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Adobe exec defends Flash, says Mac improvements are coming

An Adobe executive this week defended Flash against rumored comments from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and also said performance improvements for the scrutinized, embattled Web platform are coming to the Mac.

Kevin Lynch, CTO with Adobe, spoke with Kara Swisher of BoomTown, and right off the bat he addressed comments rumored to have been said by Jobs. Earlier this month, numerous reports stated Jobs spoke with Apple employees at a company meeting, during which he allegedly said Adobe was "lazy," and most Mac crashes are due to Flash.

Swisher jokingly asked Lynch if he was lazy, and the Adobe official said he and his team work very hard on their company's product.

"It feels pretty busy around here, so I'm not sure what that's about," Lynch said. "And that's a rumor. I haven't heard that necessarily he did say that. But maybe he did, whatever."

He went on to say that regardless of whether Jobs said anything disparaging about Adobe, he and the company are receptive to public criticism. He said they are working to improve the Flash experience for users.

"We're totally open to hearing feedback like that," Lynch said. "And that's one of the really important things to do in a situation like this, when people are complaining about something — not going into internal mode, or whatever, (but) really listening to what people are saying. We do that with our customers, we do that with our critics, and often there are kernels in there that we ought to do something about, and so we are."

He then revealed that Adobe is working to improve the performance of Flash on the Mac. Currently, he admitted, video renders are more processor intensive on Apple's hardware than they are on Windows machines.

Lynch also made note of Adobe's forthcoming Creative Suite 5 for Mac, which he said is "just terrific." Earlier this week, AppleInsider offered an exclusive look at the software, which will include a 64-bit version of Photoshop.

"We work with Apple all of the time," Lynch said. "We're one of the biggest Macintosh software makers around."

Apple and Adobe have had a high-profile dispute over the use of Flash on the Web since the iPhone debuted in 2007 without support for the Web format. Apple has famously shunned Flash, with the Web plugin having no support in the iPhone or iPod touch Safari browser.

Lynch said that 19 of the top 20 smartphone makers (Apple being the only one absent) have signed on to the company's Open Screen Project and its push for Flash on mobile devices. He also said that 85 percent of the top Web sites on the Internet feature Flash content.

"You can get a great experience with Flash on a smartphone," he said.

But Flash's spotty performance history on the Mac platform and processor-intensive requirements have led Apple to support alternatives such as HTML5. The Cupertino, Calif., company has even encouraged developers to "stick with standards" and use CSS, JavaScript and Ajax instead of Adobe Flash.

Lynch told Swisher that Adobe is supportive of the progression of HTML, including HTML5. This week it was said that an Adobe official was attempting to hold up advancement of the HTML5 spec, though those claims were later disputed.

"I know that there are certainly some who are working on HTML5 who are out to kill Flash," Lynch said, adding that he doesn't see the push for HTML5 as a move to "kill" Flash.

"If Flash stayed stagnant, it would certainly go away," he said. "But it's not going to stay stagnant. We're going to keep innovating."