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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleiPhoneadobeadobe flashiPad

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?