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4/29/2010
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Apple CEO Explains Flash Ban

Steve Jobs cites security, poor performance and no support for touch-based interfaces as problems with Adobe's cross-platform browser plug-in.




iPad teardown shot via FCC.
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, defending the company's controversial decision to keep Flash off the iPhone and iPad, says the Adobe technology for playing multimedia is a relic of the PC era that offers only technical headaches for mobile device makers.

In a rare open letter posted Thursday on Apple's Web site, Jobs took on critics, and Adobe, by citing the problems he sees with Flash, including security, poor performance and no support for touch-based interfaces.

"Flash was created during the PC era -- for PCs and mice," Jobs said. "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."

Jobs' letter marks a major offensive against Adobe, which has said that Apple's Flash ban reflects a "disturbing trend where Apple is starting to inhibit broad categories of innovation on their platforms." Apple's motivation, according to Adobe, is purely business: The computer maker wants "closed" systems where developers pay an "Apple Tax" to offer software for its devices through the company's online App Store.

However, Jobs said "technology issues," many of which Adobe has already refuted, were the real reasons behind Apple's decision.

Among the issues listed was security. Quoting security vendor Symantec, Jobs said Flash had "one of the worst security records in 2009."

"We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash," Jobs said, referring to the company's desktop and laptop computers. "We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now. We don’t want to reduce the reliability and security of our iPhones, iPods, and iPads by adding Flash."

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