closes their article with an interesting observation:

So, no stinging rebuke from Opera – but it is clear that the web giants are not rushing to defend Adobe from the might of Apple, and that in itself speaks volumes.

Adobe Responds (Sort Of)

And just as that nugget of information leaks into the world, so does another from the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. The interview heard ’round the world (and live blogged thanks to TechCrunch.com) noted that CTO Kevin Lynch of Adobe said:

“We’re going to make great tooling for HTML5. We’re going to make the best tools in the world for HTML 5. It’s not about HTML 5 vs Flash. They’re mutually beneficial. The more important question is the freedom of choice on the web.”

Lynch continues on, speaking out against Apple’s strategies, noting that they cost developers money and time, along with an analogy that it’s it’s…

“…like railroads in the 1800′s. People were using different gauged rails. Your cars would literally not run on those rails. That’s counter to the web. The ‘rails’ now are companies forcing people to write for a particular OS, which has a high cost to switch.”

Lynch then speaks about how Apple doesn’t want Flash not because it doesn’t work, but because it does work. But that’s actually a misnomer. Yes, Flash works for apps. But Flash in the browser isn’t beneficial to device. Like Jobs and Grønvold noted, the argument against Flash involves battery life, CPU requirements and open standards.

Even though Kevin Lynch says Flash and HTML5 can co-exist,  this battle seems more like the format wars in the ‘real’ world — VHS and Betamax or HD DVD and Blu-Ray.

But this blogger will wait on more developments before posting another lengthy 1000 word diatribe.

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