War of Words Between Apple and Adobe Heats Up

There's been no love lost between Apple and Adobe for a while now, ever since Apple decided to not allow Flash on the iPhone. But since the iPad was announced with an equal lack of Flash, things have gotten ugly.

First, Adobe posted a screed about how lame it was that Apple wasn't including Flash on the iPad. Then, Steve Jobs himself called Adobe "lazy" and blaming Flash for most Mac crashes. Now, Adobe is back to its Flash blog with another salvo by Flash Marketing Manager Adrian Ludwig.

First, he addresses and attempts to debunk the various reasons Apple has for blacklisting Flash. Then, he goes for the heart of the matter:

But I want to be very clear. My concern isn't just about Flash on the iPad. It's about a disturbing trend where Apple is starting to inhibit broad categories of innovation on their platforms. On the iPad, it looks like developers won't be able to write applications in Java, .net, Python, Ruby, Perl, or any number of other languages (including Flash). And users won't be able to install Firefox, Opera,IE, or any third party browser. There are countless other examples of applications and technologies that Apple doesn't allow. Why? Apple won't say.

And innovation isn't just about technology, it's also about business models. Developers on this new platform aren't able to innovate there either. At best, developers targeting the iPad are subject to a 30% Apple Tax in the App Store. And at worst, developers invest time and money building a product that can never be brought to market, because the only channel is one that is centrally controlled and entirely opaque. In every case, Apple is a gatekeeper on how developers are able to deliver content to their consumers.

Over time, restrictions on technology and business opportunity have a chilling effect on innovation on closed platforms.

In the end, this is a tricky situation. On the one hand, Flash is a relatively insecure and resource-heavy plugin that would invariably cause some problems if used on the iPad. In a year or so, HTML5 will be replacing it for most of its biggest uses, such as streaming video.

However, it isn't a year from now, and Flash is still heavily used all around the web. It's just a fact of life that if you want a full internet experience right now, you need to have Flash.

So neither side is entirely right or entirely wrong. But something tells me that Apple isn't going to cave, and as HTML5 gets rolled out over the next year, they'll have fewer and fewer reasons to even consider it. Sorry, Adobe. [Adobe]