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.
Thomas Amabisca, a consultant to Wall Street Journal, Fox News and other News Corp. properties, cited Flash's utility in providing sophisticated video players to news outlets:
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.