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Adobe CEO dismisses Steve Jobs' comments on Flash as a 'smokescreen'


Responding to a public letter issued Thursday by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said he believes that any crashes of Flash in Mac OS X are not related to his software, but instead are the fault of "the Apple operating system."

Narayen spoke exclusively with The Wall Street Journal Thursday afternoon after Jobs' letter, entitled "Thoughts on Flash," was posted on Apple's website. The Adobe CEO said he believes that multi-platform options like Flash will "eventually prevail," because they allow developers to write software that can be used on a number of devices, rather than being tied to Apple's iPhone OS ecosystem through the App Store.

"We have different views of the world," Narayan reportedly said of Adobe and Apple. "Our view of the world is multi-platform."

The CEO also disagreed with Jobs' claim that Flash is the No. 1 cause of crashes on the Mac, suggesting that the issues are instead related to Mac OS X. He also said claims about Flash draining battery life of mobile devices were "patently false."

Narayen dismissed Jobs' stated problems with the technology behind Flash as a "smokescreen." He said that more than 100 applications currently available on the App Store were made using Adobe's porting software, to be publicly released with the forthcoming Creative Suite 5. Apple banned the use of intermediary development tools when it modified its developers agreement for iPhone OS 4. Adobe has since abandoned development of that feature.

Thursday morning, Apple posted a lengthy letter from Jobs, in which the company co-founder suggested Flash was a lingering relic from a dying era. Jobs said that though the Web format was created for the PC, it "falls short" in the mobile era, dominated by low-power devices, touchscreen interfaces and open Web standards.

Jobs accused Flash of being closed and proprietary to Adobe. Narayen, again, disagreed with Jobs, calling his comments "amusing" and stating that Flash is an "open specification."

The Adobe executive said he believe's Adobe's cross-platform stance is more beneficial to businesses and developers, allowing to make their software available on a range of devices rather than deciding on just one. "It doesn't benefit Apple, and that's why you see this reaction," he said.