Factbox: Adobe vs Apple on Flash technology

Wed Nov 9, 2011 8:31pm GMT

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(Reuters) - Here is a timeline of the battle between consumer technology giant Apple Inc and software company Adobe Systems over the latter's Flash technology, which is widely used to view videos and play games on the Internet.

January 2007 - Apple unveils its blockbuster iPhone with a browser that was not compatible with Adobe's Flash player, dealing a blow to the software maker.

June 2008 - Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said the company was making internal progress on getting Flash to work on the iPhone but cautioned it was still in test phase.

Jan 2010: Apple unveils iPad tablet, which also doesn't run Flash software in browsers, and the company effectively asks developers not to work with Flash.

April 2010: Flash "platform evangelist" Lee Brimelow writes a blog post supporting Flash that ends with the words "Go screw yourself Apple."

April 2010: Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs posts a blog on the company's website simply titled "Thoughts on Flash" where he criticizes the technology as unreliable, ill-suited for mobile devices, and for being a buggy battery hog.

"We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device for a few years now. We have never seen it," he said in the unusual and nearly 1,700-word manifesto.

"Adobe publicly said that Flash would ship on a smartphone in early 2009, then the second half of 2009, then the first half of 2010, and now they say the second half of 2010. We think it will eventually ship, but we're glad we didn't hold our breath."

Jobs said the company prefers open standards for the Web and favors technologies such HTML5 for creating multimedia programs.

April 2010: Adobe Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen calls the technology problems noted by Jobs "a smokescreen," labels Jobs' letter an "extraordinary attack."

June 2010: Jobs snipes again at the "waning" Flash technology at the annual All Things Digital conference. "We didn't start off to have a war with Flash or anything else. We just made a technical decision," he said.

Sept 2010: Bowing to pressure from app developers, Apple eases restrictions for building iPhone and iPad applications, a move that allowed for the use of Flash software.

Adobe responds by saying it was "encouraged to see Apple lifting its restrictions on its licensing terms, giving developers the freedom to choose what tools they use to develop applications for Apple devices."

Oct 2010: Apple says will no longer ship Mac computers with Adobe's Flash player pre-installed but the decision does not ban Flash software from its computers.

Nov 2011: Adobe says it is halting development of its Flash Player for mobile browsers and conceded that HTML5 has become the preferred standard for creating mobile browser content. Adobe plans to infuse HTML5 technology across its entire product line over the coming years.