Steve Jobs today published an open letter on Apple’s website with some thoughts on Flash and why Apple has resisted the Internet’s generally accepted standard for viewing video on the Web.
“I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads,” Jobs wrote.
As for Apple products missing the majority of the “full Web,” as Adobe claims, Jobs is dismissive. “What they don’t say is that almost all this video is also available in a more modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads,” he writes, adding that the fact that Apple products can’t run Flash games is irrelevant due to the company’s abundantly-stocked App Store.
Jobs lambasts security and performance issues related to Flash, the platform’s inability to work smoothly with a touch interface, as well as the drain on battery life.
But key to Jobs’ point, and the reason he marks as “the most important reason” for banning Flash is Adobe is urging developers to create apps on Flash for Apple devices.
“We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features,” Jobs wrote, adding that Apple cannot be “at the mercy of a third party” deciding if and when they will make Apple’s enhancements available to Apple developers.
Jobs closes the letter with some advice for Adobe. “Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind,” he wrote.
The letter comes as Apple has recently changed its developer agreement to block all apps written on third-party applications from being ported to its devices.
Adobe could not be immediately reached for comment.