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10-Q Watch: Adobe Admits Apple’s Anti-Flash Strategy Could Be Damaging

In the “timing is everything” department, Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) filed its 10-Q the day after Steve Jobs threw another batch of lightning bolts at its highly popular Flash platform and included an admission that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) poses risks. The language (first noted by Bloomberg) may have already been in the risk area in the filing but it has new resonance coming so soon: “… to the extent new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed.”

Oh, yes, it could be. As Daring Fireball‘s Jon Gruber caught in the new developers’ agreement for iPhone OS4, Apple specifically rules out the kind of workaround Adobe is offering with its upcoming Flash Professional CS5 to make apps work with Flash on iPhones and iPads. Flash use still far outstretches Apple’s devices but Jobs’ antipathy for it is accelerating HTML5 use and making life more complicated for developers and content companies heavily reliant on Flash.

Update: Adobe CTO Keith Lynch blogged Friday about next’s week’s launch of CS5 and Apple’s SDK changes. His message: the ability to package apps for the iPhone or iPad is just one feature of the new product — and it still will be included. “It is up to Apple whether they choose to allow or disallow applications as their rules shift over time,” Lynch wrote. He also played up the difference between programming for one or two devices versus a wide approach, contending that “multiscreen is growing beyond Apple’s devices.”

7 Responses to “10-Q Watch: Adobe Admits Apple’s Anti-Flash Strategy Could Be Damaging”

  1. ThomasN

    Imagine you wanted to buy the latest Cooking Utensil on the market only to be told by the Manufacturer that you can only prepare one kind of dish using only one kind of ingredient. And supporting this nonsensical limit is a minority consensus of users who, because they’ve never learned to prepare a variety of decent dishes or had one incident of food poisoning decides the whole world should stick to eating gruel.

    This the same company who decided that the rights to your iTunes purchases are limited to five apple format players?

    As someone who makes his living by designing and developing for both non-flash (PHP, MySQL) and flash sites (by Flash, I don’t mean annoying intros..but interactive maps, educational games and quizzes), Steve Job’s monopolistic, socialistic, anti-adobe stance is an affront to my creative and economic freedom. [This comment was made from a Mac notebook …that supports Flash]

  2. hdc77494

    I have an IPhone, but won’t buy an IPad because of Apple’s position on Flash. I’ve always marveled at Apple’s ability to paint Microsoft as the bad guy while Apple runs a completely closed system. Anybody can connect to Microsoft, and they understand the value of a mostly open marketplace. Apple is run like a Soviet dictatorship, but lefties love them.

  3. I think it is AWESOME! Ever since Adobe got lazy with Flash (between 9 and 10) I hate using it. I remember calling them on an error with IE7 and they continued to say it was my platform…. low and behold they finally admitted the program was writing in a protected area of the memory… Long story short I dont trust Flash and would love to see this browser add-on become a memory.

  4. Apple laid the pimp hand to Adobe. I’m going to learn HTML 5–NOW!
    I’ve been using Flash since it was FutureSplash. I was into Flash waaaay
    back in the day, I even wrote a Flash book:

    It’s just time to move on. I will be using Flash to do drawings, just like I did in 1997.
    IMHO, it’s midnight and flash is turning into a pumpkin. RealAudio/Visual Basic/ColdFusion/PowerBuilder/… Flash is next.

  5. So when will we all start acknowledging that Apple’s tactics are as helpful to web application development as Microsoft’s IE6? And imagine if Microsoft takes the same tactic with Win Phone 7.

    • Staci D. Kramer

      @seanthorpe I’ve thought for a long time that people would rebel if you
      subbed the word “Microsoft” for some of Apple’s tactics. (Google, too.)

  6. For those of us who just want to publish content in Flash and not get too deep into development, this is causing a real pain. I do a simple slideshow style webcomic that Flash is perfect for production. But I’m trying to get other websites to carry it, and I can already hear the ‘does it run on iPad?’ questions coming. For me, and probably for many artist/publishers, it’s simply not feasible to republish in a second platform just to satisfy Apple’s greed. Bleah.