Thoughts on Open

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, just issued some thoughts on Flash, detailing why Apple won’t support it on their iPhones and -Pads. They’ll probably have some valid points there, but as I don’t own or plan to own any of those products, I don’t really care.

Still, there’s one bone I have to pick with his epistle. In response to Adobe’s claim that Flash is open and Apple distributes a closed system, Jobs says,

Apple has many proprietary products too. Though the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the web should be open. Rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript – all open standards. […] HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.

Anyone following what’s going on with HTML5 will see the elephant in the room, and Jobs mentions it a bit further on: Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75% of video on the web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

And there you have it. First, Jobs says that Apple strongly believe[s] that all standards pertaining to the web should be open but then he won’t say that the only video-format that his company’s browser will support is the closed source, proprietary H.264 format. Which makes that bit about strongly believing in the open web sound a bit, well, phony.

So, ehm, mr. Jobs: either put your money where your mouth is and start supporting open video in Webkit, or just STFU, ‘kay?