Why Some Media Companies Are Quietly Cheering The Apple-Adobe Tiff


Credit: Tricia Duryee

The Apple-Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) tussle is heating up to bizarre proportions, with Steve Jobs yesterday issuing a public defense for Apple’s anti-Flash stance. Call it a blog-heard-round-the-world, due to how quickly Jobs’ comments spread. Appropriately, much of the focus has been placed on Jobs’ technical arguments.

But there’s another big story behind this Flash fiasco that has successfully remained off the radar. It’s the answer to this question: How do the media companies — you know, those people who use Flash to put their premium content online everywhere from Wired.com to hulu.com — feel about having their primary delivery tool cut off at the knees?

Answer: Media companies hope to complain all the way to the bank.

First, a bit of disclosure. I’m the one who went on record explaining that the lack of Flash is one of the reasons I am not buying an iPad. So I’m clearly not a fan of the anti-Flash rhetoric for selfish reasons: I want my Flash content wherever I am. But I’ve spent the last few weeks discussing the Apple-Adobe problem with major magazine publishers, newspaper publishers and TV networks. Their responses are at first obvious, and then surprisingly shrewd.

This article originally appeared in Forrester Research.


Tony Grossman

Exactly.. The article confuses apps and web sites that run flash. This doesn’t make it any easier to monetize web-based content as opposed to apps. Its either Flash or HTML 5 (or something else), but its still on the web. Apps are closed and can be purchased, but the HTML 5 sites we are talking about are still accessed through the web browser.

Melissa Jacobson

This could use a bit of explanation for those of us who aren’t developers…. Why does HTML5 make it any easier than Flash for content providers to charge for content? My understanding is that HTML5 is an open standard that allows video content to play without any plugins….. Explain?


The once-compact Flash has become the Hummer of the information superhighway. If Adobe doesn’t want to build (or more likely acquire, as they did with Photoshop, GoLive and all the Macromedia apps) production tools for HTML5, then it needs to fix Flash.

Ed Dunn

A lot of online advertisement is built on Flash..where is the IAB when you need their opinion?

Tim Street

If you need to serve video on the iPad, iPhone and /or Dynamic video ad insertion on a live feed or library content, let me know. I can hook you up with a solution that even has a geo-location solution.


bullet #3 nails it:

Apple is handing them a way to justify charging for content

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