Adobe hearts Apple, hits them in userbase with open letter on openness, new ad campaign

Adobe hearts Apple

In the ongoing feud between Apple and Adobe, Adobe's founders have posted an open letter, "thoughts on openess" and Adobe has begun rolling out a new ad campaign on Engadget -- and presumably other geek-rich online sites -- declaring their love for Apple, and then telling users how saintly Adobe, users like us, and little puppies are being hurt by Apple's evil ways.

It's smart, at least much smarter than Adobe's initial responses to -- and complaints to the federal government about -- Steve Jobs' "thoughts on Flash", although it still pretends that Adobe isn't as self-interested, controlling, and out for money and market share as Apple -- which they absolutely are.

If the web fragments into closed systems, if companies put content and applications behind walls, some indeed may thrive — but their success will come at the expense of the very creativity and innovation that has made the Internet a revolutionary force.

[...]

We believe that Apple, by taking the opposite approach, has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web — the chapter in which mobile devices outnumber computers, any individual can be a publisher, and content is accessed anywhere and at any time.

Interestingly, Adobe's open letter contains three registered trademark symbols (™), including one on Flash. Steve Jobs' contained none.

Flash is Adobe's. Tell us how popular it is. Make a phenomenal mobile version that does things so well it makes HTML5 cry in its standards-based containers. Win the case that Flash is better and too important to ignore. But continuing to pretend Adobe and Flash are open and end-user interests are what Adobe is fighting for is insulting.

Smart users know better. They've used Adobe products. Words aren't going to make a dent now; it's time for deliverables.

[Adobe via Engadget]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Adobe hearts Apple, hits them in userbase with open letter on openness, new ad campaign

45 Comments

It really doesn't matter what Adobe says at this point since they can't get flash running on a mobile phone. Flash is flawed at it's core in the way that it decodes which causes it to uses too much battery and CPU which is deadly in the mobile space. Even if they can get it running it will kill user experience because of the battery issues.
I am telling you now that flash on phones won't be released this year, it will be pushed back yet again to 2011 because they just can't get it to work right. They have had three years since the iPhone has released, long live HTML 5!

Well, the private beta of Flash Player on Android looks pretty sweet, with constant new videos by developers on the beta up on YouTube. Also those who have benchmarked have it running a lot faster than similar HTML5 examples. I imagine next week at Google I/O we will see a lot more and hopefully the public beta will finally open up.

1 @Brian Hickey
You have to visit non Apple sites, Flash 10.1 for Android will be presented next week at Google IO and released before June.
Watching the latests demo videos, it looks pretty sweet and doesn't suck a lot of battery, perhaps equal to the same conent with HTML5.

I think this is a classic case of a company NOT being forward thinking at all in the case of Adobe. Everyone could see that mobile was the future. Abode should have had people working round the clock to get Flash working and working great on mobile devices years ago. Did they? Have they?
Nope.
Their loss. Apple has won this battle and is on their way to make Flash a thing of the past

Is it just me, or does this whole thing smack of desperation at this point?
Apple, Microsoft, and even Google have said that the future is HTML5. The writing is on the wall, and Adobe has now resorted to BEGGING the general public to back their software. Flash still has its uses, but the future of mobile devices doesn't look to be one of them. (Regardless of what beta software Adobe may or may not release in the next year or two.)
Also, keep in mind that because of Apple's/Microsoft's stance, and the iPad's brisk sales, every major video site either already supports HTML5, or is working feverishly to add support for it. In the next 6 months to a year I would guess that Hulu, CBS, ABC, YouTube, Facebook, etc will all either have native apps or HTML5-based websites that will work for all the iDevices. At which point, what will we need Flash for again? I forget... oh, wait... I forgot about all those wonderful blinking ads all over the internet. o_O
Sorry Adobe, but it looks like you are just wasting money and ad-space at this point.

i see adobe cry about apple. apple use white logo but all apples are red and so is adobe. i think they merge. i need adobe on phone for favorite unicorn game. where do i buy it and can i borrow your copy. i tell att on phone that game do not work and they laugh at me. i not weak but they still laugh. oh no what to do. both apple and adobe start with a and have 5 letters and end with e. i think they must fight because of this. yes?

The truth is that people buy Apple knowing that they won't get Flash so no one's freedom is being taken away. It's a tradeoff that people choose to make. As far as the content, sorry but Flash was two chapters ago in the "history of the Web". Good effort, though Adobe! As far as the current beta build of 10.1 on Android, it looks pretty good for website content but it's still stuttery on video.

@Gwydion
I'm just asking, but didn't the android phone with flash crash twice during a recent demo of the final 10.1 product?

Ummm, Apple hasn't banned Flash from OSX... just from the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. So, I am pretty sure Mac users aren't having any trouble seeing Flash ads. lol

Adobe Should Present An New Optimized Version Of Flash For Mobile Devices To Apple.....Either Way It's Pathetic To Not Include It On The iPad Regardless

The latest flash demos for Android look much improved, that it's taken Adobe this long just shows that it was either very hard to make Flash efficient, or Adobe really didn't care to try until Apple forced their hand (the way Firefox forced Microsoft to improve IE).

I use ClicktoFlash on my Mac because the load times were revving my computer to galactic temperatures. My computer runs smoother and faster by not loading Flash all the time. I don't miss Flash one bit on my iPhone as I have already learned to ignore it on my computer 90% of the time.
I agree with zeagus, if it's taken Adobe this long to get a mobile version ready, how long will it take them to update whatever comes next? If I wanted that kind of lengthy response to growing technology, I would be using a PC.

You are conflating issues again - most of us do not care about a Flash runtime on the iPhone, but the ultimately self-defeating policies of banning development tools and languages. You (and Jobs) keep trying to shift focus on the former as if it is the only issue, whereas 2/3 (if not all) of Adobe's ad - and 99.4% of developer complaints - refers to the latter.

If they were so worried about my experience of the web being taken away, why have they dragged their arses for 3 years before getting full mobile flash out ?

Btw, I am under no illusions that Adobe is any bastion of openness -- just saying that Adobe is getting a lot of sympathy from quarters that normally would not care for them (like me) because of Apple's policies and self-serving mixing of issues.

@(Copy of) Dev
while i agree with you that this is the issue, the 99.4% of developers must be flash developers. What % are flash developers compared to app store developers ? if developers are so pissed why has the wwdc sold out in 8 days, and is it a given right of a developer to code in whatever language he chooses ?

@Brian Hickey

It really doesn’t matter what Adobe says at this point since they can’t get flash running on a mobile phone. Flash is flawed at it’s core in the way that it decodes which causes it to uses too much battery and CPU which is deadly in the mobile space. Even if they can get it running it will kill user experience because of the battery issues.

Sing that loudly, sing it often. I dislike flash too.
But do leave yourself and exit, a backpedal, a face saving. Put in a few weasel words, escape clauses, and disclaimers.
Because next week Android 2.2 comes out with Flash Mobile.
And if it DOESN'T crash, and if it DOESN'T suck battery, and if it DOESN'T corrupt the phone OS, then you realize you have been defending the lack of cut and paste, the lack of MMS, or any one of a number of things Apple wouldn't let you have, and which the fanboys stepped up and poo pooed.
If it all works, you've been suckered again.

This argument that Apple is denying your right to build what you want on their closed platforms strikes me as similar to "The Fountainhead' where the masses demand Roark change his vision to conform to their tired ideas.

The bottom line is the only thing Apple has to do with the creation of anything for the internet is iWeb. That is it. They provide zero tools (other than basic iWeb) that dictate anything about how to create content for the web. Adobe is the only one in the Adobe Vs. Apple fight that provides tools for web based content. If you're talking about designing apps for the iPhone (which is a totally different debate) using flash, then take that fight elsewhere with developers, not consumers. In terms of "openness" on the web, the only thing Apple is providing in this whole thing is the browser (the consuming end, not the creation end), and on top of that the only browser that doesn't support flash is the iPhone OS browser. That's it. Adobe is fighting a fight (on the topic of web development, NOT iPHONE APPS) about development for the web when the only hand Apple has in this fight is their browser not supporting the consumption of flash by the user. It's Apple's product. If you the user don't like it, you have many other options to choose from. If you the developer don't like it, don't bother making HTML5 versions of things and only cater to the non-iPhone user population. If you want to access the iPhone user base, then quit crying. No one is forcing you to stay, and in fact the only thing that would have any force on you staying is your own greed to profit off of the iPhone user base web traffic, and that's neither Adobe nor Apple's fault, that's your own.
Just my $0.02

the stability, security and the resource unfriendly nature of flash are all valid arguments for Steve Jobs to make, and none of them make a bit of difference. even if adobe put out a version that was not only perfect, but increased the performance of devices, Apple would still not adopt it because flash is a direct competitor to the iPhone OS and a means to circumvent the app store.
his open letter was an incredibly safe bet since the things he addressed aren't likely to be fixed soon, and are valid concern, but none of them are the reason we don't have flash.

@zero credibility
No -- Flash has nothing to do with the argument for 99.4% of developers. EA wants to write their engine in C/Obj C, but write their game logic in Lua. Gameloft wants to use Unity3D for the whole of some titles. Neither of them are fans of Flash, and would like nothing better than for Flash to go away. They want to use the best tool for the job, and that is not always C or Objective-C. Many titles -- games especially -- use a mixture of languages, not because of any "right" to do so but because hard-won experience has proven that approach yields the fastest, most sophisticated, and most bug-free end product. In their zeal to stomp out Flash, Apple is telling developers that every problem in development is the same nail, and that you can use only one hammer. That -- an Apple policy that forces the best developers to do lesser work at greater expense than they otherwise could -- and not any preference for Flash, is what has people annoyed.
As I have said before, that annoyance has not produced any visible backlash because the iPhone is still the dominant platform out there. WWDC sells out because Apple has a big tech lead and a big market. Most of us are not ideologues, and just want to make things people use, and make a living while doing so. Right now, that means targeting iPhoneOS, and likely will for at least a few more years. But resentment is building, and will eventually poison the third party ecosystem should another platform finally get its head out of its *** and make something competitive, with comparable market share.

I guess we should expect a bunch of "Yeah Steve!" and "Right on" when Jobs posts his letter then turn around with "Ughh" and "Whatevvvvver!" when Adobe posts theirs from this blog. What I don't expect is the blog to ignore half-truths from one or the other. If you're going to point out the bad in Adobe's letter, do so in Jobs' as well.
Here is a great post from John Nack furthering the conversation:http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/05/absolutepowervsthepirate_flag.html
@Rene Ritchie
Why do you guys keep saying it took "sooo long" for Adobe to make Flash for mobile ready? It hasn't. Devices could not handle half of what they could today 4 years ago. You dealt with Symbian devices, mainly, running Flash Lite because it was very lightweight. Now devices are faster and more powerful than 10 year old computers.
It hasn't taken them forever. You're riding the same coat-tail Apple held when they smashed Microsoft for 5 years without a new OS, which wasn't true since they had numerous XP versions (just like OS X 10.n).
Do your readers justice and be objective, unless Apple is paying the bills.

@(Copy of) Dev
I can see the other side a little better no thanks. I guess I agree with you that if it effects unity and other similar tools, that is not good. I can also see how apple looses control with the one fits all code that Adobe would create. In a perfect world I would allow the tools like unity which help with core of the apps but refuse anything that has control over the new features and UI elements like Flash would .. , but that's far to simple to work in this case.

With Flash coming out on Android next week...what does that say about Google?
Google is always running their mouth about open web standards but they go out of their way to support Flash on Android 2.2. Hmmmm.
All I'm saying...beware of Google. A friend I know at Google told me that Google is now out to get Facebook. Look for their paid hacks to start publicly bad mouthing Facebook. People like jason calacanis and Leo Laporte among others in Google's back pocket.
Again Beware of Big Brother Google.

@(Copy of) Dev
And as you said, Why does Apple have a big lead? Maybe cause they are the company that are innovating?
Microsoft copies and now Google copies. HP will join the copycats soon...pathetic. That's why WWDC sells out. Apple innovates.

@icebike The only thing that says about Google is that it support all the technologies.
Calacanis and Laporte paid by Google? Fact or only slander?

Go into any Geek Squad repair shop, and very rarely will you see a mac. They will work on broken macs. There are developers out there that run programs with flash, and also quick time. Unless they really come out with something very new, flash will not work well on the mobile device. Case in point, I had flash on a mobile windows device. I would get open database errors. Never could figure it out. If I deleted flash, no more problems. I still think each company should put the best tech minds they have in a room, and say develope a product that will knock the socks off the customer. They read these forms. I forgot how many surveys I did for palm, and never really saw a product to match. The pre wasn't it.

@Dantv
Never said Apple does not innovate, nor that they do not deserve their big lead, just that their even as their technology soars, their policies are building up resentment. Nobody sees as a problem while there is a lead, but it eventually will bite them in the butt if/when others close the gap a little. Most of us developers who still like Apple would like them to avoid that trap before it springs. My apologies if that light constructive criticism offends you.

Apple has won this battle in my opinion and I would be happy to tell you why. 
Steve Jobs publicy stated the many reasons why they are banning Adobe products in his "thoughts on flash" memo. He didn't blantly "attack" Adobe, he explained Apple's logic why they would not allow  it.  Adobes CEO "response" seemed unformulated and it is was an overall very ineffective to way combat Jobs remarks. How does Adobe respond, stoping efforts to prove Apple wrong by halting development on iPhone platform. 
If someone called my company out like the Jobs did, then I would be sure to do my very best to prove them wrong (and not quit). It seems Adobe is defeated in that have officially quit. So this " I love apple" marketing garbage looks... Pathetic....
Just MY opinion...

@p rock
you seem not to understand jobs "thoughts on flash" that was just an official statement so all people think "oh, yeah, so this are the reasons for not impementing flash, ah, okay. flash sucks.". It's only about "control of their own OS", that doesn't work with flash, java or any other plugin.
But in truth, 90% is a lie, watch the latest news and videos about flash 10.1 and android and you see why his statements are pure BS... Adobe and Google are working together and it works great, because Google does offer access to their OS, hardware acceleration etc. This is something Apple is not doing and will just not allow, so Flash, Java, DivX or similiar plugins never have and had any chance on the Iphone OS!
The problem is just, flash is BIG, many websites have flash, a lot of people want flash, ask for flash and noone is really screaming for DivX or Java, so here is your reason for Jobs "thoughts on flash".

Ok, Adobe is getting desperate. Apple is in such a position now that whatever they say, people adjust. If Apple dont want flash on their mobile devices, it wont happen, and since they are in the position they are, people will accept that fact and still buy their iDevices because they simply want them. Because they are a giant, the developers adjust their software to do what apple want because what apple wants is what the customer wants.
Adobe are scared to death because of this. Even though flash wont be available on the iDevices, people will still buy the devices, and that equals less money for Adobe whom then starts to act like a child.
I am perfectly fine with Apple controling the App Store. I thought it was like that in many cases. Xbox Live, PSN etc. I would HATE to see bad developed Porn Games made in flash in the app store.
Also, if Adobe would Heart apple, im sure that there would have been better support for the apple platform from the start, a better flash player etc etc. Nah, Adobe Heart Money and are scared of getting closed out from the market. I hope they have to scrap their closed out buggy ram hog of a tool called flash.

it's just like the nerd who keeps asking the super hot mean girl out.. No matter how many times he asks, the answer is still no nerd... Damn hot chicks

Last I knew Mike Kelly, Avanti Motor Corp. owns the name Studebaker but only when applied to a Motor Vehicle.