Adobe respond to Jobs' "thoughts on Flash"

The Wall Street Journal has had a short live-blog session with Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen, regarding today's "Thoughts on Flash" letter by Steve Jobs. In the interview, Narayen says that the technology problems Jobs portrays are nothing more than a "smokescreen," and that over 100 applications made by Adobe software can currently be found in the App Store.

Narayen also goes on the attack, stating that if Adobe really is the number one cause of Mac crashes, then the problem is with the Apple OS, and not Adobe's product. In addition to addressing other issues, Narayen makes Adobe's stance on the matter clear--customers will be the ones to decide what technology to use, and Adobe firmly believes in a multi-platform world.

Aside from the official response from Adobe, former Editor-in-Chief of MacUsers, Adam Banks, has voiced an opinion of his own. In a letter entitled "Thoughts on 'Thoughts on Flash'," Banks likens to situation to Apple's choice to drop serial and parallel ports, or to cripple backward compatibility in the newer version of its OS. He calls the move "brave and forward-looking." He feels that a lot of what Jobs had to say "makes sense," though does not openly agree or disagree with the overall decision to not support Flash.

Banks then addresses the points he disagrees with, one by one. You can view the whole thing here, however, these are some of his major points:

  • It was Adobe who supported Apple in the beginning. Not vice versa.
  • Mac users don't buy half of Adobe's Creative Suite products. Creative Suite users purchase Macs to use it on. If Adobe dropped Mac support, Apple would sell far less computers.
  • Creating a browser that supports open standards is not the same thing as "creating open standards."
  • iProducts, are missing out on plenty of video content. To say otherwise is simply untrue.
  • Not supporting Flash because of its past inability to handle H.264 is wrong.

For another impressive breakdown of how Steve Jobs incorrectly portrayed the state of Flash technologies, see, Flash developer Jesse Warden's blog post entitled, "Correcting the Lies."

Below is the full Wall Street Journal interview (all directly quoted from WSJ):

2:36 pm
Alan Murray begins the interview, calling Mr. Jobs's missive an "extraordinary attack." He asks Mr. Narayen what Adobe has done to deserve this.

2:40 pm
Mr. Narayen says that the difference is that Adobe believes in open content. He says that their Creative Suite software was designed to work on multiple devices and that Apple's "recent behavior shows that they are concerned about Adobe being able" to provide this product that works across multiple platforms.

2:43 pm
Mr. Murray likens the Apple-Adobe fight to that between reality TV stars John and Kate Gosselin and asks about the history between the two companies. Mr. Narayan says that Adobe has been "true to the position" with which it was founded and to the idea that it should help people deal with multiple operating systems.

2:45 pm
Mr. Narayan talks about Adobe "certainly" shipping on Android's latest version. He says that it is an "incredibly productive time" for Adobe and discusses Creative Suite 5, saying that Adobe's "innovation is blowing people away."

2:47 pm
The technology problems that Mr. Jobs mentions in his essay are "really a smokescreen," Mr. Narayan says. He says more than 100 applications that used Adobe's software were accepted in the App Store. "When you resort to licensing language" to restrict this sort of development, he says, it has "nothing to do with technology."

2:49 pm
He says that Apple's restrictiveness is just going to make it "cumbersome" for developers who are trying to make products that work on many devices. They're going to have to have "two workflows" ...  one for Apple devices and one for others.

2:51 pm
Speaking about Mr. Jobs's assertion that Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Mac crashes, Mr. Narayan says if Adobe crashes Apple, that actually has something "to do with the Apple operating system."

2:52 pm
Mr. Narayan calls accusations about Flash draining battery power "patently false." Speaking about Mr. Jobs's letter in general, he says that "for every one of these accusations made there is proprietary lock-in" that prevents Adobe from innovating.

2:53 pm
Mr. Narayan poses a question to Alan Murray, asking him if the Journal would "want to have stovepipes" when it is creating content. Mr. Murray says that certainly "it would be better if you could use one set" of development tools.

2:54 pm
Responding to a question about Mr. Jobs's assertion that Adobe is a closed platform, Mr. Narayan chuckles. "I find it amusing, honestly. Flash is an open specification," he says.

2:55 pm
The Journal wants to know whether Mr. Narayan knows Steve Jobs. "I've met him on a number of occasions," he says.

2:55 pm
"We have different views of the world," Mr. Narayan says. "Our view of the world is multi-platform."

2:56 pm
Does Mr. Narayan use an iPhone? "I have a Google Nexus One device," he says. And what about the iPad? "I think it's a good first-generation device. I think you're going to see just tremendous innovation in terms of tablets." Adobe is, in fact, working with "dozens" of tablet projects with other companies, he says.

2:57 pm
To conclude, Mr. Narayan says he's for "letting customers decide," but that the multi-platform world will "eventually prevail." And the interview wraps up.

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123 Comments

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I think adobe should drop Mac support entirely, lets see what those big graphic design companies will buy to run photoshop on...

Fred Kwok said,
Adobe is the No. 1 cause of Google Chrome crashes! And I should say it is the only cause of my Google Chrome crash!

I doubt that, im using chrome and ive never had it crash on a flash web site...I guess if your looking at porn sites thats a different story.

eviltwigflipper said,

I doubt that, im using chrome and ive never had it crash on a flash web site...I guess if your looking at porn sites thats a different story.

Nops! most of the time, they are Flash Ads. After I have installed FlashBlock, my chrome never crash anymore. May be you don't know. Lots of the Chinese website, there are tones of annoying Flash Ads there. Some even produce annoying sound/voice. Block them all leave me in peace for few months already.

@+evo_spook

I personally don't own an iPhone, because I never saw the point in owning one. I never saw the point in buying a Mac, because you can't upgrade them the same way you can a PC. Now with that said, I also don't like flash in its current state. For example, my wife plays Farmville on facebook, that game lags on my Quad Core CPU with 8 gigs of ram, with a DX 11 card, thats ridiculous. I am personally impressed with the HTML5 specs(specfically the Quake 2 port to HTML 5), but with that said 99.9% of the world is flash.

If anyone here has heard of the Scaleform API, games are starting to integrate flash for User Interface rendering. Flash isnt going away any time soon, I wonder if some of the HTML5 guys are paying Jobs off, or he has some kind of agenda that makes him want to deprecate Flash. Mac's are mostlly used by Artist's because of Mac's initial marketing scheme back in the 90's, if both Adobe and Autodesk and even Pixologic removed Mac support, Mac sales would plumet.

Bottom line deprecating flash, not only blocks out 99.9% of the internet, but also blocks game development studios from using macs as well.

Cashtro said,
Please every1 who are tryin to say HTML5 is better than flash here is a video

Flash vs HTML5

http://vimeo.com/10553088


You are comparing HTML5 Player and Flash Player. Not Flash and HTML5 itself.
Flash Player spends so many years to get itself optimized.
How about the Android HTML5 Player?
You have to understand the logics of how Flash render things and how HTML5 render things. You will see Flash carry lots not unnecessary layer to make things complex. This also cause Flash easily crash. Flash is the No. 1 cause and the only cause of my Google Chrome crash. Why other browser won't crash so often? I believe they just eat whatever exception throw out from Flash or ignore them.

Cashtro said,
Please every1 who are tryin to say HTML5 is better than flash here is a video

Flash vs HTML5

http://vimeo.com/10553088

That's a very true comparison of vector animations. Currently, that's due to no production browser doing hardware acceleration of Canvas (IE9 will have it and Firefox is experimenting with it). Flash has a head start on vector animations: they've been hardware accelerating those for a while.

In OS X, I imagine Canvas and Flash 10.1 (with its support for Core Animation) will perform just about the same once hardware acceleration is in place in Safari.

What I'm waiting to see is how videos fair when not being GPU accelerated on OS X. My iMac doesn't use GPU acceleration through QuickTime X and it won't through Flash 10.1. It'll be interesting to compare 1080p video on both. I have a feeling QuickTime X will come out on top. I've tried the betas of Flash 10.1 and they didn't help at all.

The most amazing thing here is that people actually care this much about Flash. I mean, seriously?
I have never needed Flash on my iPhone or iPod, ever.
Aren't you guys all Silverlight fanboys anyway?

hotdog963al said,
The most amazing thing here is that people actually care this much about Flash. I mean, seriously?
I have never needed Flash on my iPhone or iPod, ever.
Aren't you guys all Silverlight fanboys anyway?

No, they're mostly apple bashers and don't even have a iPhone so reay don't have a reason to be aggrieved.

hotdog963al said,
The most amazing thing here is that people actually care this much about Flash. I mean, seriously?
I have never needed Flash on my iPhone or iPod, ever.
Aren't you guys all Silverlight fanboys anyway?

Then you are missing out on the "full web" lol

hotdog963al said,
The most amazing thing here is that people actually care this much about Flash. I mean, seriously?
I have never needed Flash on my iPhone or iPod, ever.
Aren't you guys all Silverlight fanboys anyway?

See kids, this is also a good example of trolling. This particular specimen decided to make the extra effort of using punctuation, but still managed to completely troll an entire site's community based on generalizations. But fear not! As you can see, he picked out an icon for himself! Clearly he has a strong inner desire to be a part of an internet community, and just really, really wants to stand out, in that playground bully that actually just has a crush on you sort of way.

Joshie said,
See kids, this is also a good example of trolling. This particular specimen decided to make the extra effort of using punctuation, but still managed to completely troll an entire site's community based on generalizations. But fear not! As you can see, he picked out an icon for himself! Clearly he has a strong inner desire to be a part of an internet community, and just really, really wants to stand out, in that playground bully that actually just has a crush on you sort of way.
Oh you.
alfaaqua said,

Then you are missing out on the "full web" lol
I use "Full web" on my computer at home, I don't need "Full web" when I'm out.

Edited by hotdog963al, Apr 30 2010, 12:47pm :

Meh. Adobe isn't the greatest software maker in the world either. They certainly have their flaws they need to fix too. Contrary to popular belief, Adobe's s*** does in fact, stink.

neufuse said,
How long until Apple supports Java on the iPhone/iPad? It's an open format
I think Java falls under the "it sucks" category.

Elliott said,
I think Java falls under the "it sucks" category.

java sucks, flash sucks, office sucks...you know what else sucks, the attitude of apple and its fans towards competing products! thats what sucks...

thealexweb said,
What about Silverlight then?
I don't know. I don't mind Silverlight (it performs just fine), but like Flash, I just don't see the point with the advances in JS, CSS, and HTML.

zagor said,

java sucks, flash sucks, office sucks...you know what else sucks, the attitude of apple and its fans towards competing products! thats what sucks...
I've had to program in Java. It does suck.

Edited by Elliott, Apr 29 2010, 9:36pm :

As he said 'if you want Flash get an Android phone'... So I got an Android phone. HTML5 may be the future, but Flash is here today. I haven't heard Apple banning the proprietary Word format, just cause it was closed source, etc. So, sorry but Jobs still ranks as Mr. Arrogance in my list rather than Mr. Moral High Ground.

Breach said,
As he said 'if you want Flash get an Android phone'... So I got an Android phone. HTML5 may be the future, but Flash is here today. I haven't heard Apple banning the proprietary Word format, just cause it was closed source, etc. So, sorry but Jobs still ranks as Mr. Arrogance in my list rather than Mr. Moral High Ground.
Banning DOC would be a little harder to swallow. Besides, Microsoft moved on to the open DOCX, so...

Elliott said,
Banning DOC would be a little harder to swallow. Besides, Microsoft moved on to the open DOCX, so...

They have, but people haven't. Steve Jobs speaks about HTML5 as if it already has any market penetration, and dismisses Flash as an outright evil for a variety of reasons, some of which valid. If you choose to ignore the world around you, the world around you starts to ignore you. And of course Apple can afford it, though purely economically I think Jobs is starting to lose his marbles.

Ugh, why can't companies focus on what the customers want.

APPLE: Customers want a full web experience. Flash, Silverlight, Java, the whole. Push HTML5, but for goodness sakes don't leave everyone dry while you wait for it to get adopted.
ADOBE: Customers want your plugin to stop offloading so much onto the CPU. My god, it's the age of hardware acceleration and you still make my computer fans roar.

Adobe has got it right: "Adobe's stance on the matter clear--customers will be the ones to decide what technology to use"


From the comments it seems that a lot of people want Apple and Adobe to duke it out (with Adobe winning, naturally) but you're missing the whole point. Apple and Adobe are businesses and they both have one single goal: TO MAKE MONEY. The battle is not between the two companies but to win over the consumer's dollar. And if Adobe knows that they will win. Apple can throw out whatever smokescreens they want and they can control their devices however they want. If they win over customers with that approach then good for them. But if they don't then their competitors are more than happy to step in and swoop them up.

I really wish Flash would die. It has caused more issues for our latest software release than anything else. I hope Adobe transfroms it into an open standard, so it can be improved rapidly, or just go away.

Can't wait for Flash on Android to see how performance, battery life and usability is affected. Hope Adobe manages to prove Apple wrong.

al1uk said,
Can't wait for Flash on Android to see how performance, battery life and usability is affected. Hope Adobe manages to prove Apple wrong.
If they ever release it.

al1uk said,
Can't wait for Flash on Android to see how performance, battery life and usability is affected. Hope Adobe manages to prove Apple wrong.

It runs ok on my HTC Desire (Flash Lite), not going to break any speed records but videos manage fine and the battery doesn't seem to drain any faster, at lease not at a level I can detect.

You can't have imagined that Steve's post wouldn't have provoked a very visible backlash from Adobe. Seriously, who's Apple's P.R. firm? They should lose the account.

esaleris said,
You can't have imagined that Steve's post wouldn't have provoked a very visible backlash from Adobe. Seriously, who's Apple's P.R. firm? They should lose the account.

Same as their advertising I'd guess. Someone there is like, "everyone likes the bully."

esaleris said,
You can't have imagined that Steve's post wouldn't have provoked a very visible backlash from Adobe. Seriously, who's Apple's P.R. firm? They should lose the account.

I'd imagine Apple's PR department pulls their hair out every time Jobs posts one of these letters. I seriously doubt anyone at Apple tells Steve he can't do something, or that it needs to be "polished" before release.

""I find it amusing, honestly. Flash is an open specification," he says."

So how's Gnash coming along these days then?

Mike Brown said,
""I find it amusing, honestly. Flash is an open specification," he says."

So how's Gnash coming along these days then?

Isn't Gnash coming along well?

Didn't they release a stable version like a few months ago?

Edited by Haegr, Apr 29 2010, 7:34pm :

Mike Brown said,
""I find it amusing, honestly. Flash is an open specification," he says."

So how's Gnash coming along these days then?

It's open...if you can reverse engineer it.

Edited by Elliott, Apr 29 2010, 8:33pm :

TechDudeGeorge said,
Drop the Mac Support. More people will realize wtf they bought and go get a decent PC.

I wanted a decent PC which is why I bought an iMac.

Edited by MarenLBC, Apr 29 2010, 8:40pm :

MarenLBC said,

I wanted a decent PC which is why I bought an iMac.

If only you realised what you could have gotten for the price of that iMac.

Haegr said,

If only you realised what you could have gotten for the price of that iMac.

Actually, iMacs are quite competitively priced (or at least were when the new generation came out; not sure about now). When I was buying my 27" Core i5 iMac, I specced out a similar Dell machine just for kicks. Turned out the Dell offering, which was a fairly large tower + a 30" monitor with almost the same resolution (2560x1600 vs. 2560x1440) as my iMac, was more expensive at the time. Go figure.

Edited by Elliott, Apr 29 2010, 8:31pm :

MarenLBC said,

I wanted a decent PC which is why I bought an iMac.

and was sadly disappointed lmfao

They can't just drop support. They generate too much revenue from Apple. I would say drop the flash support but then that would hurt them too because of the adoption rate skyrocketing for HTML5, etc. So yeah, they're trapped at the moment. They'll just jump on the bandwagon of the other devices that'll launch later this year with Windows or Android, etc and again work to convince people that they don't want or need the iProducts to have that "full web" experience. We don't have to ditch Flash because Steve doesn't like it. We can have both at the same time here and everything will eventually cool down and we'll just have options for both.

zagor said,
Funny how apple has no friends left in the industry... First microsoft then google and now adobe...
I'd say their relationship with Microsoft is actually growing. But you're right, they're burning a lot of bridges here.

Apple computers is for fruitcakes...'nough said. And Steve Jobs is the king of the fruitcakes.
Every time I use that stupid HTML5 my YouTube video becomes all laggy. Not smooth at all.

max84 said,
Apple computers is for fruitcakes...'nough said. And Steve Jobs is the king of the fruitcakes.
Every time I use that stupid HTML5 my YouTube video becomes all laggy. Not smooth at all.

I've noticed the same thing a lot of times.

max84 said,
Apple computers is for fruitcakes...'nough said. And Steve Jobs is the king of the fruitcakes.
Every time I use that stupid HTML5 my YouTube video becomes all laggy. Not smooth at all.
No problems here, must be something wrong with your machine

hotdog963al said,
No problems here, must be something wrong with your machine

Well, it doesn't bother me. I'll just continue using Flash.

hotdog963al said,
No problems here, must be something wrong with your machine

Ive noticed it too. 3 people saying HTML5 (currently) sucks and 1 person saying no problems (which I find hard to believe)

alfaaqua said,

Ive noticed it too. 3 people saying HTML5 (currently) sucks and 1 person saying no problems (which I find hard to believe)
I don't have any problems in Safari on OS X. Safari for Windows and Chrome haven't adopted hardware acceleration for H.264 yet (AFAIK), however, so that might be why you're experiencing hiccups (depends on your system). IE9 will have it, and I'm sure Chrome will have it soon as well.

Works fine here, consumes 2x less resources than the Flash YouTube Player.
But sometimes I see no video and just a black screen with glitchy sounds. Is that YouTube's fault? Or webkit? Or what? I doubt it's the fault of HTML5...

craybox said,
lets see if these comments can keep to the constructive level of Apples responce....
Judging by the comment directly below yours... nope.

craybox said,
lets see if these comments can keep to the constructive level of Apples responce....

Apple may drop using Flash in their Macs...

Dead'Soul said,

Apple may drop using Flash in their Macs...

this may be true. I have herd rumours that there bringing a app store concept to the mac. (and the wall garden expands). if so, that will be the death of mac. I think Steve has gone mad with smugness, and if he controls the mac like the iPhone. can you imagine it? "I SAY no porn, flash, java, windows or linux. if you download, install or go on sites related to the listed content, your mac will be bricked.

all applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the OSX WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited

Simon said,
Judging by the comment directly below yours... nope.

You realize by posting this yours has become the comment directly below his, right?

Silverskull said,

You realize by posting this yours has become the comment directly below his, right?
Well if you're picky, sure, haha.

techbeck said,
Steve Jobs and Shantanu Narayen need to get in a ring and fight it out.

Want to know Steve's weak spot? Liver shot.


I imagine i will get flamed for this.

Edited by Tharp Daddy, Apr 29 2010, 7:29pm :

techbeck said,
Steve Jobs and Shantanu Narayen need to get in a ring and fight it out.

Haha.. I agree. Settle their differences in the ring. I'm tired of all the **** talk.

Ruran said,

Want to know Steve's weak spot? Liver shot.


I imagine i will get flamed for this.


Is that more or less powerful than Kidney Shot?