Apple kicks Adobe Flash off Macs for “security.”

“Security” provides Apple a perfect defense for its proprietary model. And it just might have the last laugh.

Image/Dawn Lim

The Apple-Adobe feud deepens: None of Apple’s products will include the Adobe Flash player plugin that allows them to view animations on webpages.

“The best way for users to always have the most up to date and secure version,” an Apple spokesperson said, “is to download it directly from Adobe.”

Flash is already banned from iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads, and won’t be available on new Mac OS X’s. The MacBook Air, unveiled Oct. 22, offered Adobe a $999 public snub.

Hackers have traditionally exploited Adobe Flash as a security loopholes on Macs. Adobe issued an advisory this week about a bug in its Shockwave Player which could be exploited to “cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.”

But security analysts say that Apple users, no longer alerted by their systems on new patches and security updates, are now more vulnerable to attacks. Mac OS X is already “significantly lacking” in memory corruption defense features when compared to Windows Vista and Linux, notes Dino Dai Zovi, infosec analyst who is known as the “Mac attacker” in the hacking community, in a paper entitled “Mac OS Xploitation.

Still, Apple, which has aggressively moved to protect its niche brand identity and through proprietary hardware and software, isn’t going to relent. And the security rhetoric provides the company a perfect defense for its closed systems, an issue which Jobs dismissed at an earnings call on Oct. 18 as “a smokescreen to try and hide the real issue, which is, ‘What’s best for the customer – fragmented versus integrated?'”

Integrated within its own corporate brand, or within the ecosystem of software and the security community? The billion dollar question hangs in the air, and Apple may just have the last laugh.

Apple’s $20.34 billion fourth quarter revenue was a 67 percent increase from 12.21 billion in the same period last year, spotlighting that the third largest PC-maker’s growing clout.  The iPhone reined in an impressive 91 percent increase in sales revenue compared to the same period last year.

Full disclaimer: I own an iPhone and have been a Mac user for 4 years.

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