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Adobe's CEO: Jobs' Flash letter is a 'smokescreen' for 'cumbersome' restrictions (update: video)

Nilay Patel
04.29.10
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There's no official transcript yet, but the Wall Street Journal just live-blogged an interview with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, in which he responded to the Steve Jobs "Thoughts on Flash" letter posted this morning. Substantively, Narayen didn't offer much we haven't heard Adobe say before, but his frustration with Apple is palpable even in summary form: he called Jobs' points a "smokescreen," said Flash is an "open specification," and further said Apple's restrictions are "cumbersome" to developers and have "nothing to do with technology." What's more, he also said Jobs' claims about Flash affecting battery life are "patently false," and suggested that any Flash-related crashes on OS X have more to do with Apple's operating system than Adobe's software.

Perhaps most importantly, Narayen reiterated that Adobe is fundamentally about making it easier for devs to write multiplatform tools -- a stance Jobs specifically took issue with in his letter, saying multiplatform tools lead to bad user experiences. Apple and Adobe and the rest of us can argue about battery life and performance all night, but that's clearly the central philosophical difference between these two companies, and we doubt it's ever going to change. That is, unless Adobe absolutely kills it with Flash 10.1 on Android 2.2 -- and given our experiences with Flash on smartphones and netbooks thus far, we'll be honest when we say that's going to be a major challenge. We'll link over to the full transcript when it goes up, but for now, hit the source link for the liveblog.

Update: We've now embedded video of the interview for you after the break. Much better than a transcript, don't you think?


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