Adobe, you lose.

Like you, I’ve watched from the sidelines this whole Apple vs. Adobe battle take place and can’t but help laugh at Adobe. It’s like watching a geek get all agro because the pretty girl in the class ignores his advances and no matter what he tries, it just isn’t meant to be.

Let’s look at this from a different lens?


Apple set out years ago to create a mobile device; they built this idea from scratch and spent millions marketing it to the world. It changed the way we look at mobile devices as fast forward today, the iPhone, has more copycat products on the market than any I’ve seen so far. Apple did what it said it would do, it thought differently and it worked. The problem is that it’s up to Apple what goes on it and what doesn’t and for Adobe to sit on the sidelines and piss and moan about “open” is somewhat boring and pathetic. Here a company like Adobe is lecturing Apple on innovation online? Did I miss the big invention of Adobe somewhere?

Adobe honestly thinks they can turn an entire iPhone user base against Apple?

For instance, I remember being on Microsoft campus the day the iPhone 3Gs came out. I remember working late the night before and creeping back home around 5am, driving past AT&T store at Redmond. There was a line around the block so others could get a slice of the iPhone for themselves and as I drove past I noticed a lot of familiar faces in the Microsoft staff directory, some whom would probably get a scolding or initial look at the time for “buying the competitor”.

Today, it’s rumored 30,000 active iPhone connections exist on campus – yet – Microsoft is one of Apple’s biggest competitors? You have people inside the company who bleed blue and would shoot some venomous action your way at the mere sight of seeing the Apple logo. Still folks lined up around the block at 5am to buy this device.

Adobe’s Marketing and Evangelism have simply lost the plot as they are forgetting this is what they are up against, their sole priority is to discredit Apple – to remind you that Apple are a dictatorship and they are starving the world of “potential” innovation.

Here’s the thing though, I’m yet to see Adobe do anything exciting past its Photoshop and After Effects tooling. Flash is a product where I simply see less value in its existence and a product which I may add that Silverlight has not only caught up to in features but in many ways overtaken.

The thing is they’ve had market share with Flash for almost a decade and nothing bad decisions, terrible product marketing and countless stories of their developer/designer community abandonments. Steve Jobs was right, they are and were lazy. As that’s why Microsoft said “enough, let’s make our own” and that’s why others like Apple are following this line of thinking – two giant brands disregarding Flash? Coincidence?

Same playbook, different victim


When we would compete head to head with Flash back in Silverlight’s infancy we often were the ones of their targeted attacks, much like Apple is today. We’d have constant skirmishes back and forth over random events or some snarky blog comment here and there. Basically the same playbook they are using on Apple today came from Microsoft vs. Adobe and yet despite their attempts they’ve never won on both battle fronts.

Adobe want in on the iPhone Apple said no, I have no dog in this fight other than to say, I’m happy with the way Apple have been pushing the innovation in today’s marketplace and I’m yet to see Adobe even come close to both Microsoft or Apple when it comes to the word innovation.

Today, Adobe just seems to be immature and have finally over-inflated the brands ego. I think Adobe is on a downward spiral for a couple of years as this kind of behavior is going to hit their bottom line, which you can guarantee.

I read this latest post from mesh and just roll my eyes and I actively wonder if Mike actually believes in the spin he’s typing?

How much more kool-aid can one drink?

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  • Craig Mc

    This article misses that Flex rather whips Silverlights wimpy ass. One should not comapre Silverlight to Flash. (And dont even go there with HTML 5 there are elephants a plenty in that room. As it is the HTML 5 spec an barely do what flash could do in the MX days.)

    I do agree Adobe, in fact any other company in the planet is deluded if they think they could un brainwash the jobsian masses. While their technology weak their ideas ancient and executions pretty lame, there is no one on the planet who can out market apple.

  • Four months later Apple is now accepting iOS apps built using Flash in their App store. Apple is under increasingly intense government scrutiny due in part to their capricious and counterproductive arrogance around the app store and SDK rules. Their market share in the US is plummeting. The shine is off the iPhone 4 and by no longer giving away bumpers Apple is headed for more troubled PR waters around their defective antenna design. Android’s market share is exploding and Android 2.2 which supports Flash is already on about 20% of of Android phones. WP7 does not appear to have any leverage at all. In the all important enterprise market RIM is still growing while IT shops are gradually learning how to support iPhone and Android.

    Adobe still has serious problems. ActionScript performance has been eclipsed by Chrome and its not clear Adobe knows how to beat Chrome’s performance the way Silverlight does. But even silverlight has monumental (though non-technical) problems. The IE 9 team are on a role and have realized what lots of other people figured out when they started using Chrome. HTML5/CSS/JavaScript/e4x/websockets/and/on/and/on may have lousy tools but with some syntactic sugar from ECMA and some solid engineering are way past “good enough” to enable most enterprise applications and to develop real tools on. When you need DRM, multicast, or P2P you can add a little Flash.

    I’ve never been impressed by Adobe’s runtime performance, but I’ve never made the mistake you do of assuming the world can be analyzed using a pissing match mindset. Adobe still has lots of opportunities in front of it but I’m not sure Microsoft knows how to do anything but throw money away. The marketing of Silverlight has been a complete and total disaster. Your own work on Adobe focused mailing lists simply convinced everyone that Microsoft was an infantile company to be shunned. You likely have no idea the damage that you did to Silverlight.

    Congrats on helping give Adobe more time to stay relevant.

  • Don Burnett

    The thing I don’t think that is being addressed here is that I don’t believe Adobe really cares about the iphone anymore one way or another..

    Android is currently outselling the iPhone according to 3rd party sales figures and while IOS was the cute girl in the classroom, there’s a transfer student who’s even hotter and she is from Google.

    Google is probably not a second choice with Adobe at this point.. But a first preference being new with a very smooth problem free relationship..

    I think Apple has blinked.. Why ?? Simply because of this below..

    At some point you either use the technology and like it or you don’t. Time will tell as it always does.. If we look back on this five years from now I bet this all will seem really irrelavent.