Discussion: Response to Sorry Adobe, you screwed yourself

The line has been drawn, a long time ago (IMO), and the argument has been transformed from a discussion about displeasure with Adobe by Apple, to something much more fundamental based on corporate and consumer philosophy. This post “Sorry Adobe, you screwed yourself” I think does a pretty good job of laying out the major issue(s) which have leaked from the shores of some distant corporate landscape to our very towns and streets.

Clearly Adobe and Apple have had disagreements in the past, just read the referenced article as I mentioned earlier, good read, but now the level of noise and vehemence has risen to an almost unbearable level, at least for me. I’m in the middle, like a lot of folks, not necessarily chosen a side, and would like to see everyone just get along for the benefit of the consumer. This is *not* the first time we’ve seen this issue though mind you. Adobe’s idealism matched against Apple’s iDealism, and we the consumers who drive the market, are left somewhat without a voice, again.

When Apple first released the iPhone, I was totally a nay-sayer. I didn’t think it was worth crap, there were issues with the OS, no multitasking, didn’t support alternate web-browsers, couldn’t run Adobe Flash Apps, so I thought I’d be a smart-ass and go Windows Mobile on VZW. Yeah, I showed Apple, and embraced Adobe alright. NOT!

Turned out WM5.x and 6.x didn’t do a very good job of multitasking anyway, and on VZW I couldn’t make a call while web-browsing or using actual “network” applications. I was more than disappointed. The saga of displeasure didn’t stop there. I upgraded from one phone to another with no relief in-sight of something so simple. Can I please make a call at the same time as browsing a web-page? “Of course sir, just buy the ‘mobile office package’.” Uh, no, that was dumb, I was stupid, and I locked myself into something I didn’t know enough about and believed would be fixed, “soon”. Problem is CDMA doesn’t let this happen anyway, not even 4G currently. SO what does this have to do with Adobe, Apple, and feeling in the corporate Flash-based recompiled crosshairs?

I spent the better part of the time of my contract looking for a web-browser that supported flash streaming just so I could watch Hulu on my XV6700 WM6.x based phone. I found this capability in SkyFire. It’s awesome. I loved it, full Flash environments were running, IN MY HAND! Yay…..except for that battery thing. I even had an extended battery on my beast of a phone, and maybe, I could get 1HR of streaming. Not happy, not good, and I couldn’t even make a call during such streaming activity, like watch Hulu with subtitles, and talk to someone. no, couldn’t do it. Then I realized I didn’t want to do it. No Hulu on iPhone, Flash not worthwhile on such a beast of a phone, with basically no power but costs a lot to support, and I was just unhappy wasting my time with it.

My next phone was an iPhone. I was not holding back from what I really wanted. I was a bit uneasy about all this non-adobe/flash business, but it’s ok. I didn’t need it. One thing I really hated having to admit, being a huge *nix/Linux/BSD dood was that Steve was right, at least in part, about the fact that I wouldn’t need Flash. It’s a nice to have, but honestly, I’m not missing it too much. So then we get to iPhone 3GS. Still no Flash. Nothing was really that big, but huge improvements in the apps and capabilities of the phone as a platform and I was indeed pleased with the upgrade, even though I still have yet to own one, but that’s OK. Summer’s coming and my contract is coming due, so it’s good timing. Then iPad comes, and still no Flash, despite Adobe’s efforts to get Apple to bend to it’s will. Then the iPhone OS 4.0 SDK changes.

The gloves, metaphorically for now, are off. At least that’s how I see it and it’s not so much as Adobe trying to pick a fight, despite many emails/posts might sound like it, Apple has become the antagonizer for now. I think it’s somewhat justified though, especially after observing all the craziness lately. I liken what’s happening now between Adobe and Apple like a fight between two long-time acquaintances who got drunk at a bar and that bone to pick was brought out on-display. Adobe has become a bit boorish in it’s quest to bring Flash to iPhone and related platforms in a seemingly unwanted way, and Apple has been left to respond as someone who has been this recipient of unwanted advice. (Problem is, Apple’s users have been delivering the same message, though not in such a huge way, more like “Meh, maybe you do, maybe you don’t, would be nice to have.”) So I can only imagine Apple and Steve Jobs feeling pressured to do something they feel/know/believe in their gut they don’t want to do. Like a blind date with someone you have an idea about before you go on the date. One might feel the end of the date is going to be inevitably not great.

So the fight breaks out, Apple hates the pressure, isn’t sure what to do next except to follow it’s gut, and voila. Here we are. The bill’s unpaid, the acquaintances are arguing over who gets the check, and both feel philosophically justified to pass the bill to the other party. For it’s part overall, I feel Adobe should back down and situate itself at the table. Not because I simply think Apple’s right, but Apple is a much more forward thinking company overall. Hell, their mantra is “Think Different.” Right? So for the good of consumers, Adobe should figure out how to end this battle and at least let Apple feel they’ve won. We, the consumers, just want to get our damn email, watch stuff on youtube, get some Hulu action, and share experiences via the web and whatever other mechanisms the web/network offers. The way “how” and what language the “bells and whistles” people have in and around their apps really doesn’t matter, so long as everything is reliable, responsive, and reasonably priced.

I don’t see how Flash itself helps us with *any* of those aspects, and I don’t see how Apple helps either, but I do think that the hardware platform and ultimately it’s maker have the last say for the guidelines in how it should be developed for what technologies should be allowed in. Apple certainly is trying to control the platform, they own it. It’s at this point where Adobe should concede. Adobe’s apps don’t run without a platform, and they can choose to play on the platform(s) or not, but they can’t choose how the platform should respond to their application, it is inherently the other way around.

Again, have a read on the referenced article here; http://innerdaemon.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/sorry-adobe-you-screwed-yourself/

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