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iPhone Flash in the Works

Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) continue to work on bringing Flash technology to the iPhone, but there are still many hurdles to overcome.

The touch-screen iPhone is widely viewed as having the best mobile browsing experience with mobile Safari, but it lacks support for third-party plug-ins like Flash. Instead, Apple requires that video be delivered in a particular file format, and Web video from the likes of YouTube is delivered via a separate application.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said Flash for desktops and notebooks "performs too slow to be useful" on the iPhone because of its resource needs. The mobile version, known as Flash Lite, is used on millions of handsets, including Nokia (NYSE: NOK)'s S60 platform, but Jobs said it "isn't capable enough to be used with the Web." Apple has been calling on Adobe to create a third version more suitable for its mobile platform.

Adobe has wanted to bring Flash to the iPhone because of its sales success and the browsing patterns of its users. But the company said the iPhone's software development kit and licenses were not robust enough to deliver the technology.

"It's a hard technical challenge, and that's part of the reason Apple and Adobe are collaborating," Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen told Bloomberg Television. "The ball is in our court. The onus is on us to deliver."

Apple recently got into some hot water with the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority because of the iPhone's inability to support the nearly ubiquitous Web technology. The company had been running advertisements that claimed the handset can access "all parts of the Internet," but the agency said the ads were "misleading" because of the lack of Flash and Java support.

— Marin Perez, InformationWeek

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