Jobs: "Flash Lite"? More Like "Flash in the Pan"
Our relationship with Apple is like a relationship in any marriage, good or bad. It’s an important relationship for both of us to maintain and make stronger, knowing that there are differences.”
—Former Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen, Sept. 2003
The iPhone doesn’t support Flash and according to Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs it’s not going to anytime soon.
In remarks during the company’s annual shareholder meeting yesterday, Jobs said Flash Lite, the mobile version of Adobe’s (ADBE) popular Flash Media Player, simply isn’t good enough for the iPhone. The device needs something more robust, but not so much so that it compromises its performance. Apparently, Flash Lite is insufficient, and the standard Flash player runs too slowly on the iPhone’s processor. Flash “performs too slow to be useful,” Jobs said. And Flash Lite “is not capable of being used with the Web. … There’s this missing product in the middle.”
“Too slow to be useful.” “Not capable of being used on the Web.” That’s a disparaging way of describing the products of a partner with whom you’ve had strained relations over the years, isn’t it. Certainly, it’s not the most diplomatic. But then Jobs isn’t exactly renowned for his diplomacy. As a recent profile of him Fortune explains, “Jobs himself judges the world in binary terms. Products, in his view, are ‘insanely great’ or ’shit.’ … Subordinates are geniuses or ‘bozos,’ indispensable or no longer relevant. People in his orbit regularly flip, at a second’s notice, from one category to another, in what early Apple colleagues came to call his ‘hero-shithead roller coaster.’”
So why take such a pot shot at Adobe in a public forum like this? Is Jobs telling the company to get its act together and develop an iPhone-specific Flash player, or is he suggesting that Apple itself might develop that “missing product in the middle”? Hmm. Perhaps it already has.