To his credit Shantanu Narayen stuck to his guns and claimed that the technological arguments presented against Flash were a smokescreen for Apple’s inability to accept the possibility of cross platform content and a need to maintain the proprietary nature of its systems. Now, we know this to be true in the sense of applications and Apple has stopped developers porting Flash based apps into products that can be sold on the App Store, but the original argument against Flash comes from a lack of adoption on Apple’s part for the Web. In Steve’s open letter he mentions this specifically, admitting to maintaining proprietary systems for the iPhone and iPad but expressing a clear and honest love for open standards on the web (which Apple has contributed considerably too) – going on to say that Flash is not open in this sense.
Shantanu Narayen did express (much more than once) that Flash was designed to offer users the ability to create content for multiple platforms and that it was Adobe’s goal to make this as simple as possible for developers but he did fail to address any of the technical issues such as battery life and Mac crashes – instead preferring to go back to his smokescreen argument.
What we can glean from both accounts is that the dispute looks permanent. Neither side is likely to back down. Apple has posted what looks like an end to any ongoing arguments and Shantanu Narayen’s response seems to echo this finality. Like all disputes that pit technologies against one another there will eventually be a winner. Its hard to imagine that Apple will not come out on top given the likely uptake of the iPad and the continued success of the iPhone. Ultimately it will be developers and web designers who decide. Its going to be an interesting year for both companies and the execution of their differing visions.