But What Does Steve Jobs Really Think Of Flash?

The message Adobe displays when you try to load Flash on an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

Get used to this message. Steve Jobs says it's not going anywhere.

Though it’s been simmering for quite a while, things between Apple and Adobe regarding the absence of Flash on Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch began to really boil over following the iPad unveiling, when Steve Jobs slammed Adobe and Flash at an Apple Town Hall meeting. For an encore, Apple effectively banned Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone app converter, which prompted Adobe’s “Flash Evangelist” to respond with a scathing blog post that ended “Go screw yourself Apple.” Next, Adobe’s CEO opined that Apple’s decision to go Flash-less was a business one, rather than a technology decision, and reiterated that Flash would be available for other smartphone platforms in the second half of the year.

Apparently, all this left the ball in Apple’s court, and today Steve Jobs crushed it back with an open letter/essay titled “Thoughts on Flash.” Though he opens with some conciliatory comments on how close Apple and Adobe used to be, he quickly gets to the point that Flash is “closed.” While Jobs admits that Apple’s iPhone OS is also closed, he emphasizes Apple’s support of open standards for the web, pointing out Apple’s support of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript as well as their development of WebKit. Overall, Jobs makes a convincing argument, from a business standpoint, to support Apple’s choice, and he’s right when he says that Adobe’s goal is to help developers write cross-platform apps rather than just to help them make the best possible iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch apps. He’s also probably right that down the road Flash will fall by the wayside as people gravitate to mobile, touch devices that don’t jibe with Flash’s power-hungry nature and mouse-centric paradigm. That said, if Steve ran Adobe instead of Apple, it seems unlikely he’d do things differently, and on the “open” platform front, it’s hard not to see Jobs as throwing stones from his glass house.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that this is shaping up to be an entertaining battle going forward. While we await the next salvo, please enjoy the irony that is “Steve Jobs’s ‘Thoughts on Flash,’ in Flash.”

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