Adobe CEO responds to Jobs’ ‘Thoughts on Flash’ | iLounge News


Adobe CEO responds to Jobs’ ‘Thoughts on Flash’

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen has responded to statements made about his company and its Flash technology by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his “Thoughts on Flash” open letter. Calling the technology problems mentioned by Jobs a “smokescreen,” Narayen pointed out that more than 100 applications built using Adobe’s Flash technology were accepted into the App Store. “When you resort to licensing language” to restrict this kind of cross-platform development, he said, it has “nothing to do with technology.” Narayen also said Apple’s refusal to allow cross-platform apps onto its devices makes it “cumbersome” for developers who will have to have “two workflows,” and called Jobs’ claims that Flash causes undue battery drain “patently false.” To conclude the interview, Narayen said that he is for “letting customers decide,” but that he believes the multi-platform strategy will “eventually prevail.”

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While I think both parties are unclean, Adobe is correct in that Jobs’ letter and explanations are mostly smokescreen, at least in regards to the development matter.

The notion that cross platform development is so bad that it must be banned because applications will not make full use of the iPhone OS device’s hardware is clearly nonsense right on the face of it. I dare Jobs to be able to name one single thing about an iPhone, touch, or even the iPad that is both different hardware wise from the competition, but also something that an application’s code would treat differently. Remember: the whole concept in modern OS design is that there is no ability for application code to access hardware directly, it all has to go through function calls to the OS, and any cross platform compiler automates this process. Further, just what about yet another tip calculator or store locator actually requires iPhone OS specific development versus a more generic mobile touchscreen based platform development? Methinks Jobs doth protest too much on this one, and the holes in that explanation are very easy to see.

As I said in an earlier news post on this topic, it’s clear to me that all Jobs is trying to do is to limit cross platform development to push developers into making the iPhone OS their main, if not only, focus. It’s a lot harder to tie people to your platform if the best software on it is available on Android and Symbian.

Posted by Code Monkey on April 30, 2010 at 10:09 AM (CDT)


Ok, I think this fight, Apple vs. Adobe is gonna be here a while. Who do you think will win? I wonder if Vegas will put odds on this. I’ll put my money on Apple. :)

Posted by willzilla on April 30, 2010 at 10:37 AM (CDT)


Smokescreen? As Steve wrote in his post, Apple started the transition to OS X in 2000, had to delay it for a year to write Carbon APIs so Adobe & MicroSoft would bring their software to OS X, and today Adobe finally releases it’s first OS X Cocoa native version of Photoshop.

Adobe today released a Flash to iPhone cross compiler. Apple just opened up ~1500 APIs for iPhoneOS 4 for use this summer on the iPhone and fall for the iPad. How long would Adobe take to include these new software features in it’s cross compiler? Would Adobe make iPhoneOS 4 specific changes to Flash to take advantage of all these APIs?

Adobe has taken over 3 years to even come close to releasing a full Flash release for modern smart phones. Why would anyone expect Adobe to be any quicker updating its cross compiler to keep up with a young and quickly growing iPhoneOS?

Posted by ZiggyB on April 30, 2010 at 11:15 AM (CDT)


I, for one, am glad Steve’s putting up the fight.  I concur with his thoughts on Flash entirely.  I’ve always hated Flash on the desktop, why would I want it on my iPhone?  So I can see more ads?  Yeah, no thanks.

Posted by Tony Karakashian on April 30, 2010 at 1:33 PM (CDT)


@3: The Macintosh platform is a minor percentage of Adobe’s business anymore, that goes triple-cubed for the potential iPhone OS market. They have no reason to rush to please the Macintosh crowd because, other than Apple themselves, nobody is going to invest the resources to rush in and try and replace them. So, fine, it took them 10 years to finally develop a fully OSX native version of Photoshop, just how many professional users dumped Photoshop because of that? For that matter, just how many professionals are still using Mac OS compared to Windows?

@4: Don’t worry, Steve is taking care of that one for you with the iAd program.

The complete lack of perspective from the Apple cheering crowd is very odd. The iPhone OS web traffic accounts for less than 0.6% of web traffic - there is hardly a website outside of particularly niche subject matters (e.g. this one) that is going to be concerned about full iPhone OS compatibility. Steve’s going to need super powers to win this fight because market share, economic principles, and developer numbers and momentum are squarely in his way.

Moreover, why does everyone feel the need to simplify this fight to the simplistic notion of serving ads? There’s more individual people just playing FarmVille monthly, a Flash only web game, than have purchased iPhone OS devices since their launch.

And, again, what is wrong with cross platform development? Is having choice such a bad thing for you people? Does it bother you that a developer could actually pay his bills because he can sell to the iPhone OS, Symbian OS, and Android OS and quickly update and support all three platforms? No matter how many new APIs are out there for devs, the truth is that the majority of apps out there are never going to be updated to use them either, SDK or no SDK, so the argument that devs shouldn’t be allowed to use Adobe’s tools since they may not be as up to date as the SDK is ludicrous. You don’t need every trick in the book to write a decent but basic application. Those that really do need to use every trick in the book, like games, will, guess what?, be using the SDK, but most of the apps that are out now and most of the apps that will come out from now on will not need to have access to every single API *immediately* to be perfectly good apps.

Posted by Code Monkey on April 30, 2010 at 5:35 PM (CDT)


@5:  You just made the argument for why Apple should basically shun Adobe. Because Adobe has basically shunned Apple for 10 years. So Apple did not have the market share to warrant any priority in a native OS X Photoshop? Concurred (even though MANY professional photogs have/still use Mac as their tool of choice). Now iPhone OS IS a major player in mobile browsing and Adobe wants THEIR consideration? Nice. Karma my friends. If Adobe did not think that the iPhone market was going to remain a huge player, they would simply say “whatever” and move on to focus on the other mobile platforms. That way they could finally produce that usable mobile Flash that they say they are working on and rub it in Apple’s face. The proof is in the pudding. Make a decent product already and make Apple eat their words. I thought so…can’t (or won’t) do it.

Posted by Mitch on April 30, 2010 at 9:01 PM (CDT)


Mitch, Android already has a larger percentage of web traffic in the U.S. and only trails iPhone OS world wide by something like 0.2% of all web traffic and it runs Adobe Flash. This isn’t a matter of Karma, Apple is simply not in the position of power people here imagine them to be.

Apple gets these great factoids like, “number one cell phone maker”, but that’s because we’re fast approaching a scenario like in the personal computer market where Apple ranks very high in terms of selling computers even though their platform only accounts for somewhere around 5% or so of all computers out there. This is because they sell 100% of the Macinstosh computers while a dozens of manufacturers sell the other 95% and no one manufacturer gets that high of a sales number. That’s what we’re starting to see here: Apple came fast out of the gate, but they’re just one platform and Symbian and Android and Blackberry are all running some form of Flash and combined they are a much larger market than the iPhone OS could ever hope to be.

This is just numbers, nothing more. Apple has mindshare, I admit it, but Adobe flash has market share, and a LOT of it, and that’s going to trump mind share on the balance sheet just about every time.

Posted by Code Monkey on April 30, 2010 at 10:17 PM (CDT)


Code Monkey, you may want to check your numbers again. I cannot speak for CS4, but 75% of CS3 sales were for the Mac platform, just as it was for CS2. I cannot believe that CS4 or CS5 were or will be any different.

Posted by hydra-calm on May 3, 2010 at 2:48 PM (CDT)

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