Flash Co-creator: Apple Is Destroying the Open Web

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Flash Co-creator and former Macromedia CTO Jonathan Gay is disappointed that the media is letting Steve Jobs trash Adobe’s Flash as a closed platform while Apple is at the same time advocating for H.264 and a closed app environment that doesn’t support and cross-platform development. Gay, who left Adobe in 2005, told Cold Hard Flash in a lengthy but very interesting interview (hat tip to Flashstreamworks) that Jobs’ attacks could be a sign for many partners and customers asking Apple to support Flash on its devices. He also said that Apple’s anti-Flash stance is not about openness at all. From the interview:

“Apple wants to displace Flash’s role in video delivery on the Web with the H.264 standard and Apple wants developers to build custom applications for the iPhone and not cross platform applications. Both of these goals support Apple’s business goals driving their closed iPhone application platform but are destructive to openness on the web.”

Apple isn’t the only one criticized by Gay. He also has some choice words for the MPEG LA consortium that’s overseeing the licensing of H.264. Macromedia didn’t have enough money to license H.264 in its early days, according to Gay, which is why they had to settle for a codec made by On2. Again, from the interview:

“The H.264 license fee model is very anticompetitive. H.264 licensing is free for very small users, expensive for medium size companies and inexpensive for very large companies.”

However, Gay is skeptical that Google’s plans to open-source its VP8 video codec will be able to fundamentally change this situation, cautioning that it may be impossible to build open-source codecs that don’t infringe on someone’s patents.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: A Brighter Week Ahead for Flash (subscription required)

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