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Adobe ads: Apple undermines the web

updated 09:25 am EDT, Thu May 13, 2010

Adobe campaign markets Flash as freedom

Adobe today ramped up a Freedom of Choice ad campaign criticizing Apple for its attitude toward Flash. The ads claim that Adobe love Apple but quickly turn to claim that the iPhone maker is "taking away your freedom" by denying the ability to see Flash on its devices. Promos are appearing not only online but in a full-page ad for the Thursday issue of the Washington Post, all of which lead to a letter from Adobe's founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock.

In the letter, the two make the unusual argument that Apple is being closed by not implementing Flash in favor of the more universal HTML5. By doing so, Apple "could undermine this next chapter of the web" that focuses on mobile; its approach makes it harder for anyone to publish what they want and on any device, the founders said. Adobe has promised HTML5 creation tools but has long argued that Flash was better as it didn't require web coding skills today.

The two point to anyone having the option of making their own Flash players, although both don't talk about companies making their own Flash development tools. They referred to PostScript and PDF both having fully published specifications and that as many as 72 competitors to PostScript existed before Adobe won out. Adobe in its campaign page adds that it supports H.264 and HTML5 as well, but Geschke and Warnock argued that Apple should carry Flash as a matter of supporting choice.

"No company -- no matter how big or how creative -- should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web," the founders said. "Adobe's business philosophy is based on a premise that, in an open market, the best products will win in the end -- and the best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than your competitors."

The statements come in somewhat ironic form as the company is trying to dictate what Apple should support. Apple's Jobs has contended that Flash is still proprietary as the format is created by only one company; HTML5 is created by a 355-member web standards group, the W3C, that includes both Adobe and Apple. The executive has said that Apple deserves control over its own local code but that the web should be independent of plugins.

As HTML5 is designed to at least partly eliminate the need for Flash, Silverlight and other plugins, Adobe has been frequently criticized beyond Jobs' remarks for having a conflict of interest in which it wants to avoid HTML5 replacing Flash whenever possible.

by MacNN Staff



  1. bonaccij

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Adobe's business philosophy is based on a premise that, in an open market, the best products will win in the end -- and the best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than your competitors."

    Isn't this EXACTLY what Apple is saying by endorsing HTML5?? Bwahahahahahahahaha!!! It just makes me laugh!

  1. Hillbilly Geek

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let me get this straight...

    Adobe is saying "Apple is taking away your freedom to use our monopolistic software"?

  1. c. haynes

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Must Be Workin'

    Must be workin' Steve... they're squirmin'. After all those years of making us Mac guys second class now you're getting it. Good riddance.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cry Louder, Adobe! We can't HEAR you!

    Apple's stance, I believe, boils down to quality and stability as much as anything. Certainly the user experience comes first for Apple. That's a given.

    Adobe calling Apple 'closed' for their staunch support of open standards, is a pretty interesting bit of self-deception. Flash currently doesn't ship, or even RUN on ANY mobile device, so WHAT are they complaining about?

    If Adobe would STFU, take all their cry-baby energy and channel it toward improving their products, maybe we'd listen. Maybe we'd care.

    With every one of these public whining sessions, my opinion of Adobe drops a little.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    disagree strongly

    FLV and swf is fairly open. there are many tools you can use to create them.

    Regardless the fact that it MAY be a resource hog and suck battery life.... I, as user of an iPhone or iPad should have that choice.

    As a web developer, HTML 5 is a pain. It does NOT WORK on IE (and I know you fanboys hate IE, but it is still about 60%-65% of the browser market).

    FLASH has it's place in web design... I used it less and less, and do more in JavaScript, but it is more time consuming and less friendly.

    It is true that if you want to use Flash, move to Android or Blackberry... but Apple should still allow users to make their owned informed decisions.

  1. trenchcoat77

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Adobe says...

    "Dey tuk er jerbs!"

  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    and how did you get Flash again, Adobe?

    Oh right, you got it when you bought Macromedia, who also owned Illustrator's main competitor FreeHand, which you killed. You know, the drawing app people STILL prefer to Illustrator.

    Competition? Riiiiiight.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I still don't understand why Adobe is

    making such a big deal out of this. If Adobe feels that Flash is so pivotal to the web then Apple and Apple mobile users will come out as the losers. Adobe has already shown that a version of Flash working on the Nexus One is pretty decent. All Adobe has to do is deliver the product, so why is Adobe so upset with Apple not wanting to use it. If all major mobile platforms support Flash, then it's a big win for Adobe regardless of Apple's stance. Apple cannot undermine the whole mobile industry. The industry will be shaped by what the consumers and developers want. It just doesn't seem likely Apple will deliberately ruin it's own business in the face of such overwhelming odds. Doesn't the mobile industry want to go towards HTML5? Somebody has to be willing to get the movement in motion or it won't go anywhere.

    I don't see why Apple shouldn't be allow to set its own rules on its own platform. If Apple is making a mistake, then Apple will pay the price in developers going to another platform. Apple may be taking a risk, but it is entitled to do so. It shouldn't have anything to do with Adobe at all. Sure, Adobe built that CS5 Flash compiler for apps but it still works on all the other mobile platforms so it's not a total loss. This fear Adobe has of Apple disrupting the entire mobile industry seems so unfounded to me. Consumers will be the ones that make that decision of whether their freedoms are being taken away.

  1. facebook_George

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2010


    I agree with Adobe

    "No company -- no matter how big or how creative -- should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web,"


    So Adobe, can I have updated versions of Freehand and GoLIve? Since you purchased Macromedia you have dictated that I can no longer use those great applications because you killed them in an effort to force me to use Illustrator and Dreamweaver.

    Oh, is that not what you were talking about? You meant monopolistic practices of OTHER companies and NOT your own. I get it now.

    Good Riddance to Adobe. You suck.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And the choice is NOT Flash

    Shove it.

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