Adobe bites its tongue after iPhone Flash jab

Steve Jobs didn't mince words about what he thought of Adobe's Flash technology on the iPhone. Such is life among business "partners."

Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper

Was Steve Jobs trying to send an unofficial message to Adobe Systems? Something on the order of "get it in gear, guys, if you want to stay on my VIP list"?

As my colleague Tom Krazit reported Tuesday afternoon, Jobs used the Apple shareholders' meeting to publicly dismiss the the full-blown PC Flash version as "too slow to be useful" on the iPhone. He then went on to describe the mobile version--Flash Lite--as "not capable of being used with the Web."

That's an unusual--albeit refreshingly frank--way to talk in public about a business partner. Give Jobs credit for speaking his mind, although I very much doubt Adobe appreciated his candor.

I tried to get a comment from Adobe, which has worked closely with Apple over the years. Will Flash be supported on the iPhone or not? Here's the official non-response, response to my query:

""Flash and Flash Lite are a huge success. All major handset manufacturers worldwide license Flash today delivering a broad range of mobile devices ranging from feature phones to smartphones and consumer electronic devices. With more than 450 million Flash-enabled mobile devices shipped worldwide and 150 percent year-over-year growth we are on track to see 1 billion Flash enabled devices by 2010. Consumers demand a rich Web experience on any device and platform and Flash delivers just that. We look forward to our continued relationship with industry leaders to deliver engaging experiences to consumers worldwide."

Thin gruel. Hopefully, I can get a fuller answer later on.