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Apple will no longer pre-install Flash on Macs

Media and guests check out Apple's latest thinner MacBook Air 11" (L) and 13" models and new operating system after attending a news conference at Apple Inc. headquarters in Cupertino, California October 20, 2010. REUTERS/Norbert von der Groeben

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc said on Friday it will no longer ship Mac computers with Adobe Systems Inc’s Flash player pre-installed, as the company continues to erect barriers to the software.

Apple’s decision does not ban Flash software from its computers -- as it has from the iPhone and iPad. Users will still be able to download and install a Flash player, which is widely-used to view videos on the Web.

Apple has been publicly hostile toward Flash and Steve Jobs has criticized it as a buggy battery hog. Adobe has responded by calling Apple overly restrictive.

In addition, Apple had effectively banned developers from using Flash to build applications for its mobile devices, but the company relented last month in the face of scrutiny from U.S. regulators.

Apple unveiled on Wednesday an updated version of its ultra-thin MacBook Air laptop. The computer is shipping without the Flash software installed, as will all Mac computers in the future, Apple confirmed.

Apple spokesman Bill Evans said Apple simply wanted to make sure users had the most recent version of the software, which is frequently updated.

“We’re happy to continue to support Flash on the Mac and the best way for users to always have the most up to date and secure version is to download it directly from Adobe,” he said.

In an emailed statement, an Adobe spokeswoman said: “As always, Adobe recommends that users download the most up to date version of Adobe Flash Player from Adobe.com.”

Apple shares fell 0.7 percent to close at $307.47, while Adobe shares rose 1.8 percent to $28.21.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway; editing by Andre Grenon, Bernard Orr

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