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Steve Jobs Declares His “Thoughts on Flash” [Update: Adobe Responds]

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Many people have longed for Flash on the iPhone. Apple’s position on this matter is that Flash is a resource-heavy third party plugin that is not an “open” web standard. Without Flash on the iPhone, users cannot view certain web pages, videos, and play Flash games.

Apple has advocated HTML5 publicly as an alternative to Flash video. Adobe has also assaulted Apple for being too controlling and not accomodating Flash for the iPhone and iPad.

People have argued the merits of both having Flash and moving away from the old standard. Steve Jobs has finally taken the time to way his thoughts on the matter–and boy did he ever go for Adobe’s jugular. Here are some excerpts:

We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features.

Apple has pretty much laid everything out on the line. What can Adobe respond to now? What do you think of Steve’s thoughts?

Click here to read the full entry from Apple’s website.

Update: Looks like Adobe’s CEO responded to the thoughts of Steve Jobs via a a live interview with the Wall Street Journal. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen had this to say:

  • The technology problems that Mr. Jobs mentions in his essay are “really a smokescreen,” Mr. Narayen says. He says more than 100 applications that used Adobe’s software were accepted in the App Store. “When you resort to licensing language” to restrict this sort of development, he says, it has “nothing to do with technology.”
  • Speaking about Mr. Jobs’s assertion that Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Mac crashes, Mr. Narayen says if Adobe crashes Apple, that actually has something “to do with the Apple operating system.”
  • Does Mr. Narayen use an iPhone? “I have a Google Nexus One device,” he says. And what about the iPad? “I think it’s a good first-generation device. I think you’re going to see just tremendous innovation in terms of tablets.” Adobe is, in fact, working with “dozens” of tablet projects with other companies, he says.

For Adobe to respond so quickly to Steve Jobs’ open letter, Apple has Adobe playing right into their cards. Adobe is on the verge of losing everybody’s support with Flash, and their blunt defensiveness is a testament to this. One thing is for sure, trying to respond to a carefully crafted Apple press release in a live interview is not easy. Good luck Adobe!

[WSJ]

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