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Adobe CEO rejects Jobs complaints as 'smokescreen'

updated 05:20 pm EDT, Thu April 29, 2010

Apple accusations called unfounded, self-serving

Steve Jobs' latest complaints about Adobe and Flash are groundless, suggests Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Narayen argues for instance that Adobe content is indeed open, as it is available on multiple platforms and can be formatted for multiple devices. This may be what Apple is really concerned about, the CEO says.

The technology issues Jobs raises are, according to Narayen, "really a smokescreen," as evidenced by the fact that over 100 apps built with Adobe software were accepted into the App Store before Apple banned the use of cross-compilers. Current restrictions may be forcing just two workflows on developers. "When you resort to licensing language" to control development, says the executive, it has "nothing to do with technology."

Addressing Jobs' individual assertions, Narayen denies that Flash is the primary cause of Mac crashes, and instead contends that Mac OS X is at fault. He further rejects the claim of Flash being a battery drain as "patently false," and in fact proposes that "for every one of these accusations made there is proprietary lock-in" creating an obstacle.

Narayen comments that although he has met Jobs several times, the Apple CEO is ideologically distant. "We have different views of the world," the Adobe leader tells the Journal. "Our view of the world is multi-platform." He compliments the iPad as a "good first-generation device," but mentions that Adobe is working on "dozens" of tablet projects with other businesses. A multi-platform approach will "eventually prevail," Narayen concludes.

by MacNN Staff



  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Wow, those were some weak, clueless answers by Narayen. Sure, Flash is an open standard. Right, Flash crashing on Macs is Apple's fault. And Flash isn't at all infamous for draining batteries on laptops and the few mobile devices that support Flash lite. In what universe is this guy fit to represent Adobe in a positive light? The smart answer would be to suggest that they're hard at work finding solutions to allow their customers to deploy on iPhones, such as exporting to HTML5 from their content creation software. Instead, we get this childish sour grapes that they can't get Flash on the iPhone. Cry me a river, Narayen. Apple doesn't want your universal software platform. Other platform vendors are probably not too hot about it either, even if they may not be so vocal about it. In any case, you're not showing us that you've developed any actual solutions here.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Universal = LCD

    The problem with universal is exactly as Steve described, it has to work according to the lowest common denominator. How Adobe can believe that is a good thing is a complete mystery. It might be good for lazy developers to spew cr*pware across multiple platforms but it certainly does nothing for quality and platform optimisation on the customer side. Come to think of it, Adobe product has been going downhill on all platforms recently so why should Flash be any different. Their desire to insinuate their mediocrity into the mobile computing space should be resisted by everyone otherwise we'll need red hot 2.66Ghz processors to make a phonecall and oven-gloves to hold the device.

  1. jbruner

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Look at the JooJoo (the tablet that recieved 90 pre-orders!) review at gizmodo when they ran Flash based video it sucked half the life out of the battery! Give Shantanu an MacBook and go to a Flash heavy site and listen to those fans WHIRRRRRRRRR!!!! It heats up CPUs, sucks battery life, and is the worst! PPC was awful, they lucked out when Apple went intel they could throw in som e x86 code but even that didn't seem to be optimized. Snooze you lose Adobe (ie Cocoa CS)

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Narayen argues for instance that Adobe content is indeed open, as it is available on multiple platforms and can be formatted for multiple devices. This may be what Apple is really concerned about, the CEO says."

    No. Apple does not want to wait for Adobe to finally ship a good product in order to ship its own products. Otherwise, using the previous Adobe Flash product on new Apple hardware, and the resultant impact on the user experience, is what Apple is saying is undesirable. The supporting points resolve to Adobe being slow, to unresponsive.

  1. panjandrum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad blood

    Let's face it, there is also considerable bad blood regarding Flash and Macs. For far too many years you could run flash content just fine on lowly PCs, and yet that same content wouldn't run properly on Macs with double, triple, the processing power. My daughter had to use my wife's cruddy old Dell Laptop to run sites like Neopets, even though her main computer, my old dual-processor G4 tower had 2.6x the total processing power (1ghz vs. 2.6ghz). When you produce a junk product for, what, ten to twelve years, you might think that eventually your policy will come back to bite you. I can't wait until flash is no more. It is fate it deserves.

  1. bonaccij

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I have never

    in my life seen such idiocy on the behalf of a CEO. Let me get this straight. Because flash can be used on different platforms, it is an open standard? Really? Like, uhm... RealPlayer, or Uhm... Windows Media??? Those can be played on multiple platforms - h*** - so can Silverlight... are those OPEN STANDARDS???? Pervasiveness does NOT equal OPEN you MORON! They are still PROPRIETARY. JUST LIKE FLASH.

    The bottom line is, and I think this is sad, there are a ton of designers and coders out there who have spent time to learn Flash and Action Script. No doubt - kudos to them, but, please, it's time to move on! Flash isn't going anywhere. We know it's going to hang on like REAL... those that are comfortable using/coding/designing in Flash will continue to do so. That is, until they realize that they really aren't getting their message out because there are just going to be too many other devices that don't support it in the near future.

    Why bicker. Just shut up and if you want to keep developing the Flash junk - develop it! Again, in the end, the consumers and people who actually consume the media will decide. Hey everyone, let's all hold our breathe until Adobe actually puts out a port of flash that works on a mobile device correctly. Yeah, THAT'LL be fun!

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I often leave flash sites...

    ...usually giving up as the wait to load is so tedious - I don't know why websmiths seem to love the software so much as in my experience it seems a barrier to communication rather than a help...

  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It's laughable how he insists that Flash is open, because it's on a few platforms. Nope, the player is a closed binary on Linux, and cross-platform does not mean open. Realplayer played on multiple platforms but it was an extremely closed format.

    Flash is still the primary cause of crashes on OS X, and trying to deny it means he's either ignorant or lying. As for his claim that Apple doesn't let Adobe get at the hardware, their Flash player betas now allow this.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. ilovestevejobs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree with Adobe

    Steve Blowjobs likes everything closed off and tight. Just like when he has his mouth around a nice....

    Adobe should just dump Apple and move on. If designers using s*** Apple complain, Adobe can just tell them to shove it "If you want to continue using our products then you have to use a Windows Platform. Not that big of a deal."

  1. chas_m



    Somebody call the WAAHmbulance!

    Seriously, I was expecting a more coherent, logical and, well, intelligent response to Jobs' letter. Instead we have the CEO of Adobe blatantly LYING about his product and spewing conspiracy theories.

    Well, I know which of these two gentlemen seems more credible to ME.

    PS. The last time Steve Jobs wrote a "thoughts on" letter, it was about DRM'd music. Gee, I wonder which way the market went shortly thereafter?

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