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Adobe CTO Defends Flash's MacBook Air Performance

You knew that the peace couldn’t last forever. When word hit the street last week that installing Adobe’s Flash software on the latest iteration of the MacBook Air could shave off upwards of two hours of battery life, Apple unwittingly awoke Adobe’s sleeping dogs of war… or at the very least restarted the Flash-or-no-Flash slap-fight anew.

Apple’s war on Flash was started earlier this year with a salvo launched by Steve Jobs. Adobe was left with little choice but to return fire with a few well-placed barbs of their own and well… it got ugly there for a while. Fortunately back in August, Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen opted to play the role of peace-maker, stating:

“Apple made some statements about the suitability of our technology for mobile devices… With the energy and innovation that our company has, we’d rather focus on people who want to deliver the best experience with Flash and there are so many of them.”

However, if a story posted today by Fast Company is any indication, it would appear that not everyone on Adobe’s board of directors wants to kiss and make up. Contrary to Narayen’s desire for Adobe to stop fussing and focus on working with partners who don’t trash their products, the company’s CTO Kevin Lynch told Fast Company that he felt that in terms of battery consumption, blaming Flash was a “false argument.”

“When you’re displaying content,” Lynch explained, “any technology will use more power to display, versus not displaying content. If you used HTML5, for example, to display advertisements, that would use as much or more processing power than what Flash uses.”

Not a bad argument.

Sadly, in the same breath, Lynch’s perfectly reasonable rebuttal to the accusations leveled again his company’s technology were nullified as he resorted to the same paranoid rhetoric that we’ve heard from Adobe many times before. Lynch declared that he felt that a negative campaign had been launched by Apple for some sinister end–a campaign against Flash that could result in a decade’s worth of content being rendered unviewable on the majority of Apple’s mobile devices.

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that vinyl records and reel-to-reel tapes don’t play on Apple’s mobile gear either. This doesn’t mean there was an Apple-fronted conspiracy against these formats. It just means that technology has marched forward leaving these once-loved, popular technologies behind. It happens.

It’s happening to Flash as we speak.


Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter