Ex-Adobe engineers: We raised red flags that went unheeded; Adobe closed mobile department in ‘07

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“In an open letter published Thursday, Steve Jobs outlined a half dozen reasons why Apple is not supporting Flash on its mobile platform,” Brian X. Chen reports for Wired.

“Carlos Icaza and Walter Luh, former Adobe mobile engineers, said they were raising flags at Adobe in 2007 about the same complaints that Jobs detailed Thursday,” Chen reports. “‘Walter and I, being the lead architects for Flash Lite, we were seeing the iPhone touch devices coming out, and we kept saying ‘Hey, this is coming along,” Icaza said in a phone interview. ‘You have this white elephant that everybody ignored. Half the [Adobe] mobile business unit was carrying iPhones, and yet the management team wasn’t doing anything about it.'”

Chen reports, “They said they left Adobe because executives did not take the iPhone seriously when Apple announced the touchscreen device in 2007. Instead, Adobe focused on feature phones (cellphones with lightweight web features, not smartphones) and invested in development of Flash Lite to play Flash videos on such devices. Subsequently, Adobe shut down the mobile business unit in 2007, and has suffered from a brain drain in the mobility space ever since, Icaza and Luh said.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: 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.

Try Pixelmator's free 30-day trial today!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JJ Nash” for the heads up.]


  1. Adobe < Smart

    Adobe zigged when they should have zagged.

    Apple called them on it and now Adobe doesn’t want to take responsibility for their bad decisions.

    I need Adobe to wake up and fix this mess they created. Yes, I need. I rely on Adobe pro apps to survive. And I am not buying a winblows box just so I can use CS in the future.

  2. Shocked! Shocked I am that management at Adobe remains clueless.

    It’s not just the mobile space, either. It’s been years since the “case-sensitive” path-name bug was reported as a serious issue in Reader and Acrobat, but Adobe has done absolutely nothing to address the problem. Could it be because the bug only affects Macs or Linux and not Windoze. It’s sounding like the old adage — We could send half the Palm management team to Adobe and raise the average IQ in both places.

  3. But Ansca Mobile’s Corona is just another cross platform lowest common denominator SDK.

    Will Corona take advantage of unique iPhone advantages as they are released?

  4. People in management anywhere are very often out of touch for a number of reasons…
    Number one?
    Everyone lies to the boss either to curry favor or avoid punishment.
    If you start at the bottom and carry that chain of lies up through middle management and add time eventually the boss has very little idea what is really happening on the street. The difference for Steve is that he actually USES this kind of gear, and has a low tolerance for bullshit. He like many brilliant people likes the new stuff to be well….brilliant…so I can only imagine the amazing stuff he’s seen that’s not quite ready but was built to “impress Steve”

  5. “Half the [Adobe] mobile business unit was carrying iPhones, and yet the management team wasn’t doing anything about it.'”

    And then Adobe finally did do something about it.
    They stopped giving Adobe employees iPhones.


    – Adobe Managemnet

  6. Hopefully, Apple hired the more enlightened and capable ex-Adobe employees. If you give a team of good folks a worthy goal and the freedom to pursue it, then the result will often be better than you ever anticipated.

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