Steve Jobs writes:
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. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues.
So their decision is based on “technology”? Jobs then lists the issues with Flash on mobile devices. Three of them are technology reasons including (i) reliability, security and performance; (ii) battery life and (iii) touch. But the others are (i) that Flash is closed and proprietary; (ii) that consumers don’t need the ‘full web’ and (iii) that it introduces another layer of technology that is cross-platform. None of those seems technology based.
First, Apple prefers the stuff it doesn’t control to be open. Join the club. But there is nothing special about the web. You have to acknowledge that there are a ton of people who would like that of operating systems too.
Second, consumers can apparently do lots of things on their iPhones and don’t need the Flash ones. OK. Good for the iPhone. But for anyone who has used one, it would be nice not to get the little blue lego bricks. So this is a cost to Apple in terms of reduced demand and customer satisfaction that it trades off because of the other technology issues so that most of its consumers, whether they know it or not, prefer it that way. But that is a business decision. If that wasn’t the case, Apple would make a different choice.
Finally, because Flash is cross-platform that means that it will operate at a lowest common denominator. Apple want to be able to make its mobile devices upgrade at its own pace but to allow Flash might hamper that if Adobe doesn’t play ball. This is an issue because Apple doesn’t own Adobe and so can’t control it. So Apple has traded off a short-term loss (not giving developers an easy port) with a potential long-term gain (being free of Adobe). Again, that is a business decision, not a technology one. If the business conditions were different, holding constant the technology, the decision would be different.
If Steve Jobs wants to explain what he is doing he shouldn’t dress it up this way but assert his (a) opinion to do what he thinks is best and (b) his right given that he has no market power to do that. End of story.