Former Adobe engineers say Adobe executives ignored the growing influence of the iPhone

Fri, Apr 30, 2010


Steve Jobs’ letter on Flash elicited a strong response from Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, who in a video interview with the WSJ yesterday, attempted to rebuke many of the complaints, both technical and otherwise, listed by Jobs.

Now, two former Adobe mobile engineers are speaking up and are laying the blame for Adobe’s Flash woes on company executives.

Carlos Icaza and Walter Luh both used to work for Adobe as mobile engineers, and they recently told Wired that Adobe for the longest time ignored the growing influence of the iPhone.

Walter and I, being the lead architects for Flash Lite, we were seeing the iPhone touch devices coming out, and we kept saying ‘Hey, this is coming along,’” Icaza said in a phone interview. “You have this white elephant that everybody ignored. Half the [Adobe] mobile business unit was carrying iPhones, and yet the management team wasn’t doing anything about it.”

Icaza and Luh eventually left Adobe because they say company executive refused to devote the requisite resources towards making Flash a veritable mobile force on smartphone devices. Instead, Icaza and Luh claim that Adobe focused their efforts on the development of Flash Lite for non-smartphone devices.

In the end, though, the backstory doesn’t much matter. Apple’s moving forward with the iPhone OS platform and leaving Flash behind, and there ain’t nothing Adobe can do about it.



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