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Steve Jobs visits Wall Street Journal, trashes Flash again


Valleywag reports that during a recent iPad-promoting visit to the offices of the Wall Street Journal, Steve Jobs spent a significant amount of time trash-talking Adobe Flash yet again, and doing his best to get the Journal to move away from what he called "old technology." Just like Jobs's comments during the recent Apple Town Hall meeting, these comments are unconfirmed, but Valleywag claims to have heard from people who were present at the meeting.

Click the "read more" link to see some more tidbits from the meeting and some analysis of the remarks.

It bears noting once again that none of these quotes are confirmed, direct quotes from Jobs, but rather hearsay from others purportedly present at the meeting. That having been said, Jobs allegedly:

1. Continues to call Flash a buggy Mac crasher.

2. Called the platform a "CPU hog," a source of security holes, and a "dying technology."

3. Compared Flash to other technologies Apple and other companies have abandoned, such as floppy discs and CCFL-backlit LCDs.

4. Claimed the iPad's battery performance would decrease from 10 hours to a shockingly low 1.5 hours if it ran Flash.

5. Said switching the Journal's site away from Flash would be "trivial."

If these are direct quotes free of any embellishment from their sources, they paint an interesting picture. On points 1 and 2, Jobs's claim is mostly true. While some people claim to have had no issues with Flash Player on the Mac, in my experience Flash has been the number one source of crashes and poor performance on every Mac I've come across. Whether Flash is truly a "dying technology" or not is something only time will tell. For point 3, Jobs seems to believe that Apple's abandonment of Flash on its mobile devices is trailblazing in the same manner as the iMac's ditching the floppy drive twelve years ago; this one is arguable, as there were viable alternatives to floppy drives back then, whereas HTML5 and other Flash alternatives are still in relative infancy. On point 4, while the claim may sound outlandish, Jobs is certainly in a better position than anyone to know how well the iPad would run Flash.

Point 5, however, is the most loaded. As Valleywag notes, shifting a site that's heavily dependent on Flash for not only video but interactive elements like slideshows to another technology would be far from trivial. That's not to say that it couldn't or even shouldn't be done, and the Journal and others are likely to shift away from Flash despite the difficulties involved, but the amount of money, resources, and programming time necessary for the task are by no means as trivial as Jobs is painting them.

One thing is clear though: Steve Jobs is on a mission, and if his recent (alleged) comments are anything to go by, part of that mission is killing Flash once and for all. No matter what you may think of Jobs or his opinions of Flash, it's undeniable that when Jobs speaks, people listen very intently. It will be very interesting to see how Adobe responds to this latest salvo.

[Via MacRumors]

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