Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen responds to Jobs’ critique

Fri, Apr 30, 2010


Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, who actually began his career at Apple, speaks with Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal to discuss many of the issues raised in Steve Jobs’ letter about Flash. If you watch the video below and are up for a little bit of fun, here’s a quick and dirty drinking game – pound a beer each time Narayen says that Adobe is “staying true to our vision.” You can thank me later.

But in case you don’t have 14 minutes to kill and aren’t up for slamming over 8 beers in less than 30 minutes, here are some of the highlights:

The technology aspects of this article are really a smokescreen. We demonstrated that through Adobe tools you can actually build content and applications and over 100 apps were accepted on the [iTunes] store.¬†When you resort to licensing language, it’s clear it has nothing to do with technology.

Regarding Jobs’ statement that Flash is a security nightmare, and that it’s the number one culprit for system crashes on the Mac:

All of the so called allegations are a smokescreen agasint the real issue. If Flash is the number one reason that Macs crash, it has as much to do with the Apple’s OS… So we run on windows, we have 8 million copies of Flash downloaded a day… and so again, the technology is not the real issue.

Regarding Jobs’ claim that Flash on mobile devices drains battery life:

I will say that it’s 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. And so, for every one of the allegations made, there is proprietary lock-in in which prevents us from delivering the kind of innovation that customers want.

When asked about Jobs’ assertion that Adobe products are closed and 100% proprietary, Narayen responded that he found it asmusing, and pointed out that “Flash is an open specification.. It’s a published specification… Open systems always triumph.” Narayen also said that Adobe’s upcoming Flash player refutes all of Jobs’ points.

When Murray brought Jobs’ point that Flash hasn’t yet been proven to run well on mobile devices, Narayen said that that determination should ultimately be made by consumers. “If technology doesn’t work,” Narayen explained, “consumers won’t pick it.”


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