Mac Without Flash, A Hopeless Story?

I've been using a new MacBook Air which Apple loaned me for review -- thoughts coming soon -- and it didn't take me very long to discover that it didn't have Adobe's FlashPlayer preinstalled. To be honest, I wasn't sure whether there was anything noteworthy about that -- I couldn't remember whether any Mac I'd ever used came with Flash, or whether I'd just installed it myself. In this case I did the latter (although-odd coincidence -- going to the Flash download page got me an error message at first, and I had to come back later).

But as Daring Fireball's John Gruber writes, the lack of Flash is a new twist in the Apple-Adobe squabble. Apple says that it's still cheerfully supporting Flash, and that downloading it from Adobe is the best way to get the safest, most current version. Others, of course, may draw more conspiratorial conclusions. (The timing is probably a coincidence, but it's an interesting one: The news is hitting right before Adobe's big, news-filled conference MAX kicks off.)

Is this bad news? For Adobe, it's surely not good news: It's easier to be an industry standard when you're a de facto operating system component than when you're an optional download. But anyone who wants Flash can get it -- I do, and I did. And Flash is now merely in the same boat as every other piece of non-Apple software. (I like Firefox, too, but I'm not indignant that it doesn't come preinstalled.)

Your thoughts, please...

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