Apple's Steve Jobs Publicly Criticizes Adobe Flash

The war of words between Apple and Adobe, maker of the popular Flash video technology, is escalating. Apple CEO Steve Jobs posted a lengthy explanation of his company's decision not to support flash on its mobile devices. Adobe's CEO shot back, calling the comments made by Jobs an "extraordinary attack" on his company.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Now, in a rare move, Steve Jobs published a letter attacking another technology company. The target of his wrath was Adobe, which makes Flash animation software. Flash is what animates most of the Web. But Apple has refused to put the software on its iPhone and iPad.

NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

LAURA SYDELL: If you're a Rihanna fan and you go to her MySpace page on your computer, this is what you hear.

(Soundbite of song, "Rude Boy")

RIHANNA (Singer): (Singing) Tonight, I'm a let you be the captain.

SYDELL: But if go the site with your iPad or your iPhone, you hear nothing. That's because these devices don't use Flash. According to Adobe, which makes Flash, about 75 percent of all video on the Web is Flash-based. YouTube works on iPhones and iPads because they have designed non-Flash apps.

A lot of consumers and various corporations have complained to Apple about the lack of Flash. Yesterday, in a harshly worded letter, Steve Jobs lashed out at the technology. He claimed it sucked battery life, caused devices to crash and was too oriented to the personal computer to work on mobile devices.

Jeff Hammond, an analyst at Forrester Research, says for the moment, Apple is the bright star of the mobile market. But its refusal to use Flash may eventually give an edge to competition for mobile devices that use Windows software or Google's Android.

Mr. JEFF HAMMOND (Analyst, Forrester Research): Developers will run to the platforms that are the most open, that give them the most choice, the most flexibility, the most capacity to innovate.

SEABROOK: In a recent statement, Adobe said it was committed to bringing Flash to any platform with a screen.

Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

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