Apple CEO Steve Jobs has written a rare public explanation for why his company's products don't use the Adobe Flash program, slamming Flash for being a relic created for "the PC era."
In a letter posted this morning on Apple's website, Jobs said Flash is unreliable, outdated and proprietary, and criticized the program for sapping battery power, failing to support touch-based devices and having technical and security drawbacks.
The major reason Apple doesn't allow Flash on iPhones, iPads and iPods, Jobs wrote, is because it adds a third layer of development to new software.
"It is not Adobe's goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps," Jobs said. "It is their goal to help developers write cross-platform apps. And Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple's platforms."
In the wake of Jobs' announcement that the high-profile iPad wouldn't support Flash's widespread video system, Adobe's share price declined 3 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Adobe has publicly expressed anger with Apple's position and halted development of a slew of Flash technology for Apple products.
"As developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at any time, and for seemingly any reason," Mike Chambers, Adobe's principal product manager for the Flash platform, wrote in an April 21 statement.
Apple has a long relationship with Adobe. In fact, we met Adobe's founders when they were in their proverbial garage. Apple was their first big customer, adopting their Postscript language for our new Laserwriter printer. Apple invested in Adobe and owned around 20 percent of the company for many years. The two companies worked closely together to pioneer desktop publishing and there were many good times. Since that golden era, the companies have grown apart. Apple went through its near death experience, and Adobe was drawn to the corporate market with their Acrobat products. Today the two companies still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe's Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests.
I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe's Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.
First, there's "Open."
Adobe's Flash products are 100 percent proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe's Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.