Apple stabs Adobe in the back

On a week when Microsoft landed a big deal to put Silverlight on Nokia phones, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, tells Adobe that there won’t be Flash on the iPhone.

This is a real bummer for Adobe and many users and developers, because most of the world’s casual games are written for Flash. Just go over to game site Kongregate. Or, look at the world’s video like that on YouTube (or any other video site like the Qik one that I use on my cell phone). Almost all of it is done in Flash. Now developers at those sites will need to find some other method to get those games and videos onto the iPhone.

This is a HUGE opening for Microsoft to take momentum and mind share away from Flash/Flex/AIR with its Silverlight set of technologies (which, based on my Twitter conversations, is winning developers over at a pretty good pace).

So, what is Steve thinking? He probably didn’t want to hand control of developers to another company, but Apple might also have had concerns about battery life or it just might not have been able to make Flash work well on the iPhone. I can’t believe that Apple couldn’t find a way to make these things work, though. Flash isn’t that heavyweight, it might have taken some committment on behalf of Apple to rewrite Flash to work and it sounds like Apple wants to go the way of SVG (it has long been rumored to be working on SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics, which is an open W3C standard) for the iPhone).

The inside story has yet to be told on this one. Not that Adobe is in a place to retaliate by only doing something like future versions of Photoshop or Illustrator on Windows or Linux (which would hurt Apple, but would hurt Adobe itself in its real war with Microsoft) but Adobe has got to be smarting from this decision this morning. After all it was Adobe that helped solidify the Macintosh’s role in the world with its desktop publishing, fonts, and Postscript technologies.

Does this put a death blow onto the Flash/Flex/AIR teams? No, but it certainly does cripple their chances against Microsoft’s Silverlight. I’ll be at Microsoft’s Mix conference later today to report on that angle.

UPDATE: Microsoft’s keynote this morning at its sold-out Mix conference will be webcast live, Neowin is reporting. I’m hearing there’s some news coming there, and also later in the afternoon.