Apple CEO Steve Jobs has released an open letter entitled “Thoughts on Flash” wherein he attempts to answer some of the questions surrounding the company’s stance regarding Adobe’s Flash platform. Specifically, Apple’s relationship with Adobe and why Apple has not allowed Flash on iPhone OS devices. I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts […]
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Steve Jobs Gives his 'Thoughts on Flash'

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has released an open letter entitled “Thoughts on Flash” wherein he attempts to answer some of the questions surrounding the company’s stance regarding Adobe’s Flash platform. Specifically, Apple’s relationship with Adobe and why Apple has not allowed Flash on iPhone OS devices.

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber points out the following paragraphs as key to Jobs’ argument.
From the letter on why Apple can’t include Flash on the iPhone:

We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it. Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we’re glad we didn’t hold our breath. Who knows how it will perform?

Gruber then points to another paragraph that points out why Apple will not include Flash even if they could:

We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

MacRumors further outlines the six points made in Jobs’ letter, you can find them here.

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