Adobe CEO responds to Jobs' Flash-bashing memo

Following Steve Jobs' harsh letter about Apple and Flash this morning, Adobe's CEO has some strong words of his own.

Grab your ringside seats, gang: Apple and Adobe are at it again -- and this time, the fighting's turning fierce.

In one corner, you have Steve Jobs, decorated CEO of what may be both the most loved and most hated company in technology. In the other corner, you have Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, who can't understand why Jobs won't allow his Flash software onto the iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Today, in what may be the most direct clash we've seen to date, the two men are publicly throwing punches.

The Apple-Adobe Flash Clash: Steve Jobs' Letter

The high-profile fighting hit the Web hard this morning when Jobs posted a rare missive onto the home page of Apple.com. Entitled "Thoughts on Flash," the open letter offered an explanation for Jobs' firm stance against Flash. It also fired back at Adobe for its claims that Apple's Flash-free decisions are based on business-driven motivations designed to keep its systems closed.

(You can read Jobs' entire letter here; you can also read a slightly NSFW but highly entertaining "translation" of it here.)

In a nutshell, Jobs says that Adobe's Flash platform is closed and that he values Web technologies that are open (a slightly ironic statement, no?); that Flash is unreliable and insecure; that Flash is too big of a drain on battery life; and that Flash doesn't function well with touch interfaces.

Jobs goes on to state that, contrary to what some have suggested, surfing the Web without Flash isn't an incomplete experience: Most Flash-based video, he attests, is already available in other formats. While Flash-based games can't be played on an Apple device, he proposes that Apple's App Store offers enough alternative entertainment options that it shouldn't be a problem.

The Apple-Adobe Flash Clash: Adobe's Response

All caught up on that side of the drama? Good. Now here's what Adobe had to say about Jobs' remarks.

Adobe's CEO, Shantanu Narayen, sat down for an interview with The Wall Street Journal to chat about what Jobs wrote. According to The Journal, Narayen says Adobe's goal is and has always been to make it easy for people to work on any operating system. He says Apple's restrictions would make it unnecessarily "cumbersome" for developers, forcing them to maintain "two workflows" -- one for Apple, and one for everyone else.

"We have different views of the world," Narayen tells The Journal. "Our view of the world is multi-platform."

As for the technical problems Jobs connected to Adobe's Flash software, Narayen says he sees them as little more than "a smokescreen." Specifically, he says Jobs' claims about Flash draining devices' batteries are "patently false" and that if Adobe causes frequent crashes on Apple systems, it's likely the result of an issue within Apple's OS.

Narayan also maintains his stance that Jobs' Flash ban is based purely on business: Apple, he contends, stands to gain the most from apps that are exclusive to its platform; Adobe's platform, on the other hand, allows developers to create apps that can work for multiple types of devices.

"It doesn't benefit Apple," he says, "and that's why you see this reaction."

Apple may ultimately win this battle, but somewhere, I suspect Larry and Sergey are smiling.

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the co-founder of eSarcasm. He's on Facebook: facebook.com/The.JR.Raphael

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iPadAppleadobeiPhoneadobe flash

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?