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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

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

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?