Adobe, the software company, began a nationwide, multi-Web site advertising campaign on Thursday criticizing Apple’s refusal to allow the Adobe multimedia Flash software on the iPhone and iPad.
The advertisements, on the Web and in print newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, state, “We ♥ Apple” in large, bold lettering. In addition to Apple, the company lists other things it loves including creativity, innovation, apps, the Web, Flash and its developers.
The list then concludes with the statement: “What we don’t love is anybody taking away your freedom to choose what you create, how you create it and what you experience on the Web.”
Shantanu Narayen, Adobe’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview that the campaign was not meant to attack Apple. Instead, he said, the company wanted to explain its position on open standards and the future of mobile computing.
“We’re just making our views really clear on how we think this is evolving,” Mr. Narayen said. “It’s about stating our position. We want our customers and partners to really understand where we are coming from.”
In response to a request for comment on the advertisements. Katie Cotton, a spokeswoman for Apple, said in an e-mail message, “We believe in open Web standards too, like HTML5.” She continued: “Flash is not an open web standard like HTML. It is a proprietary Adobe product. Just ask the W3 consortium that controls Web standards – they have chosen HTML5 as the open Web standard to move forward with.”
Chuck Geschke, an Adobe founder and chairman of the board, said in a telephone interview that Apple’s stance on his company’s software was not tied to open standards or Flash’s performance on the iPhone. Instead, he said, this is “an effort by Steve Jobs to control” the iPhone’s operating system and marketplace. “He’s just using this as an excuse to be able to control his platform,” Mr. Jobs is Apple’s chief executive.
In an effort to show how connected the two companies are, Mr. Geschke talked about Adobe and Apple’s relationship, which, he said, went back several decades, when Apple first invested in Adobe’s printing software for use on early Macintosh computers.
“The Apple contact was critical to our initial success, but we were also critical to Apple’s success,” Mr. Geschke said. “Now the ball is in Steve’s court,” he said. “If he wants to let us provide software that runs on his devices, we’d be happy to do it.”
On Thursday, Adobe also launched Choice, a Web site accompanying the ads that includes a letter from Mr. Geschke and the company’s other founder, John Warnock.
The site also includes a response from Adobe to a letter that Mr. Jobs wrote last month on apple.com, explaining his reasoning for not allowing Flash on Apple’s mobile products. In Mr. Jobs’s letter, he lists several gripes with the Flash platform, including that it is too proprietary, unreliable and not secure, and that its performance drains battery life.
In Adobe’s response, “The Truth About Flash,” it says it hopes to set “the record straight” about Mr. Jobs’s comments, and disputes almost everything in Mr. Jobs’s letter.
The graphic below compares some of the responses between the companies, and it seems likely that this fight is not going to be settled anytime soon.