Steve Jobs Issues A Public Slap to Adobe

Steve Jobs Issues A Public Slap to Adobe

Since the emergence of the iPhone, Apple has been taking flack from consumers and industry analysts because the Cuppertino, CA-based company has steadfastly refused to allow Adobe’s popular Flash software to work on Apple’s mobile devices. A large portion of the gripes are coming from critics who suggest that Apple does not allow Flash on its mobile platforms because the company fears that Flash-based applications would cause Apple’s revenue stream from its App Store to dry up. Apparently the criticism has been bothering the world’s most influential turtleneck aficionado.

Jobs Finally Breaks

This past Thursday morning, Steve Jobs – CEO of Apple – posted an essay explaining Apple’s stance on Flash for its mobile devices. The lengthy article lays out the case that Apple’s refusal to support Adobe’s Flash software for Apple’s iPhones, iPods and iPads is based on the technology involved rather than any sort of marketing strategy.

Throughout his essay, Steve Jobs puts on a clinic in how to systematically take apart one’s detractors.  Previously, Adobe had made the statement that 75% of video on the web is unavailable to Apple’s mobile users.  Jobs flatly refutes this claim, citing evidence that video suppliers have begun supporting other formats such as H.264, either in preference to or in tandem with Flash.  YouTube stands as a strong point for that argument, with around 40% of video on the web, and full H.264 support.  Added to that is the May 1 Tech Crunch report of data from which validates Jobs’ statements about video codecs, and shows that the H.264 format now well outstrips the older Flash formats by a wide margin.

No Love Lost

According to Jobs, Apple’s disdain for Flash on mobile devices primarily comes from the idea that Flash is a closed system. While he acknowledges that the iPhone OS is also closed, Jobs asserts that “all standards pertaining to the Web should be open.”  Apple’s support of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript is contrasted against Flash here, and Jobs goes on to voice a great, swooning love for HTML5 because it doesn’t lean on plug-ins to deliver content.  Additionally, Jobs issues some fairly stern criticisms of Flash’s vulnerability to malicious exploits, as well as the software’s instability and inability to perform reliably on mobile platforms.

The biggest slap comes in Jobs’ closing sentence, “Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”


Foreshadowing A Larger Battle

The response from Adobe has been tepid at best, largely featuring conciliatory language and some grousing about Apple’s legal terms. Although, Bloomberg is now speculating that Adobe may be behind the possible antitrust inquiry into Apple’s app development process. If this is true, Jobs’ words may come back to haunt him.

Max Wellenstein

SEO Manager


MacWorld – Steve Jobs pens public thoughts on Flash

Apple – Thoughts on Flash

TechCrunch – H.264 Already Won

Adobe – Moving Forward

Gizmodo – Adobe Might Be Behind Apple Antitrust Rumblings

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