In this interview with the Wall Street Journal, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen refuted Steve Jobs's reasons why Apple is not allowing Adobe Flash on its iPhone, iPad and iPod. Narayen asserts that yesterday's open letter written by Steve Jobs is "a smokescreen," and pointed out multiple falsehoods within it. If you don't have time to watch the 15-minute interview, here are highlights:
Narayen said, "All of the so-called allegations are a smokescreen against the real issue." And what was at issue? "[Flash] doesn't benefit Apple, and that's why you see this reaction." For every one of these allegations made, there is proprietary lock-in that prevents us from delivering the kind of innovation that customers want."
Flash crashes Macs? "It has to do with the Apple operating system."
Battery life issues? "It is patently false. When you have hardware acceleration available for Flash, which certain platforms give us the ability to do, we have demonstrated that it takes less battery power than on the Mac."
Flash is 100% closed, and Apple is the open system? "(Laughs) I find it amusing, honestly. Flash is an open specification, it's a published specification. We have dozens of creators of the application. Can you run an application on an Apple device unless it's controlled by Apple? No. Open systems have always triumphed. We've seen that play out over and over again."
Here's my take: Steve Jobs is a liar. It would be easy for Apple to incorporate Flash into its products. But then there would be a part of the device's software that's not controlled completely by control-freak Apple.
Adobe has a ubiquitously adopted standard in Flash, and it's going to be on almost every mobile product except Apple's. Its new hardware acceleration makes Flash a much better product. Apple's trying to strong-arm this issue and eliminate Flash from the face of the Earth — it's a characteristically bold move by Apple, but it's not going to work.
Meanwhile, Flash can, and will, coexist with HTML5 and Microsoft Silverlight. Apple will be left out, standing alone in its resistance to Flash, while the rest of the world benefits from Flash's continued development.