Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen recently sat down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss Steve Jobs's comments about Flash. I was shocked by what Narayen had to say and the spin was a little annoying.
According to Narayen, Adobe is "producing the world's best content," interesting considering Flash only supports a dozen or so languages. With more than 200 spoken languages world-wide, I'm not sure how Adobe can claim world domination. But then again, they also claim that "99% of Internet users have Flash," even though that's not what you'll find in web analytics. These results are probably because Adobe's survey only looks at PC users and PCs often come with Flash installed. In addition, the survey only focuses on 4,500 users in 13 countries and U.S. users are represented nearly two to one. These numbers are available at http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/methodology so, please have a look for yourself before emailing.
According to Narayen, important Flash security issues are nothing more than a "smoke screen" but, according to SANS "Adobe Flash has similar problems with the applications of its updates (TH) there are four Flash vulnerabilities in our Top 30 list that date back as far as 2007." I'm not sure how you can claim customers are important but not address issues like these.
Narayen even claims that there are no performance issues with Flash and that Flash works fine on mobile devices. Adobe's recent report to the SEC indicates the opposite, “To the extent new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed.” My favorite part of the interview is where Narayen claims Flash isn't 100% proprietary and goes on to either confuse software specifications with web standards or TOTALLY spin out of answering the question being asked. If you've ever waited for Flash to load or been told you needed Flash to view Flash content, you know there are performance issues and that Flash is proprietary.
Narayen himself actually said, "We've evaluated the SDK. We can now start to develop the Flash player ourselves…" referring to the iPhone SDK and Flash for iPhone but, now for some reason it's all Apple's fault? To be clear, I think Adobe is a great company, I've used their products on my Mac for over a decade now. That said, I commend Steve Jobs for having cajones, not drinking Adobe's Kool-Aid, keeping them honest and his long overdue feedback.