Apple’s Jobs: Why Flash Will Never Be on the iPhone

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In an open letter this week on Apple’s Web site, Steve Jobs outlined several reasons why Adobe Flash, the multimedia platform, won’t be a part of his company’s mobile plans going forward, something for which the Apple CEO has been sharply criticized.

The biggest reason, Jobs writes, is that Flash is not the future of the mobile Web. “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short,” the letter says.

Other reasons include:

  • Openness: Jobs says despite accusations that Apple runs a closed system, it’s actually Adobe that is closed because Flash products “are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe ... thought the operating system for the iPhone, iPod and iPad is proprietary, we strongly believe that all standards pertaining to the Web should be open.” Apple has chosen to adopt HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, which are all open standards.
  • Full Web Access Claims: Jobs writes, “Adobe has repeatedly said that Apple mobile devices cannot access “the full web” because 75 [percent] of video on the Web is in Flash. What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads.”
  • Security: Jobs has concerns about Flash security, citing a study from Symantec that said Flash has one of the worst security records in 2009. “We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash,” he wrote.

Jobs hopes there are no hard feelings with Adobe. He says the two companies have worked together for a long time, citing Apple’s part-ownership of Adobe years ago. They’ve just grown apart, with different interests.

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