Does Jobs really believe his Adobe attack?

Jobs and Flash
Jobs' open letter doesn't all make sense

Most people know about Steve Jobs' famous reality distortion field, but you don't see it in action that often - so hurrah, then, for the latest Steve-O-Gram, in which he invents a whole new tech history and imagines a world of apps that doesn't actually exist.

Okay, it's not quite that bad, but it's not far off it. Jobs' essay makes some perfectly accurate points about Flash, expresses some convincing arguments for Jobs' antipathy towards the technology, and wraps them in some of the most unbelievable guff we've seen in ages.

In Steve's world Adobe dumped the creative market for the corporate one. You thought Acrobat was just a tiny part of an enormous product portfolio that encompassed digital imaging, magazine publishing, photo management, video production, web design and application development? Apparently not.

In Steve's world, most of the Flash video on the internet - that's the entire internet - is available in H.264 format. That's only true if by "available" he means "still kicking around somewhere in a format that could be converted into H.264". Which isn't quite the same thing. Similarly, Jobs claims that Flash doesn't support touch-based devices when he really means that many Flash applications don't.

In Steve's world, obeying the law means you can wear a policeman's uniform and call yourself Chief Inspector Plod. No, really, he does. Creating WebKit, the rendering engine used by most mobile browsers, means that Apple "even creates open standards for the web".

In Steve's world, there won't be "sub-standard apps" on Apple's mobile platform. We're glad of that, because otherwise the App store would be packed with crap. Er…

What's annoying and amusing about all of this is that Jobs makes some proper points in his essay. He says he's never seen Flash work well on a mobile device. He doesn't like the way older versions of Flash, and the sites written for them, don't use hardware video decoding.

He says Flash wasn't designed for touch input and that many Flash-based interfaces don't make sense without a mouse. He says that open standards are a good thing. And he makes it clear that he doesn't like the way Adobe took ages to fully support OS X.

All of those things are true. Why can't he say them without wrapping them in a great big net of nonsense?

What we're left with is part one of a really weird news day. Here we have the boss of Apple, moaning that Adobe isn't open enough.

Over there, Yahoo's offering business advice to Google. If Palm starts saying where Android's gone wrong we're going home.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.