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Publishers criticize Apple's anti-Flash stance

Members of the media have expressed disagreement with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' position that ditching Adobe Flash is a "trivial" move for publishers.

Contacts from a variety of media outlets, ranging from newspapers to advertisers to large mainstream media outlets spoke with Valleywag to talk about the difficulties they face in potentially abandoning Flash. The publication referred to comments from Jobs as "anti-Flash propaganda."

The reactions came in response to comments alleged to have been made by Jobs in a meeting with editors of The Wall Street Journal in February. In that meeting, Jobs allegedly said that Flash was a "CPU hog" that was "full of security holes," and called it "old technology." He also said that for the newspaper to abandon Flash entirely would be a "trivial" move.

Kevin Elevin, a Flash developer with a large social networking site, reportedly said that ditching Flash would result in the loss of capabilities not available through HTML5 and Javascript. In addition, he said the development time on projects would increase.

An anonymous online producer with a mid-sized U.S. newspaper said a transition from Flash would be difficult for a publication of that size with limited resources.

"Using Flash for interactive graphics is irreplaceable," the producer "Not just slideshows, but special section graphics and interactive presentations can be embedded on story pages quickly and easily. Oh, sure, just use Javascript: well guess what, we don't have a bunch of code junkies in our newsroom. We do have some great designers who've picked up Flash and enough Actionscript to be very effective."

Another anonymous freelance interactive designer agreed with Jobs that Flash can be unstable and switching could be easy, but added that the switch is not as simple as the Apple co-founder suggested. The designer said developers have become accustomed to the ease of use and integration with Flash, which allows them to be more artistic and less technical.

"Where is my HTML5 development tool?" the designer reportedly said. "Perhaps he needs to try some Flash development first-hand to see what the big deal is."

While some developers are upset about Apple's refusal to allow Flash on the iPhone OS that runs on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, others have seen the massive install base of Apple users as a reason to embrace alternatives. Virgin America ditched Flash when building its Web site to cater to iPhone users who want to check in for flights on their phone.

This week it was discovered that network TV station CBS is testing HTML5 for an iPad-compatible version of its Web site prior to the device's April 3 launch. In addition, In February, it was rumored that Hulu, an online streaming video destination for multiple networks, plans to make its videos available without Flash for the iPad platform as a subscription only service.

Flash has been the subject of increased scrutiny ever since Apple announced its iPad in late January. Following the unveiling, Jobs reportedly disparaged Flash at an internal Apple employee meeting, reportedly calling the company "lazy" and stating that "the world is moving to HTML5."

For more on Apple and Flash, and why the Web format will likely never be available on the iPhone OS, read AppleInsider's three-part Flash Wars series.