Adobe Defends Itself Against Steve Jobs’ Attack On Flash


Credit: Adobe

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs surprised Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) today by publishing a 1,671-word essay on his thoughts on why Apple does not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. This afternoon, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, made an appearance at the WSJ’s office to participate in a live blog, and to defend the company, against what he called was an “extraordinary attack.”

Without a referee, there could be no winner. Jobs accused Adobe and Flash of being a closed and proprietary system, and Narayan chuckled in response, calling Flash “an open specification.” Jobs said Flash drains batteries, and Narayan said that’s “patently false.”

While Jobs railed on about the downsides of Flash, Narayan stuck to the benefits: that Apple should let customers decide and that Adobe’s ultimate goal is to create a platform that lets content be written once for multiple platforms, and that a more cohesive world will “eventually prevail.”

Be your own judge and read the full text of the interview with Adobe’s Narayan here, and Jobs’ full essay here.


Manoj Wadhwa

I am not sure if this really helps Apple because a lot of multimedia content distributed over the web is in Flash and AIR is gaining good ground too. I mean if Apple opens the doors to Flash then millions of developers could give a solid boost to Apple’s already booming app market.

Secondly, Apple’s iPhone/iPad app development SDK doesn’t come for free, probably Apple wants to have its cake and eat it too. I am sure there is are a lot of Flash developers waiting out there to make a switch but some of these Apple sponsored deterrents are making it difficult or maybe impossible for them from doing so.


Narayen really didn’t answer any of Job’s major points. And at least in a few places he was simply disingenuous. Flash crashing on the Mac OS is not Apple’s fault.

If most everyone else can write non crashy software on the Mac then Adobe should be able to do so as well (and some cases their software is great). Saying it’s somehow Apple’s fault that Adobe can’t seem to ever fix Flash is laughable.

In both cases Apple and Flash have essentially proprietary systems for creating apps and content. Saying that it’s openly specced means nothing. You still, in Adobe’s case, need their software to write in their format and you need Apple’s SDK to write apps for their products. It’s about control over development systems and in Adobe’s case he’s still talking about what ‘will be’ in regards to Flash and Android not what it ‘is’.

And from my own experience I have to agree that develop once run anywhere solutions are never as good as they are made out to be. Interestingly Apple isn’t blocking similar run times that use web standards (see PhoneGap:

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