Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen sent a decidedly mixed message in his interview at D9 last week. Out of one side of his mouth, Narayen said his company’s feud with Apple was sooo 2010, while out of the other he reiterated the argument and said the iPad would lose to Android-based tablets. This feud may not be as hot as a laptop running Flash, but it’s not over yet, either.
Narayen tried to say it was “fairly clear” that the reason Flash wasn’t on iOS was not because of the technology, but because of Apple’s App Store business model.
Of course, what’s he supposed to say? The truth? “Steve Jobs was right! Flash is an anachronistic, bug-ridden battery hog and the only platform I’d even remotely consider running it on is Windows, and only then because Microsoft let us do a bunch of weird stuff that makes it run better and also because the tackiness of your average Flash app seems more at home on Windows.”
See, the truth doesn’t sound very good.
It was ironic having to keep turning up the volume to be able to hear Narayen explaining how Flash has no technology problems over the fan in the Macalope’s MacBook Pro kicking in to handle the Flash-based video. Kudos to Walt Mossberg, however, for not letting Narayen get away with claiming Flash on Android is just peachy: “I have yet to test a single one where Flash works really well.”
Oooh. Sick burn. Walt should give out some ointment with a burn like that. Walt should smother a guy in industrial fire-fighting foam when delivering a such a third-degree burn.
But, remember, it’s not a technology issue! It’s just a business model issue.
Of course, it’s true that it’s partly a business model issue. But, then, the App Store isn’t the only business model in this equation. Flash itself is a business model. Narayen only wants to talk about how liberating using Flash is, but it’s also designed to lock developers into continuing to buy tools from Adobe, and only Adobe. Adobe has a vested interest in making developers think it’s the gateway to the Web.
“The value proposition Flash has is that we allow people to author programs once and get them to as many devices as possible.”
Which is great, because the touch interface is exactly the same as the mouse and keyboard interface.
Anyway, forget the iPad, Narayen says. Android tablets are going to take over because some of them—try to contain yourselves—have a stylus.
“The excitement around the Android tablets, I think, is incredible.”
Are we talking about the same tablets?
A report released on Thursday by J.P. Morgan Chase says that demand is not what Apple’s competitors had hoped for. In fact, production of tablets has dropped by about 10 percent, according to NYTimes.
In comparison, Apple has had a hard time keeping up with demand for the iPad since it was released.
Narayen’s outlook for the success of Flash-inflicted tablets seems somewhat premature. It’s possible that it could happen at some point, the Macalope supposes, but Flash’s role on mobile platforms seems like it’ll continue to be that of the oafish compatibility layer. Probably best to start thinking up your next business model rather than complaining about someone else who’s already got a pretty good one.
[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]