Gawker is reporting that Steve Jobs told the Wall St. Journal that it would be “trivial” for them to replace Flash on its websites and replace it with H.264 for video. I’m not a programmer so I can’t comment on the triviality of the job, but I can comment on the ongoing war that Jobs is waging against Adobe’s Flash.
Depending on who you pay attention to Flash has its detractors and its adherents. Jobs is making it plain that he doesn’t want to Flash on his iPhone, his iPod Touch, or his iPad. From the sound of things he’s exerting pressure on publications who are very much looking to his iPad as a device with savior-like possibilities. Perhaps its hyperbole or perhaps not but Jobs claims Flash would reduce the iPad’s battery life from a reported, but not confirmed, 10 hours to 1.5 hours. In the midst of all of this Adobe is denying reports from some quarters that it is sabotaging HTML 5 advances. The whole thing sounds like a big old mess.
The fun of following this will be to watch how many content publishers follow Jobs’ lead and how many don’t. Other Tablet OEMs are already beginning to tout that their devices will support Flash, so there’s a potential opening there once the verdict on the iPad starts to become clearer in about 5 to 6 weeks or so. The iPad’s long term success isn’t guaranteed, nor is the Tablet form factor’s, so I’m guessing there’s some waiting and seeing going on. From what I know, we’d all be better off with HTML 5 in the long run but that means some oxes are going to get gored and I’m guessing the bloodletting (or money losing) when that occurs is going to make what we’re seeing today look, well, er… um… trivial.