Adobe CEO: Jobs' Flash attack 'is a smokescreen'

Adobe and Jobs warring with words
Adobe and Jobs warring with words

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen has spoken candidly about Steve Jobs' scathing open letter 'Thoughts on Flash', explaining that the content of the letter is a "smokescreen" for Apple.

Jobs gave six reasons why Apple had not adopted Flash on its iPhone and iPad products, an attack that immediately focused huge amounts of attention on Adobe's products.

However, in a video interview with the Wall Street Journal, Narayen notes that: "The world is emerging where there are multiple devices which are used to access the internet and our customers continue to tell us that they would love to have a way in which they can get their content, their brand across multiple devices – mobile devices, tablets, TVs and PCs.

"This article and Apple's recent behaviour show that there is a concern that Adobe is able to provide value to customers and consumers alike."

Flash forward

When pressed about what he thought were Apple's motives, Narayen explained: "The technology aspects of this article are really a smokescreen.

"We demonstrated through Adobe tools you could build content and applications [for Apple devices]. Over 100 applications were accepted on the store.

"We have demonstrated magazines and newspapers running with the fidelity that the Wall Street Journal wants on all of these devices.

"So when you resort to licensing language it is clear that it is nothing to do with technology."

Tools of the trade

Narayen also believes that Apple's dismissal of Flash will make it much harder for publishers to get their content out there digitally and even though Adobe is supplying the tools, Apple is scuppering the delivery.

"We will deliver authoring tools which will enable people to deliver content to any device, even for the iPad if you are using InDesign and DreamWeaver.

"We provide the world's best authoring tools, end of story. In terms of delivering that content the more these platforms adopt Flash you won't have to do anything else, it will just work. On the iPad, you will have to do additional steps."

In his letter Jobs stated that Flash caused crashes, ran down the battery on devices and was actually a closed system.

Unsurprisingly Narayen denied all of the above and in turn swiped at Apple's OS, saying: "I'm not aware that Flash is the cause of crashes. It has as much to do with the Apple operating system."

This is one of the most public war of words we have seen in recent years in the tech world and it is an issue that is not likely to go away anytime soon – much to the annoyance of consumers everywhere.


Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.