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Jobs: Lack of Flash support is not a "business driven" decision

Inclusion would result in sub-standard apps and hinder progress, says Apple boss

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has explained in detail his company's reasons for not supporting Adobe's Flash technology on any of its mobile platforms.

In a long open letter published on the Apple website Jobs began by emphasising that the decision not to support Flash on iPods, iPhones or iPads was not "primarily business driven".

He rejected suggestions that Apple was simply attempting to protect its App Store from competition and said that the decision was solely based on technology issues.

Jobs argued that Adobe's claims that Flash was an open technology and that Apple operate a closed system were untrue and that the reverse was in fact truer.

Rather than using Flash, Jobs suggested that open technologies such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript were more suitable for Apple products and that new formats such as H.264 were already available as alternatives to most Flash video content.

Jobs, who is often characterised as having little interest in the videogames industry, admitted that Apple users were being denied access to over 50,000 Flash games. However, he pointed to the success of the App Store as an offset to this loss.

Jobs went on to cite concerns over reliability, security and performance; as well as battery life and unsuitability for touchscreen control, but stated that the most important issue was developers using Flash to create apps on Apple's mobile devices.

"We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform," said Jobs.

Ultimately he dismissed it as being created "during the PC era - for PCs and mice."

"The mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards", he added. "All areas where Flash falls short."

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David Jenkins