One of the big knocks on the iPad is that it doesn’t support Flash, so it can’t play most Web videos, or many web-based games.
Flash, Adobe’s proprietary system, is estimated to be responsible for 75% of the video on the web and 70% of the games.
In January, when the iPad launched, it was a valid critique. Today, this argument appears more flimsy.
Before the iPad even hits Apple’s shelves, take a look at this impressive list of companies converting to an iPad-friendly format for video:
- CBS, NBC (NBC changed its mind), ABC, are all on board, reports the NYT.
- Apple has a tally on its site that includes the Web sites of the NYT, CNN, Sports Illustrated, Reuters, Vimeo, and more.
- Hulu is building an app for the iPad.
- Netflix will have an iPad application.
- MLB.com will have an iPad application to stream live game video.
- YouTube is already formatted for the iPad.
- As for gaming… well, we think the iPad will do OK on that front, even without Flash. Especially because Flash user interfaces for the computer — designed with a mouse pointer in mind — would not translate well to a touch-based device, anyway.
While it looks like Apple is winning the war on Flash, online media analyst Dan Rayburn thinks it would be premature to declare a victor. He tells us:
- Companies aren’t abandoning Flash altogether. Flash will continue to prevail on the web, which has many more users than the iPad and iPhone.
- There’s thousands of smaller sites that aren’t converting to Apple’s preferred format; anytime you land on them, you’ll be missing out. (Though small sites that outsource their video to companies like Brightcove are in better shape.)
- We don’t know how much video from sites like CBS, NBC, and ABC will be converted. Is it 100% of the video archive, or just 1%?
One thing we know is that this Flash vs. Apple war is not going to end soon. (And it should not have any material impact on Adobe’s business.) But it looks like there will at least be plenty of video for iPad owners to watch, with more on the way.
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