Dvorak: Adobe and Apple square off

Apple Online Store“When historians document the computer era, the story of Apple Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. will consume a lot of pixels and ink. It’s a sensational story of marriage, divorce and resentment,” John Dvorak writes for MarketWatch. “The rocky relationship may have come to a critical stage this week, with the release of a open letter to Adobe written by Steve Jobs on Apple’s Web site, in which the chief executive expressed concern over the recent criticism of Apple for not letting the iPad run Adobe’s Flash.”

MacDailyNews Note: Jobs’ open letter is here.

Dvorak continues, “This eventually mushroomed into a heated debate, mostly online. It’s summarized by Jobs’ final biting comment: “New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”

“I should explain that HTML5, which was only recently introduced, incorporates a new video tag that supplants and simplifies the showing of video on Web pages,” Dvorak writes. “Almost every observer outside of Adobe thinks it will kill Flash, which is the ubiquitous technology that displays videos on Web sites.”

“While the disappearance of Flash will not ruin Adobe over the long haul, it does put into question the eye-popping purchase of Flash developer Macromedia for $3.5 billion back in 2005,” Dvorak writes. “I’d like to know, exactly what was the return on investment for that buyout?”

MacDailyNews Take: John, Adobe’s payback is going to be a bitch.

Dvorak, “I’m in the camp that HTML5 will devour Flash someday. But I question Apple’s judgment for not being a little more conciliatory toward Adobe. Now it will have a blood feud on its hands.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple did the nice guy bit with lazy ingrate Adobe for quite awhile, John. Lazy ingrate Adobe couldn’t take a hint. In fact, lazy ingrate Adobe couldn’t take 100 hints. Therefore, lazy ingrate Adobe has more than earned Jobs’ sledgehammer.

It bears reminding: Apple is a debt-free company with enough cash on-hand to purchase little old lazy ingrate Adobe. Twice. With $10 billion left over. If that happened, you’d better believe Adobe would finally get off their asses and create some software that takes advantage of the Mac OS X platform’s strengths, instead of trying to excrete generic crap for multiple platforms due to sheer laziness.

Note to advertisers: (including those who advertise via third-party ad networks and become, in effect, our advertisers): Your Flash-based ads are no longer reaching the most well-heeled customers online: 50+ million iPhone owners. They’re also not hitting brand new iPad users or 35+ million iPod touch users. If you care about reaching people with discretionary income, you might want to consider dumping your flash-based ads and moving to a more open format that people with money and the will to spend it can actually see.

Help kill Adobe’s Flash:
• Ask MarketWatch to offer HTML5 video via the customer support web form here.
• Ask CNBC to offer HTML5 video via the customer support web form here.
• Contact Hulu and ask them to offer HTML5 video via email:
• Ask ESPN360 to offer HTML5 video instead Flash via their feedback page here.
• Join YouTube’s HTML5 beta here.
• On Vimeo, click the “Switch to HTML5 player” link below any video.

By the way, do not buy Adobe’s Photoshop Elements until you have tried Pixelmator’s free 30-day trial. We use Pixelmator daily.


  1. Dvorak’s plodding ass finally weighs in. Unsurprisingly, he offers no insight and says nothing that hasn’t been said by more astute minds 100 different ways.

    Good job, John. When historians document the computer era, your lobotomized shill analysis will be inconspicuously absent from the record.

  2. It’s just sad to see a company like Adobe, which has made some truly great products and innovations (Illustrator, Acrobat, making PDF a standard document format) simply bury its head in the sand and refuse to see what’s going on. Or refuse to push their products to be really great instead of pretty-good-just-wait-til-the-next-release!

    The days of coasting on your existing product(s) are definitely over. With developers now not needing physical product sales, it is far, far easier for a small company to compete with a large one, and the small companies with laser focus can move so much faster.

    That’s the only concern I have about Apple – the software development. The devices and OS improvement are obviously first-rate, but I want Apple to be sure to keep its software products improving and outpacing the competition. iWork needs to add significant features before it can truly knock off Office, and Aperture is just now coming out of a prolonged period of justified criticism. Problems have been obvious in MobileMe as well.

    I just hope Apple keeps an eye on its software and doesn’t just focus on the devices.

  3. Now more than ever, Apple should just buy Adobe, kick the upper management jerks out, and spend some time getting the Adobe products back to the world class products they once were.

    Now that CS5 is done, and all the hard work has been done to fully convert these products to cocoa, the time is right to do this!

    Probably won’t happen, but this would really heat things up! I bet apple could then relatively easily fix and do a mobile version of flash that works! (Especially if there is any truth that adobe can’t fix it due to private frameworks apple won’t divulge).

    Would be fun!

  4. But… um… MDN… buying Adobe when they are not for sale just because they aren’t playing nice with Apple would be a very Microsoftian thing to do.

    I would rather Apple make their own creative suite. And it has to be as good or better than Adobe’s CS or they will just have more Aperture programs on their hands to maintain.

  5. Adobe has been asking for it now for over ten years. They’ve done nothing but try to sabotage OS X by dragging their feet with late releases of the various CSs and waiting forever to bring them to Cocoa.

    I’ve had it with Adobe and am doing everything I can to avoid their sub-par products. ClickToFlash has been a godsend.

    Written on Flash-free iPad and proud of it.

  6. Apple has played nice for years, and waited till they were in the best position they’ve ever been to take Adobe on. Jobs either expects Adobe to fold and give in, accept defeat, or there is something else great in the wings.

  7. This is really about ownership. Apple originally “owned” the DTP market, only to see Adobe take ownership and move DTP to the Windows platform.

    Apple is engineering ownership of the end-user interface, and thereby controlling the delivery of content. Apple achieves this by providing the best end-user experience, through devices and infrastructure.

    This is not a battle Adobe can win – they know it, but prefer to sulk in their corner instead of working with Jobs. It obviously never occurred to them that Apple could trump them – and now that it is obvious that this has happened, Adobe have nowhere to go.

    I imagine that Apple will move to supplant Adobe software in any market that is valuable to Apple. Look for a professional suite from Apple to replace CS5 – indeed Apple already has the building blocks in Aperture and Final Cut Pro.

  8. this is ridiculous. anyone see the movie “pirates of silicon valley?” it makes pretty clear that apple didn’t see microsoft as the true enemy of the day–instead trying to take on IBM, etc. today, apple peeps have a problem with microsoft and adobe, but are failing to see that the real enemy is google. mark my words.

  9. Okay, here is what I simply don’t get. I read Jobs’s letter. I read about the Adobe response.

    I did not see Jobs’s letter as an attack on Adobe. I saw it as a defense of Apple because of all the flak Apple got about not letting Flash play on Apple’s mobile devices. This is similar to Jobs’s letter about DRM and music when others were attempting to say Apple was the bad-music-guy on the block.

    Therefore, I saw Adobe’s response as just a defensive response. So, I ask myself why they did that? I only come up with fear.

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