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21.11.10

After months of playing nice, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen made it clear that his company is in a "war" with Apple over developers.

Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit, the Adobe CEO did say that the issues were being overblown by the press but he admitted that there has been friction between the companies. Apple, as you know, does not allow Adobe Flash on its iPhone, iPod touch or iPad because it says the technology isn't suited for these types of devices. In an unusual move, Apple CEO Steve Jobs even penned a public letter ripping into Adobe Flash and saying why it's wrong for the iPhone.

"Apple would like to keep things closed and proprietary," Narayen said. "We want to help them express their creativity."

Adobe has managed to get Flash on the iPhone but only in back-channel ways. The iPhone browser Skyfire will convert Flash videos for Apple iOS products but this isn't necessarily an optimal experience because it can only handle videos and not other content like games.

Adobe created a Flash converter which brought this type of content to the iPhone via apps but this was quickly banned. Adobe then filed a complaint to the FTC, Apple relented and now developers familiar with Adobe tools can still create iOS apps with familiar languages.

Apple will continue to push its own tools and the HTML5 standard. While some could argue that Apple is pushing this because of Jobs' obsession with control but the company argues that having to rely on third-party tools can lead to poor experiences for the end user.

Adobe will also be leaning heavily on Android, as it already has usable Flash Players on devices and it is updating its AIR runtime for the little, green robot. AIR could lead to full-fledged apps that land in the Android Market and this could be attractive to multiple developers.

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