“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit”

Anonymous article at MacWorld today:

“It almost seems a memory now, those heady days of the spring of 2010 we spent arguing over Flash. Do the sands of time cloud the Macalope’s eyes or did Adobe’s John Dowdell really suggest Apple was unethical for banning Flash from iOS?”

I tried to reply at MacWorld, but its registration system (for its anonymous commenters) didn’t permit me, so I’ll answer the question here. The original tweet from 2010 was “I know that a number of good people work at Apple. If you’re seeking a more ethical company, Adobe is hiring: adobe.com/aboutadobe/careeropp.”

It followed this prominent article about how the late Jerry York, of Apple’s Board of Directors, felt about the topic:


“At Apple, Mr. York was regarded as a relatively authoritative figure on audit and corporate governance matters but tended not to offer too many opinions, said people familiar with the board.

“But he had strong feelings about the way Mr. Jobs handled disclosures about his leave of absence for health reasons in January 2009. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal last year, Mr. York said he almost resigned when told of the seriousness of Mr. Jobs’s illness. Mr. York felt Mr. Jobs should have publicly disclosed his health problem three weeks earlier in a news release that announced his decision not to appear at the Macworld trade conference.

“Mr. York said the concealment ‘disgusted’ him, adding that the only reason he didn’t quit at the time was because he wanted to avoid the uproar that would have occurred once he disclosed his reason. ‘Frankly, I wish I had resigned then,’ he said.

This was in the news at the time, but likely off the partisan radar. More recently, Adobe continues to be regarded as one of the world’s most ethical companies. Still hiring, too.

It would be easy to add additional evidence, but argument, in the long run, isn’t fruitful. We know Flash is successful across a range of devices, and that even unauthorized third-party ports work successfully on Apple devices. Objections serve little purpose… the sooner the situation is fixed the better.

6 Responses to “Better a witty fool than a foolish wit”

  1. Glenn Fleishman says:

    It’s not anonymous; it’s pseudonymous. Also, it’s a humor column that you’re representing as reporting…in this context.

    York’s comments were made after his death, with no way to confirm them. They were apparently off the record, and the release of them was considered highly unethical by some journalists, including me. Thus, using unethical, unconfirmable quotes is of questionable benefit.

    Finally, as I and others have said, there is absolutely nothing preventing Adobe from demonstrating to press in person Flash working on an iPad. Apple’s App Store restrictions prevent distribution, not demonstrations directly installed on devices.

  2. @Glenn, are you seriously suggestion Adobe to demo a product on iPad? I think they are way too busy showing off Flash on everything else. Apple took a stand, broke its teeth and will start feeling the pain resulting from it this year. My take on the matter:
    http://applesucks.squarespace.com

    Steve Jobs should be fired for bringing the company into this mess but hey, no cult without guru right?

    • John Dowdell says:

      Thanks for the support, Stepphane, but I think Apple’s path is for Apple to figure out, and external logic may play only a small part in that. They’ve got a lock on the “you suck!” angle anyway…. 😉

    • Jeff Carlson says:

      Adobe has demoed – and developed – lots of products on the iPad. Photoshop Express is one that’s been shipping for a while; build using Air on Mac and Windows, built as a native app on iOS. They also demonstrated a Photoshop proof of concept app at Photoshop World last week.

      So it’s really not a problem of Adobe vs the iPad. It’s Adobe’s management choosing not to develop a version of Flash for iOS that can perform well and not quickly drain battery power.

  3. Lisamacnewton says:

    [jd sez: I’m not publishing the various “No, _you’re_ a fool!” comments submitted here, but will include this one to give a flavor of the level of argumentation….]

    Flash IS a memory hog that doesn’t run well on ANY phone platform. Jobs is correct in his *assumptions*. Stop deluding yourselves (at Adobe) and buy some dictionaries. I’m tired of all the people trolling this one around. Fix the product and people will buy/use/play with it again. iPad sales don’t lie.

  4. > The original tweet from 2010 was “I know that a number of good people work at Apple.
    > If you’re seeking a more ethical company, Adobe is hiring:
    > adobe.com/aboutadobe/careeropp.”

    You mean the very same tweet that I attempted to get clarification from you on, regarding how Adobe is more ethical than Apple? [jd sez: Where/when? I got seagull-linked on a tweet, but never saw anybody seek clarification. Where did you ask…?]

    Retroactively trying to tie that Tweet to Steve’s health issues does not seem to be fruitful, nor beneficial. [jd sez: You’re confusing the tweet and its context.]

    Flash is slow to load, inefficient, and we are better without it. If it was available, then we would have a fraction of the applications we have for iOS devices… Most websites that have a flash front-end are horribly designed, and hard to navigate. Flash apps can be useful, but in a lot of situations they suffer from high processor load…Yes, I see that Adobe is trying to optimize flash, but your always playing catch up. Native applications don’t have that issue…