Adobe backtracks on Flash for iPhone

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Macworld UK. Visit Macworld U.K.’s blog page for the latest Mac news from across the Atlantic.

Adobe has poured cold water on its previous claims that it will bring Flash support to the iPhone.

Company CEO Shantanu Narayen made the claims when speaking to investors during Adobe’s first quarter financial announcement on Tuesday. He indicated that now Apple has introduced the iPhone Software Development Kit, Adobe will develop Flash for the iPhone.

“We believe Flash is synonymous with the internet experience, and we are committed to bringing Flash to the iPhone,” Narayen said. “We have evaluated [the software developer tools] and we think we can develop an iPhone Flash player ourselves.”

In a follow-up statement, Adobe then warned that this isn’t the whole story, pointing out that Apple will need to be involved to bring the software to the device.

“However, to bring the full capabilities of Flash to the iPhone Web-browsing experience, we do need to work with Apple beyond and above what is available through the SDK and the current license around it,” the company said.

“We think Flash availability on the iPhone benefits Apple and Adobe’s millions of joint customers, so we want to work with Apple to bring these capabilities to the device.”

The latest comment casts some doubt on whether Adobe is in the process of building such a player.

The lack of Flash support for the iPhone has been a noticeable gap since the phone debuted last June, especially in light of Flash’s ubiquity on the Web. While Apple has acknowledged the absence of Flash support, the company has suggested that Flash is not suited for its mobile phone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said as much during the company’s annual meeting earlier this month, telling shareholders that the digital media player ran too slowly on the iPhone.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it licensed Adobe Flash Lite, the Flash Player runtime for mobile devices. The move was seen in some quarters as giving a boost not only to Adobe’s hopes of getting Flash Lite installed on a billion phones by 2010 but also to the Windows Mobile platform.

Macworld.com staff contributed to this report.

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