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My open letter to Tim Cook, Apple CEO

By Rich Tretola | August 25, 2011

Mr. Cook,

First, please accept my congratulations on your new position of Apple CEO.

As a proud member of the Adobe Flash platform development community and an Adobe Community Professional, I have struggled with my position on Apple. I have been using Apple OSX for nearly 10 years now and could not be happier with both the operating system and hardware that Apple provides in its laptop product line. However, I am also an Adobe developer who has lived in both Flash and Flex development for over 10 years and was upset to the point of anger when Apple made the decision not to include the Flash Player in its iOS operating system and even more so when the terms and conditions of iOS development was changed to force the shut down of Adobe’s AIR on iOS compilers.

The change back to again open the door for Adobe to package applications for iOS devices was a very welcomed change, however the continued block of the Flash Player from iOS devices is a continued point of contention.

No one would argue that on pre iPhone 4 devices the Flash Player suffered some performance issues. However, the power packed current iPhone 4 and future iPhone 5 as well as the iPad 2 and future iPads have enough power to easily support the Flash Player. In addition the battery life performance improvements that Adobe has accomplished have shown to be very promising on many modern Android devices.

As the new CEO, I am sure you want to make your mark on Apple to help distinguish yourself from previous CEOs. This is an excellent opportunity for you to rekindle Apple’s relationship with Adobe and finally bring the Flash Player to new iOS devices.

Rich Tretola

Topics: ActionScript 3, Adobe AIR, Announcements, Flash Player, Flex, iOS, iphone | 28 Comments »

28 Responses to “My open letter to Tim Cook, Apple CEO”

  1. Gábor Csomák Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I’d like to add:
    I’ve developed an app with AIR, and it made to the AppStore ( However Adobe is working hard to get the best performance, it is clear to see, that if Apple would help a bit, these applications made by the packager would be better. If they are on iOS already, why don’t give this little support? It’d improve stability, and performance.
    Thank you!

    Reply to this comment

    Sean Reply:

    Adobe, Open source flash player and everyone will be happy… and it will KILL HTML5… so Adobe, OPEN SOURCE the Flash Player… come on already!!!!

    Reply to this comment

  2. crb Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 9:44 am

    It’s a lost cause. JavaScript is the interesting future. FLA’s and Flash/Flex IDE’s are drowning, jump ship save yourselves!

    Reply to this comment

    David Salahi Reply:

    Writing JavaScript is painful! No IDE, no compiler, no type-checking. A different debugger in every browser. JS is a throwback.

    ActionScript/Flash Builder is a real language/development environment with real component reusability. Components don’t really exist in JS/HTML because there is no packaging/encapsulation.

    I second Rich Tretola’s call for Tim Cook to reopen the question of Flash on iOS.

    Reply to this comment

  3. Tom Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Adobe needs to connect with browser app creators on Android and get multi-touch and gestures to work on Android browsers.

    The idea is to explore the possibility of integrating mobile gestures into websites. Traditionally, when we think about viewing a website from a mobile/tablet device, we see it at losing a few user interactions (like
    rollovers), but the trade off is that we’ve gained quite a few new gestures that could really enhance the user experience. When a user-agent tells us that an Android device is viewing the site, instead of directing the user to
    a dumbed down version, we could direct them to a “smarter” version.

    This smarter version could incorporate these mobile/tablet device gestures and give users a native “app-like” experience while allowing us and users to circumvent the drawbacks of the “mobile app market” process altogether.

    I filed and have been pursuing this bug for over a year now and Adobe still has not resolved the issue.

    Please see this:

    Reply to this comment

  4. Gustavo Aquino Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    “… I’m Adobe Community Professional…”

    Who cares about !Big shit btw.

    Reply to this comment

    Rich Tretola Reply:

    Well, I do. It has been an honor to be recognized as an Adobe Community Professional for the past 5 years.

    Reply to this comment

  5. VeryVito Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I think I’ve become an outsider in the Flash dev community over the past few years, but as a Flash developer since the days of FutureSplash, I’m surprised by my own feelings on this issue: I do NOT want Flash on my iDevice, and I hope Apple’s policy does not change on this.

    I’m rather enjoying the “forced innovation” that Apple’s denial of Flash has induced among developers of all technologies: Adobe’s app packager, jQuery, jQ and Sencha Touch and the Hype HTML5 editor would have all died on the vine long ago had Flash been allowed on iOS. Instead, they’re thriving while Flash itself continues to do well, too.

    In short, it’s been fun to see what lies beyond AS3 these days, and such innovation can only help to pull/push Flash forward, too.

    Reply to this comment

    judah Reply:

    Instead of dictating what technologies I should or should not have I would prefer to be given a choice. Your enjoyment is from the “innovation” you are seeing as a result. If it took Apple’s denial of a technology to get everyone in the tech industry to work on “alternative” solutions what does that say for what Flash had to offer?

    Reply to this comment

  6. YopSolo Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Nice letter, but i don’t think that Tim cook can do this until the old man is still alive.

    Reply to this comment

  7. carl schooff Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Hey Rich,

    I had the same idea, but you did it first and with much more class! Direct, friendly and to the point. Great job.

    I know you will get plenty of ignorance-flames, but you have legions that support your sentiments.

    Steve really jumped the gun as his own devices barely support the “whiz bang” javascript features. There’s plenty of processor-intensive javascript/html5/css3 stuff that will cripple current iOS devices. Yet Air 2.7+ is running stellar.

    As you noted, at the time the Flash-ban hit, the performance claims were valid. Not so much anymore.

    My biggest gripe with the whole affair centers around Apple’s posture of being this great defender of creative expression.

    Flash has been and is the most comprehensive platform for creating immersive, interactive, mixed-media experiences that perform consistently on the greatest number of screens. Furthermore, the creation of these experiences need not be bogged down with the tiresome drudgery of cross-browser hacks and fallbacks. The artist is free to focus on the capabilities of their toolset and not the limitations imposed on them by outdated browsers.

    For apple to single-handedly try to banish a media format that has provided so many people an avenue of creative expression is totally hypocritical.

    Perhaps there is hope that Mr Cook is more true to Apple’s core principles.



    Reply to this comment

  8. Eduardo Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Maybe a necessary step to have Apple allow Flash/Air on the iOS devices is to build some mechanism that still allows them to get a 30% cut of every sale.

    Reply to this comment

  9. datee Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 4:39 am

    I think this will eventually resolve itself. Yes Apple should come to their senses and overcome what clearly is nothing more than silly stubbornness at this point.
    Allow flash, but make it optional! If users dont like it,
    they wont enable it! Whats the problem…

    Im so tired of the flash/html5 debate.. Yes, Html5 is a good thing but its still HTML! And working with html+css+js is not the way i want to work in MY future. The Javascript/naitive browser way of working is painfull compared to Flash development… it just works so much better, in my opinion.

    I’ve been a multimedia developer for 12 years and the very thought of flash being dead would just ruin my motivation, and i would probably quit the business. That unless some tools and workflow equaliy powerful and flexible comes along. And i dont see that happening for a long time. But please, Edge and Hype .. its kidsplay stuff compared to the possibilities within the flashplatform..

    Anyway, Adobe just needs to work harder to make flash better than ever! And though Stage3D is great, flash needs to be more optimized and faster. And yes, even more stable, especially on mobile. Keep going strong Adobe! :)

    Reply to this comment

    Sean Reply:

    As I mentioned in a post below, OPEN SOURCE Flash, that would make EVERYONE Happy, remove the Hype from HTML5 and allow for a apple and other to adopt it as the “new” HTML5 as the Flash Player is light years ahead of HTML5. So Adobe, OPEN SOURCE FLASH, it will insure you will keep making money from your development tools, Apple will be happy, developers will be happy and Google will love it as they are all into open source, so what’s the hold up? Just open source the Flash Player (and AIR) and bring the world together…. Come on… already…

    Reply to this comment

  10. cisnky Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Pains me to say this, I’ve not seen anything on Android in Flash to make me feel that the iPhone needs it.

    The potential is there. Just a shame it remains untapped.

    Reply to this comment

  11. yagogak Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    And please consider linux developper !

    We need :

    Flashbuider on linux
    Flashplayer debug 64bits on linux
    Air on linux
    And why not CS5 on linux

    Reply to this comment

    Rich Tretola Reply:

    That would be a different letter directly to Adobe. I think the answer is that the market share of Linux desktop is not there for Adobe to make any money on this platform.

    Reply to this comment

    yagogak Reply:

    Omg, i’m really tired … Sorry for this mistake. While reading your letter my mind digress to those specific adobe problems.
    Is adobe going to change his CEO ? :)

    Reply to this comment

  12. Brian Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I can understand Apple not wanting to ship the player with their OS but the user should be allowed to install it if they choose.

    Apple, let your customers decide.

    Reply to this comment

    Rich Tretola Reply:

    Yes, I agree! Choice would be nice.

    Reply to this comment

  13. bruce Says:
    August 27th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I hope the new CEO allow RIA ( aka flash) to ios device.

    Reply to this comment

  14. Khalifa Says:
    August 28th, 2011 at 12:07 am

    I’m a Mac user at home and I use Windows at work both computers that I use are modern are very capable and most if not all system crashes that i suffer on both PC and Mac are flash related!!! I really hate flash and I hope that it dies as technology, That said I still think that I should have the right to install it on my iOS device if I chose to but again I have a belief inside me that Steve Jobs has a personal thing against flash and we will never ever see flash on an iOS device as long as he is a live! At last I really respect Steve Jobs and thank him for everything he did and wish him a healthy long life and I hope that Tim Cock will read your letter which i liked and take it into consideration.

    Reply to this comment

  15. Tomas Sancio Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Hi Rich,

    To drive the point further (and be more coercive), one can rephrase the letter as:

    “Dear Tim Cook,

    XCode and Cocoa are great but not for everybody. Flex is a kick-ass coding environment with a better learning curve for the large Flash programming base and HTML coders. Combined with Coldfusion, it allows people to create client-server enterprise applications with ease. Although you have accepted AIR apps into iOS (thanks), going a step further by accepting Flash into Mobile Safari will make sure your competitors don’t get any traction with business clients.

    Be paranoid. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.


    Your friends at Adobe.”

    Reply to this comment

  16. Derek Rosien Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Hey guys!

    Rich, good letter. Thank you for writing it.

    Some great comments as well, especially Carl…

    My thoughts on the subject, and in my opinion what it has been from the start is the insurance of the AppStore…

    Even today, with the new hardware, you can get a developer that has EnterFrame scripts running huge amounts of code that will just put performance through the floor… on the other hand, if thedeveloper knows what they are doing, they can optimize the app and see massive improvements.

    If Apple were to put Flash Player ontheir platform, the would be effectively throwing away millions in revenue. That and the loss of control, which also could be easily argued as the reason.

    I have been both an HTML developer and a Flash/Flex developer and let me tell ya, I would never go back to HTML.

    Adobe is going down the right path, just keep improving the performance and we developers will create the apps that will prove that it does work.


    Reply to this comment

  17. Josh Says:
    August 29th, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I agree with Rich’s call for Tim Cook to reopen the question of Flash on iOS.

    Reply to this comment

  18. Bob Urbanowski Says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Was this sent? Response received? I’m doubting it.. worth a try though!

    Reply to this comment

  19. Russell Brown Says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Flash running on an iOS poses a possible revenue stream for Apple. Apple cares about this more than they do the functionality of their devices.

    The Flash community is a small headache compared to the possible losses. Maybe we’ll see an official Adobe AIR engine that allows for better performance and packaging, but I have a hard time envisioning Browser enabled Flash. Apple can’t even keep them selves from screwing with HTML5 performance to hinder HTML5 games and apps that don’t go through the store.

    Solve all the problems and buy an Android. Everyone raves about Apple’s design, but the iOS interface is severely lacking in comparison.

    Reply to this comment

  20. cddin Says:
    September 27th, 2011 at 7:10 am

    I hope flash player is allowed in IOS. Good letter!!

    Reply to this comment