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Apple Won't Push Flash Player Updates

Flash updates will no longer arrive with Apple security updates, and new MacBook Air arrives without Flash installed, one week after the company distanced itself from Java.

MacBook Air
(click image for larger view)
MacBook Air
In the latest twist to the apparent spat between Apple and Adobe, Flash updates will reportedly no longer be automatically pushed to users by Apple as part of its security updates.

Likewise, Apple's new MacBook Air will not ship with Flash installed.

The news followed an apparent detente last month in the Apple and Adobe relationship, after Apple announced that it would begin allowing iOS developers to translate their applications from Flash.

"Is this a continuance of the battle Steve Jobs is waging against Flash on the iPhone and iPad? Who knows," said Chester Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos. "What I do know is that this is clearly a bad sign for the hope that Apple is committed to securing the Mac platform."

That's because Flash can't update itself. Users of Firefox and Chrome browsers, however, will see their Flash plug-in get automatically updated, though Safari users will not.

Of course, Adobe has been busy patching Flash lately, owing to numerous zero-day vulnerabilities and rapid subsequent attacks aimed at exploiting those bugs to gain control of people's computers.

Many Flash users, as a result, will need to source Flash updates on their own. According to Wisniewski, "Adobe has announced its intention to provide an auto-update application for Flash, but it remains to be seen when this will ship."

Apple's apparent Flash fatwa follows on the heels of the company decision to drop support for Java from future versions of its Mac OS X operating system, as revealed last week in its Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3 release notes.

According to Apple: "The Java runtime ported by Apple and that ships with Mac OS X is deprecated," meaning no longer supported. "Developers should not rely on the Apple-supplied Java runtime being present in future versions of Mac OS X."


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