Why Some Media Companies Are Quietly Cheering The Apple-Adobe Tiff

Apple CEO Steve Jobs discusses iPhone 4.0 in Cupertino

The Apple-Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) tussle is heating up to bizarre proportions, with Steve Jobs yesterday issuing a public defense for Apple’s anti-Flash stance. Call it a blog-heard-round-the-world, due to how quickly Jobs’ comments spread. Appropriately, much of the focus has been placed on Jobs’ technical arguments.

But there’s another big story behind this Flash fiasco that has successfully remained off the radar. It’s the answer to this question: How do the media companies — you know, those people who use Flash to put their premium content online everywhere from Wired.com to hulu.com — feel about having their primary delivery tool cut off at the knees?

Answer: Media companies hope to complain all the way to the bank.

First, a bit of disclosure. I’m the one who went on record explaining that the lack of Flash is one of the reasons I am not buying an iPad. So I’m clearly not a fan of the anti-Flash rhetoric for selfish reasons: I want my Flash content wherever I am. But I’ve spent the last few weeks discussing the Apple-Adobe problem with major magazine publishers, newspaper publishers and TV networks. Their responses are at first obvious, and then surprisingly shrewd.

This article originally appeared in Forrester Research.


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