Adobe “Hearts” Apple? Like a heart attack maybe…

Like many of his fellow Adobe bloggers suddenly free to support Adobe’s new position on why Flash is so “open” and “good for consumers”, John Nack at Adobe had an interesting post which he started off like this:

Today Adobe ran a full-page ad in various newspapers articulating key company beliefs, and company founders John Warnock & Chuck Geschke–whose PostScript innovations were instrumental in the adoption of the Macintosh & desktop publishing–posted their thoughts on open markets & open competition:

Adobe’s business philosophy is based on a premise that, in an open market, the best products will win in the end — and the best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than your competitors.

John continues on in his post talking about why he loves Apple, how he wants to “…build the most amazing iPad imaging apps the world has ever seen” but “who will decide” if he can get them accepted in the Apple App store? He then goes on to pontificate about innovating, the good of competition, and that his reader should care about this debate, “…because these issues affect your choices as a customer & a creative person.

No they don’t.

At its core, this entire Flash/no-Flash debate isn’t about “consumer choice” or “open”. This debate/issue is about power and control. Adobe doesn’t give a sh*t about “open” any more than Apple or any other tech company does — unless it’s about tapping into the ecosystem for fun and profit — and if they did care about my choices as a consumer and creative:

  • Adobe wouldn’t have essentially made Mac users second-class citizens for years from the late 1990s through mid-2000s
  • The Flash experience on the Mac wouldn’t have sucked for just as long (see my post, “Adobe Flash Roasts My ‘Chestnuts’ w/50% CPU Use“)
  • Adobe would produce non-developer creative tools to output in Flash (and Adobe folks, don’t argue that point since Adobe doesn’t have any even remotely worthwhile). Where’s the power user Flex?

Adobe controls the value chain of creation-to-output for Flash. Yes, Adobe has tried to appease the developer ecosystem with quasi “open” aspects to the Flash runtime container and tossing ActionScript into the mix, but 90% of the value chain is owned and controlled by Adobe. If I was Steve Jobs, I’d be pushing for open too (and don’t give me the “H.264 licensing” arguments since this no-Flash stance by Apple is likely due to Flash app delivery…not video).

It’s not just Adobe either. If you were an adult and alive in the 1990s (and paying any attention to the personal computer industry) then you couldn’t miss Microsoft’s “good for the consumer” and “consumer choice” moves to crush Netscape by bundling Internet Explorer in to Windows, hiding aspects of their API’s from developers (so their stuff ran better and faster) and Adobe just happened to not bother to be in that Microsoft-control-debate, did they? Where were Warnock and Geschke when Netscape was being killed? Oh yeah…they were ensuring all Adobe apps were optimized for Microsoft and reallocating Mac development resources to Windows-centric development.

So here’s the bottom line: Adobe put most of their eggs in the Microsoft basket and didn’t support Apple when they needed it most back in the late 1990s through about 2005. Apple’s iPhone (despite no Flash) is the fastest rampup in sales of any consumer electronics product ever produced. The iPad is exploding in sales and — unlike Adobe’s chosen BFF Microsoft and their weak selling WinXP Tablet PC — realizes what a colossal mistake they made and now have zero shot and positioning their creative value chain for the next phase of computing, mobile (and I, as many have said, don’t miss Flash AT ALL on my iPad).

So what is Adobe doing? Crying to the Federal government, taking out an ad in the Washington Post and NYTimes (why not a Bay area paper?) and starting that “Why Flash is all about Consumer Choice” ad campaign (being a martyr isn’t a good strategy).

Too many people are on both sides of this debate for a martyr strategy to work (and rally the masses to put pressure on Apple….like THAT would work). Plus, it doesn’t seem real innovative, does it?

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  1. David Erickson on May 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Interesting posts from Minnesota communications bloggers for the week ending 05/16/10. Culled from the Minnesota Social Media Bloggers FriendFeed room.
    Albert Maruggi lists nine marketing transformations
    Julio Ojeda-Zapata broke the Izzy’s (client) RFID ice cream subscription story and follows up with a blog post
    Kakie Fitzsimmons posts the social media revolution video and later wonders what 10,000 tweets means
    Taylor Carik defines Critical Digital Studies
    Jason DeBoer-Moran posts the Happiness Machine video
    Ben discusses conspicuous authenticity
    Josh Braaten lists 10 blogging mistakes, tips & tricks
    Kristin Gast is finding personal/professional balance
    Geek Girls podcast: Facebook Privacy [MP3]
    John Reinan explains how Target Field markets itself
    Four51 thinks Facebook is inviting marketers to watch the social Web party from the outside looking in
    Mark Palony has got some advice for college students & career counselors
    Mark Malmberg discusses The Nerdery’s role in Izzys Ice Cream’s RFID system
    Graeme Thickins also writes about Izzy’s new customer service tool then interviews some folks at Gist [MP3]
    David Brauer reports that MPR will participate in a social news experiment lead by NPR; notes Robyne Robinson’s strange exit; reports Chad Hartman’s new gig; rounds up the ‘CCO AM changes
    Kasey Skala looks at digital’s role in crisis communications
    Top Pick compiles Facebook marketing tips
    Steve Borsch notes the Minnesota High Tech Association’s angel tax credit panel then riffs on the Adobe/Apple feud
    Tim Elliott finds the Droid Incredible
    Ed Kohler asks if a truly local Groupon would work
    Cary Lenore Walski challenges the notion of Too Small for the Web
    Lee Odden interviews the search strategist at WSJ
    Arik Hanson examines viral videos then gets some perspectives on the BP oil spill
    Nicole Harrison lists five ways to get nonprofit leaders on board with social
    Paul DeBettignies reports on the Minnesota Recruiters Conference
    Marketing Edge Podcast: Interview with Shel Holtz [MP3]
    Lee Aase posts on Twitter ROI
    Minnov8 Podcast: The Facebookers [MP3]
    I posted an interview about genius with author David Shenk; posted a video showing how to SEO your way into a job; It was a good week for Tunheim, and I note that with a post about our Gold SABRE award and one about our Bronze Quill award

    Similar Posts:
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    Tagged as:
    internet marketing,
    Minnesota Social Media,
    Social Media Marketing

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.