Adobe Systems criticized Apple in newspaper advertisements and on its website, saying the exclusion of its video software from the computer maker's iPad and iPhone stifles competition.

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Adobe Systems criticized Apple in newspaper advertisements and on its website, saying the exclusion of its video software from the computer maker’s iPad and iPhone stifles competition.

Adobe is advertising its public missive in 24 newspapers and websites, including The Seattle Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, in response to criticisms of Adobe’s software by Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs.

The newspaper ads start with a big “We (heart) Apple,” and end with, “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.”

The Adobe letter on its website, titled “Our thoughts on open markets” and signed by founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock, says that Apple’s actions could “undermine” the future of the Internet.

“In the end, we believe the question is really this: Who controls the World Wide Web?” the founders say. “And we believe the answer is: nobody — and everybody, but certainly not a single company.”

Thursday’s letter is part of a widening rift between Apple and Adobe. Beyond refusing to support Adobe’s Flash software for the iPhone and the iPad, Apple last month said app developers must use programming tools that rely on open standards, rather than software using proprietary technologies, such as Flash.

Jobs followed that two weeks ago with a 29-paragraph public letter outlining six reasons why Apple chose not to use Flash on its mobile devices. He wrote that Flash has “major technical drawbacks” and said his company has “few joint interests” with Adobe.

HTML5, the open-standard format Apple uses, lets developers create online videos and animation without relying on third-party plug-ins, such as Flash, said Jobs, 55.

“It’s a dangerous precedent to have a single company picking and choosing what parts of the Web they want to support,” David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of Adobe’s Platform Business Unit, said in an interview.

Adobe’s advertisements and letter Thursday are its most public response to the criticisms. The company’s letter said that open markets are necessary for developers to create the applications customers want as computing moves from traditional computers to mobile devices.

Geschke and Warnock name Apple once in their letter, saying the company is taking “the opposite approach” and “has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the Web.”

“No company — no matter how big or how creative — should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the Web,” they wrote.

Apple believes in open Web standards, like HTML5, said Trudy Muller, an Apple spokeswoman. “Flash is not an open Web standard like HTML. It is a proprietary Adobe product.”

Apple’s exclusion of Flash could hurt Adobe sales, the company said in a regulatory filing last month. Adobe, based in San Jose, Calif., and with a significant presence in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, offers its Flash Player as a free download, and makes money from authoring tools, including Photoshop and Illustrator, that advertisers and designers use to create Flash-based graphics, animation and video.

Adobe complained to U.S. antitrust enforcers, saying Apple is stifling competition by barring developers from using Flash to create apps for the iPhone and iPad, said two people familiar with the matter. The complaint triggered discussions between the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission over which agency should review the allegations, the people said.

IPhone sales more than doubled last quarter and the iPad tablet, released April 3, sold 1 million copies in less than a month.

Flash runs on more than 800 million mobile phones, manufactured by all the top 20 handset makers except Apple.