Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly told the Wall Street Journal it would be "trivial" for the newspaper to ditch Adobe's Flash software in preparation for the iPad. Media-industry types who disagree have been emailing us; their comments follow below.
From the online producer of a medium-sized midwestern newspaper, who told us ditching Flash is "far from trivial:"
It requires broad changes across multiple properties. Sure, it's easy enough to encode video with a new codec, but getting the display mechanism updated at more than a dozen different sites would be a substantial amount of work...
Kevin Eleven, a Flash developer at a large social networking site, said giving up Flash would mean longer development cycles and lost capabilities:
A creative director at an Ad Age Top 50 Interactive Agency said the Adobe technology is crucial for ads:
For Jobs to have said what he's said genuiney flies in the face of common sense and I'd sadly have to describe [him] as naive... I disagree strongly with Jobs' opinion that replacing anything from Flash to some other alternative is trivial - especially publications, many of whom have derived revenue from Flash as a technology which serves up contexualised advertising.
How does Jobs believe publications will pay for this? By [iPad/iPhone] app purchase alone?... He is right to fear Flash over HTML5; it's innovated quickly in the past and will do so again and with the very advertisers he's desperate to woo.
Many of the Flash gigs out there lately are with companies trying to write their own video player. It's because there isn't yet a solution which brings together the content management, advertising, and analytics that these companies use... A switch from Flash to another technology (for video at least) should be handled by the likes of Akamai, or a software vendor, definitely not the content companies. The content people need tools that let them focus on content without having to hire consultants... These tools don't exist yet...
A freelance interactive designer told us Flash can be unstable, as Jobs pointed out, but that it's an essential tool for getting things done in the helter-skelter world of Web content:
Steve is not addressing the fact that the web world is a plethora of mostly inexperienced scaffolding and experimental jumble fused together as an overnight crunch to satisfy demanding clientelle. Not everyone has a team of experts working full-time to adhere to the perfection which Mr. Mac's of engineers offer...
There is nothing out there like Flash/Flex; and if we were to simply "dump" the infrastructure we would all be taking a huge risk ... The Adobe platform has a place in the digital world and no single entrepreneur is going to make a case with the pretext to convenience his product alone.