As Steve Jobs Bashes Flash, Agencies Say They're Ready

  |  April 30, 2010   |  Comments

Apple wants to end the Flash era, with regard to mobile anyway. For agency CEOs, that's no problem.

If there was any lingering doubt Apple intends to usher in a post-Flash era, CEO Steve Jobs put them to rest yesterday in a 1,700-word screed against the multimedia standard.

In the post, published yesterday on Apple.com, Jobs counted off many reasons Apple blocks Adobe's Flash platform on its iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. Among them: security and stability risks associated with Flash, its lack of open source protocols, and Adobe's allegedly sluggish process for introducing enhancements.

"The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple's mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content," Jobs wrote. "And the 200,000 apps on Apple's App Store proves that Flash isn't necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications."

Adobe responded late yesterday. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, CEO Shantanu Narayen said Apple's policy had nothing to do with technology and that it would only serve to make developers' lives harder by creating "two workflows."

Narayen is right. Apple's strong stance against Flash will eventually force developers to extend their rich media ads to open standards like CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript. But you won't find many worried execs in agency-land, where developers are used to building for multiple platforms.

Razorfish CEO Bob Lord said his agency's developers are well used to building for new platforms, and to minimizing costs while doing so.

"I don't know how they technically do it, but it never seems to add a ton of expense to the process they're putting in place," Lord said. "We develop with a mindset where whatever we build is going to be portable to every device."

Meanwhile developers at San Francisco-based Evolution Bureau (EVB) have begun converting to HTML5 a number of sites the agency built for clients in the last year. It has also re-encoded videos on EVB's own site. CEO Daniel Stein said of the agency's reel in HTML5, "It really looks great."

Stein is neutral on the future of Flash as a content standard. "Let Apple and Adobe battle it out. The developers will adapt," said Stein, who called the retiring of programming standards "an organic process in the development world."

When it comes to browser-based experiences not designed for mobile, he suggested the day is far off when Flash will disappear. "If Flash is the right technology to create the experience, we'll just tell iPad and iPhone users, 'This isn't for you.'"

flash-unicorn.jpg One example is a recent Flash site EVB created for client Juicy Fruit. The very kitschy SerenadingUnicorn.com features a unicorn puppet lip synching saccharine hits from 20 and 30 years ago, including Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee" and Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me."

People visiting the site from an iPhone or iPad device will see the puppet holding a Flash icon in its mouth. It states, "If you're on a mobile device, please try experiencing Serenading Unicorn from your computer."

One thing Jobs' letter underlines is that Apple has indeed become the 600-pound gorilla in mobile, and that has some negative consequences. It's true that agencies appear largely unconcerned about the company's willingness to wield its significant power in setting policy for its mobile device platforms. However the company's secretive nature does mean less visibility into the mobile landscape.

"The good news with a Microsoft or a Google with Android, is they'll expose to you what they're going to do and they'll look for beta opportunities," said Razorfish's Lord. "Apple is not going to do it as much.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Interactive Product Manager
      Interactive Product Manager (Western Governors University) - Salt Lake CityWestern Governors University, one of the 20 largest universities...
    • SEO Senior Analyst
      SEO Senior Analyst (University of Phoenix (Apollo Education Group)) - San FranciscoSEO Senior Analyst   Position Summary...
    • SEM & Biddable Media Manager
      SEM & Biddable Media Manager (Kepler Group LLC) - New YorkAs an Optimization & Innovation Manager at Kepler Group, you will be on the bleeding...