Adobe Declines to Come Out Swinging Against Apple

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch, despite being given the stage and the opportunity, declined to escalate his company’s fight against Apple to the level raised by Steve Jobs last week when he posted a 1,700-word anti-Flash screed on Apple.com.

Kevin Lynch at NewTeeVee Live in November

Lynch was polite but firm that Adobe is committed to “freedom of choice on the web” during a keynote interview at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. He said Adobe expects to develop tools for HTML 5 now that it’s gaining steam, emphasized Adobe’s commitment to the collaborative Open Screen Project and contended that Apple’s moves are “preventing healthy competition.”

“It’s kind of like railroads in the 1800s with everyone trying to compete on freight and delivery,” Lynch said. But with differently gauged railroads, some companies’ trains could not compete. Only after freedom of transport and open access were instated could competitors battle it out “on the merits of what they do not the gauge of the rails.”

Lynch avoided addressing two key topics in his comments head on: One, the potential antitrust case against Apple that’s reportedly based on a complaint by Adobe. And two, Jobs’ contention from last week that Flash loses on the merits, because it’s too crash-prone and battery-intensive.

However, Lynch did note the technology precedent Adobe set by building a capable workaround to adapt Flash applications for the iPhone platform using Flash CS 5, which Apple is now blocking developers from using. “The technology issue I think Apple has with us is not that it doesn’t work; it’s that it does work,” said Lynch. “We don’t want to play technology games when Apple’s just playing a legal game. We’re not going to keep doing technological work when we’re blocked like that.” Lynch said he believes applications developed for cross-platform use can absolutely compete with native apps.

Meanwhile, Adobe is demonstrating Flash and Air running on a prototype Android multitouch tablet at its booth on the Web 2.0 floor. Here’s a video:

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