Speaking with Engadget at the Web 2.0 Summit, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen shared his thoughts about Apple's handling of the new MacBook Air and what Adobe is doing about it.
Narayen says Adobe did not get a MacBook Air before its release a couple weeks ago, leaving Adobe unable to optimize Flash for the SSD-only portable. Apple's decision to ship the MacBook Air without Flash installed stirred an already cloudy pot in the relationship between Apple and Adobe.
After reports of the MacBook Air battery gaining an additional 2 hours of battery life by not having Flash installed (Apple's official numbers were, perhaps curiously, including Flash), Narayen decided to speak up on the issue: "When we have access to hardware acceleration, we've proven that Flash has equal or better performance on every platform."
Sounds like passing the buck to me. Adobe has been able to work with iOS devices for years and still hasn't figured out a suitable Flash installation for that platform. According to Narayen, though, the company does have a MacBook Air and a working beta of an optimized version of Flash for it.
This discussion of Flash is not about the MacBook Air, though. Flash's, and ultimately Adobe's, livelihood is dependent on maintaining market share online. If Flash is being abandoned because it cannot run sufficiently and efficiently on mobile devices, Adobe loses.
It remains to be seen if Adobe can continue its stranglehold on Internet content via Flash, especially as HTML5 becomes more popular in the mobile space. One thing, however, is certain: Adobe will have to innovate if it wants to keep up.
Can Adobe keep Flash as the Internet content standard? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!