May 13, 2010

Absolute Power vs. the Pirate Flag

Today Adobe ran a full-page ad in various newspapers articulating key company beliefs, and company founders John Warnock & Chuck Geschke–whose PostScript innovations were instrumental in the adoption of the Macintosh & desktop publishing–posted their thoughts on open markets & open competition:

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.

I’d like to add a few thoughts of my own.

First, all these conversations tend to get framed in terms of Adobe Flash. That’s a mistake. Apple’s decision to deny customers the choice of whether to use Flash on iPads/iPhones is just one part of a bigger, more interesting question: What maximizes innovation & ultimate benefit to customers?

Let me note that I’ve loved Apple computers since before I could ride a bike. The introduction of the Mac was a life-changing part of my childhood, and in college I got waaay too into identifying with the company (during its darkest days). The pirate flag, “Think Different,” “Here’s to the crazy ones…”–it all spoke to me, and deeply.

I love making great Mac software, and after eight years product managing Photoshop, I’ve been asked to help lead the development of new Adobe applications, written from scratch for tablet computers. In many ways, the iPad is the computer I’ve been waiting for my whole life. Discovering how to draw a car on cocktail napkins at the Algonquin Hotel at age 3 is among my earliest memories, and I can tell you exactly what I drew on my Etch-A-Sketch Animator in 1986. I can’t wait to create & share tablet experiences with my young sons.

Put more simply, I want to build the most amazing iPad imaging apps the world has ever seen.

But will I be allowed to do so? And who decides?

Several years ago we decided to fundamentally rethink our approach to digital photography workflows. Lightroom (a Mac-first Cocoa app, let’s note) was born. Apple introduced Aperture around the same time, and I said “Welcome, Apple” (Seriously)–noting that competition makes us all better. Since that time, each team has pushed the other to innovate, making each one better. (Lightroom, for example, led on 64-bit, beating Aperture and all Apple pro apps to 64-bit by nearly two years.)

Apple refuses to carry Lightroom in Apple retail stores. That’s okay; Lightroom is doing just fine against Aperture, thank you. But what if the Apple store were the only store? How would Apple customers get the benefits of competition?

These aren’t idle questions. When the iPad was introduced, I asked what apps you’d like to see Adobe build for it. Among the 300 or so replies were many, many requests for a mobile version of Lightroom. I think that such an app could be brilliant, and many photographers tell me that its existence would motivate them to buy iPads.

Would Apple let Lightroom for iPad ship? It’s almost impossible to know. Sometimes they approve apps, then spontaneously remove them for “duplicat[ing] features that come with the iPhone.” Other times they allow competitors (apps for Netflix, Kindle, etc.), or enable some apps (e.g. Playboy) while removing similar ones. Maybe they’d let Lightroom ship for a while, but if it started pulling too far ahead of Aperture–well, lights out.

And let’s forget competition for a minute & talk innovation. We have some really interesting ideas for multitouch user interfaces–things you’ve almost certainly never seen previously. Of course, “groundbreaking” almost inherently means “inconsistent with what’s come before,” and Apple can reject an app if, say, it uses two-finger inputs in a new way. They do this to preserve consistency–until, of course, it’s time for them to deviate innovate. (Think Different, as long as you’re Apple.)

The effect on product development & innovation can be chilling. Yes, it’s easy to point to 200,000 apps on the App Store; it’s harder to note all those that aren’t there–serious apps that will be created only if developers know they’ll get a truly fair shot to innovate & compete. Anything else strengthens alternative platforms while undermining the Apple platform.

You shouldn’t care about this stuff because you love or hate Adobe*. You should care because these issues affect your choices as a customer & a creative person.

Will my decision to speak publicly about these concerns harm our ability to deliver iPad apps? I don’t know; that’s up to Apple. But can you imagine a world where, say, constructively criticizing Microsoft could destroy your ability to ship a Windows application? It’s almost unthinkable, and yet that’s the position in which Apple’s App Store puts us.

To borrow from the Think Different campaign, “You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.” That’s what I ask for Adobe technologies: let them succeed or fail based on their own merits, as determined by customers.

* None of this is specific to Adobe in the least. Just yesterday, the organizer of Mac indie developer conference C4, Jonathan Rentzsch, announced the cancellation of the conference, saying that “[iPhone SDK] Section 3.3.1 has broken my spirit.”

Posted by John Nack at 8:48 AM on May 13, 2010

Comments

  • Paul Sinclair — 8:52 AM on May 13, 2010

    It´s all about the money all your nonsense will not change that.

  • Terje R — 9:05 AM on May 13, 2010

    As always a pleasure to read!

  • John — 9:22 AM on May 13, 2010

    I’m a bit confused, because based on what I read online (Mike Chambers blog), it sounded like Adobe was done with Apple and the iPhone. Adobe heard loud and clear that Apple didn’t want them and they were moving on.
    [The problem here has that the Flash discussion has overshadowed everything else. People forget that Adobe has been delivering a number of iPhone/iPad apps (e.g. the Photoshop.com Mobile app has been downloaded more than 7 million times, and Adobe Ideas for iPad was available on day 1 of the iPad shipping). It’s never been all about Flash. –J.]
    Now this big ad campaign (online & print). This doesn’t feel like moving on. It feels like wasting more resources that could be better spent improving Flash 10.1 mobile, Flash for desktop ( hello GPU acceleration?), and better tooling. The iPlatform is a minor part of the overall net traffic. It has a huge mindshare, but compared to the rest of the traffic out there, its small. Adobe should move on and keep focused. This is borderline “jilted lover, turned stalker”.
    [I disagree. It’s about the choices Apple (and other platform vendors, for that matter) can make to either maximize innovation or drive it away. We want to build the best, most amazing apps possible; capriciousness & uncertainty work against that goal. –J.]

  • Steven Alexander — 9:36 AM on May 13, 2010

    A lot of energy and money being spent on a p$#^&*g match. Just keep making great products and if some other company does not wish to make them available to their users the users will decide if they want them and will react appropriately.
    I too have long used Apple products but if I needed to change because something better was out there… bang I’m on it.
    Keep improving and developing the best imaging products out there.

  • Ron Bishop — 9:40 AM on May 13, 2010

    I think the “Lightroom not in the Apple Store” is a stretch. No one can buy Aperture from the Adobe Online Store. There are numerous places selling software where I can’t buy Adobe software or XYZ software. I just don’t shop there when looking for that type of software.
    [Right, but in those cases, you have a choice of stores. With the iPhone/iPad, you don’t. –J.]
    Apple makes the iPhone/iPod/iPad and runs the Apple Stores. If they don’t want to play with you, that’s their business. Find someone else to hitch your wagon to or make your own hardware.
    [That’s of course an easy, obvious conclusion: Adobe shouldn’t bring killer imaging technology to Apple customers, and instead we should require that you buy an Android or Windows tablet. Do you like that answer? –J.]
    When Adobe stopped making Premiere for Mac, Apple came out with their own app…
    [Since you mention that example, note that it’s Premiere Pro & not Final Cut Pro that’s shipping as a 64-bit native Mac app. –J.]

  • Craig Grannell — 9:41 AM on May 13, 2010

    I’ve got to say, I think Adobe’s made a huge mistake in its “undermine this next chapter of the web” angle. I have some sympathy from an app-dev standpoint (although I personally believe that write-once-work-anywhere almost always targets the lowest common denominator, resulting in inferior products), and, to some extent, from a publishing industry standpoint. However, from the web angle (a good chunk of the Geschke/Warnock ‘open letter’), Adobe’s just flat-out wrong.
    An open web is something that Apple supports pretty well on its devices, through Safari, whose WebKit guts are some of the most compliant around.
    [Of course, there’s an interesting discussion about what’s “open” and “standard.” Saying that Apple gets to add a bunch of proprietary extensions to CSS, then get WHATWG to rubber-stamp them as “standard” while not giving other companies similar access equals “open” doesn’t make it so. –J.]
    That Apple won’t support a proprietary (albeit extremely popular) plug-in in Safari for iPhone or iPad doesn’t in any way mean it’s undermining the web. It is, however, undermining Adobe’s reach, and that is why Adobe’s so angry in that area.
    [When Adobe adds capabilities to Web browsers, it’s called proprietary. When Apple does it, it’s called openness. When anyone asks questions about the latter process, they’re publicly crucified as saboteurs. –J.]

  • Troy Gilbert — 9:42 AM on May 13, 2010

    Well written, John. I think Adobe is doing the right thing by moving the focus on the engineering teams to other platforms but continuing the PR pressure on Apple. At the very least, they need to be called out as no more or less open than anyone else in this argument. They do not have the moral high ground, as much as some would like to believe.

  • Christopher Murphy — 9:48 AM on May 13, 2010

    John,
    This is the first post where I am going to have to politely disagree with you. I have read your blog since the beginning and generally have been quite supportive. Your comment about affecting my choices as a customer raises my ire. Adobe’s swallowing of Macromedia effectively limited my choices as a customer. The innovation you credit to competition between the Aperture and Lightroom teams is no longer available between Illustrator and Freehand, Go Live and Dreamweaver.
    [I hear you, though note that FreeHand was dead years before Adobe bought Macromedia. Adobe did kill FH, but via competition in the market. There hadn’t been FH development in years before the Macromedia acquisition. –J.]
    I believe a monopoly is bad for the consumer,but then again Bell just worked when it was the only game in town. When AT&T was broken up by a judge,the troubles began. I can see both sides in the Apple/Adobe debate. I have been a Mac user and now Apple stock holder for a while now. I read Steve’s Thoughts on Flash and agree that if he wants to make products without Flash he should be able to do so. If you want to make Lightroom better than Aperture (which is why I own LR rather than Aperture) you should be able to do so. Competition is good.
    [If you agree that competition is good, then we’re on the same page. I’m pointing out that Apple’s App Store policies have the effect of limiting competition & customer choice. –J.]
    Keep up the fine work, and even though we disagree on this one, we can still disagree in a civil fashion. Thanks for listening, and for all the content you create that I enjoy!
    [Thanks for reading & for the feedback. –J.]

  • Graham J — 9:54 AM on May 13, 2010

    I’m curious how Adobe can claim “consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content” just after they implemented support for Selective Output Control in their proprietary DRM.

  • Lance Hildebrand — 9:55 AM on May 13, 2010

    In a way this whole thing is frustrating to watch.
    I really like Apple, what they do, and what they continue to do. I’ve also been a fan of Adobe and use a few or their tools.
    What surprises me is that Adobe just doesn’t bypass this entire thing and leap frog into the future. With Flash they are facing down the barrel of being obsolete (same as major newspapers are today). New web technologies, which are being included in all browsers, are replacing a large chunk of what Flash is and what it can do.
    Because it doesn’t fit the desired good/bad new/old narrative, people have missed headlines like this one from last week: Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch: We’re Going To Make The Best Tools In The World For HTML5 –J.]
    I’ve been wondering why Adobe just doesn’t convert their flash program into an HTML5, CSS3, Javascript tool and framework.
    They could easily be the first, and possibly best, tool in this new era. Winning the hearts and minds of millions while embracing the changes that have come to the web.
    [Adobe has every intention of winning that battle. Of course, that presumes we’d build authoring apps for environments like OS X, where customers could freely choose to use them and/or other apps. On the iPad, Apple can simply say, “We don’t like your app (e.g. because it competes with one of our own), so customers don’t get a choice about whether to use it.” –J.]
    And Apple would not be able to stop them, nor would they probably want to.

  • Mingo Hagen — 9:55 AM on May 13, 2010

    “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 that exactly what Apple is doing?
    They created the strictly controlled App Store because they saw what came before: Palm apps, Windows Mobile apps all sucked. They want to keep control over the quality of the apps so they can insure their product (iPad, iPhone) will remain the “best product” and “win in the end.”

  • Phillip Kerman — 9:58 AM on May 13, 2010

    I’m sincerely sorry for those who hear me harp on this one point all the time–but if Adobe doesn’t “open” screen sharing (which they currently keep for their own competitive product but make it impossible for a developer like me to use it) then all the words in the world won’t make Adobe anything but a giant hypocrite.
    I think Apple’s shooting themselves in the foot and I really could care less if they win or lose. I’ve written off Flash on their devices.
    But, make no mistake about it: Adobe competes with their customers and they do so on an un-level playing field. Perhaps screen sharing is the ONLY technology where this is true… if so, then wow–this is easy… all Adobe has to do is open this and then I’ll shut up.

  • Andrew Morton — 10:03 AM on May 13, 2010

    John,
    when Adobe purchased Macromedia, they decided to discontinue both Golive and Freehand, leaving a lot of users with nothing but adapt to other applications. We understood it was because Adobe could not maintain similar applications even if with different workflow/philosophy, but that was clearly a move that limited the “choices” available.
    [As I noted above, I hear you, but note that FreeHand was dead years before Adobe bought Macromedia. Adobe did kill FH, but via competition in the market. There hadn’t been FH development in years before the Macromedia acquisition. I suppose Adobe could have kept selling FH, and personally I see no downside in doing so. The problem on the Mac side is that Apple keeps breaking compatibility with existing apps, meaning that even continuing to keep FH operational would consume very significant resources (at the expense of making Illustrator better–e.g. by adding what FH users find lacking). –J.]
    I see that is always easy to talk and comment about other companies “choices” rather than our own.

  • Kevin Newman — 10:10 AM on May 13, 2010

    It’s not a stretch, more like an extremely important consideration. Should you invest thousands to develop software for a platform, that may simply deny your entry to their exclusive market place (the app store)? Especially if you can’t use platform agnostic tools, and have to specifically create software for that platform, with no guarantee that it’ll even make it to the one and only market.
    That’s not a question I would take lightly.

  • Tyler Wright — 10:17 AM on May 13, 2010

    Loved the article, logical and well written. Some of the following comments are anything but. Move on from the iDevice market? Spend PR efforts on improving FP 10.1? Adobe has a balanced interest in Apple’s platforms compared to any others. And suggestions to treat Apple like a spoiled child that can be ignored isn’t a solution – the company has enough market-share that they have direct influence on the success or failure of their competitors.
    Agree with it or not, Apple’s decisions are a big deal to a lot of professionals and Adobe has been solicited to address them. Thank you John for doing so.

  • John — 10:22 AM on May 13, 2010

    [It’s never been all about Flash.]
    Come on now.. Adobe has apps on the iTunes store, and I have no clue if they were built in Flash for iPhone or straight XCode (i’m guessing Packager for iPhone), but to say its not all about Flash is a bit of a stretch. Its not about Flash the SWF format, but its about Flash developers getting their existing work on the iPhone. The “write once, run everywhere” is what Adobe is leveraging and as a Flash dev, that’s all I keep hearing. And I think that’s fine, except as mentioned earlier, Apple has made their thoughts known, and in my opinion, Adobe should move on.
    [It’s about the choices Apple (and other platform vendors, for that matter) can make to either maximize innovation or drive it away. We want to build the best, most amazing apps possible; capriciousness & uncertainty work against that goal.]
    Maximizing innovation and “openness” aren’t necessarily tied together. There are plenty of proprietary systems that continue to innovate (Coldfusion, for example) and attract customers and vice versa.
    On a personal note, I also want Adobe to built the best and most amazing apps.. however I want those apps to be tools for designers and developers. To be honest, when Adobe builds apps like photoshop.com mobile app, and Ideas, you’re actually competing against me (the developer).

  • Diesel mcfadden — 10:23 AM on May 13, 2010

    Adobe’s kevin lynch had the most reasonable response – We hear apple, we’re moving on, there are 70 other manufacturers that agree with us, We’ll see you with flash 10.1 in June.
    The stuff out of the ceo’s mouth and out of corporate sound whiny at best and idiotic at worst….
    Apple is 4% of the phone market, in sixth place. 16-25% of smart phones, in third place. Android will likely lead in unit volumes soon. And when they do, adobe will be ignoring apple and going with the volume leader like they’ve always done. To write once, support all platforms as they say, by definition means that they’re going with the least common denominator. Who would be the company in control of the Internet then? Well, it’d be adobe, just like for multimedia in a browser it is now.
    1) Why would apple want to put themselves in the crosshairs of this?
    2) i’d like to have the choice of a flash free world on at least one platform. The other 96% of phones can do what they want. And apple is going to take their lumps too if it turns out wrong, but they’ve sold 80m flashless devices in the last three years and no one seemed to mind, in fact it sold like gangbusters. Isn’t it at least possible in one universe that it isn’t despite apple’s restrictions, but because of it?. John, why are you arguing for Apple to the one choice of a curated experience? Given all the press, customers know what they’re getting into.
    It’s one phone and every other manufacturer is signed up with flash. If flash is that valuable and a customer must-have, this will turn out badly for apple, so what.

  • Diesel mcfadden — 10:34 AM on May 13, 2010

    The so what is that might turn out that apple is right. That customers want these mobile devices to be more like controlled game consoles than endlessly programmable and configurable PCs.
    (btw, you don’t get to set up a table in the aisles at safeway and start selling what you want either)
    If it’s about the right to choose, apple is offering the one thing that’s different. If it ran flash and was unrestricted, it would be like everything else. Let ‘em take a shot.
    You’re the one that’s suggesting everything be the same.
    Iif people don’t Iike it, they can buy a Different phone running rim, hp/palm, android, Microsoft by htc, samsung, lg, nokia, Dell, etc.etc.etc. I don’t see the issue. The res of the billion phones are the status quo.

  • Lisa Heselton — 10:44 AM on May 13, 2010

    Hey John! Not sure I’m following you on this one. Apple doesn’t really keep me from doing anything. I can run basically anything on their computer systems, and as for their proprietary devices (AppleTV, AirPort, and the ‘iDevices’), I could choose to void my warranty and hack the thing and do things not ‘sanctioned’ by Apple (& I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect them to support issues that might arise if I did anyways). This is not unlike other devices out there at all.
    I see it this way: Apple was asked why no Flash on the iPhone since they have a mobile browser; they finally responded directly to that. They had good points, bad points, and questionable points. Other stuff really kind of stretches the original purpose of the issue at hand and goes down a rabbit hole. Will they allow Lightroom? Well, they allowed Photoshop and Connect apps in the App Store, so… Which is it, an issue with what apps get accepted, with Flash being in Mobile Safari, with Flash compiling apps, what? I’d love to help Adobe out here, but they’ve yet to put out a message I can back, unfortunately.

  • Jim Pogozelski — 10:48 AM on May 13, 2010

    Well, it sounds like you and this Kevin guy will be making new non-flash apps for a variety of operating systems (plus non-flash web apps via html5 etc.), so that sound good to me.
    But as a pro-app user, what mobile or tablet app could I use? Games, calendars, videos, reading/eriting text (books), sure. But how is color-matching on tablet screens like iPad? Could LR’s Develop mode be used precisely there? (The Library mode would be nice, though). In other words, what pro-level apps could even exist for iPad? I don’t do much color correcting or retouch on that PS iPhone app.
    I just ordered the CS5 Master Collection update. Adobe doesn’t have to worry about loosing my money any time soon. Guess I still consider Apple and Adobe in the same category: “those companies that make the stuff I use”.

  • Ken — 11:00 AM on May 13, 2010

    John,
    Though I have no understanding of the geek speak and coding, etc.
    I am retired from the “corporate culture”. The irony of a pluralist culture, or if you will, is a paradox.
    Everyone clamors for diversity and the ideology of “freedom”, eg, marketplace ideas. Someday, some is going to make a law, “It is forbidden to forbidden”.
    Before I left my company of 19 years, My boss told me. “This is not your fathers company anymore”. How prophetic her words were. In two years the grandson of the company, sort of cook the books, sold it for a fortune on wall street. Bob Dylan said it well, “There is a slow train coming” and ain’t got no apple software to run it.
    True story: I had a dream 2 years ago about Apple and Mr. Jobs. In the dream, I saw a large home that sits upon a hill, and all the neighbors were clowns. A party was given by Mr. Jobs. He invited all the neighbors to his party. It was festive, alive, colorful, and outrageous in quality and style.
    Mr. Jobs sat at the head of the dinning table, and all the clowns were having the time of their lives. All were dressed in spectacular outfits, Mr. Jobs, however, was sullen, and drawn in. He appeared, like someone who was baptized in vinegar water.
    I look around the party, none like I had ever seen. All were joyful, except Mr. Jobs.
    Bless you Mr. Jobs, I hope you do not get what you demand of yourself.
    Ken in KY

  • Lazy Adobe — 11:01 AM on May 13, 2010

    Adobe isn’t really open. When Microsoft wanted to add PDF support to Office 2007, Adobe threatened Microsoft with lawsuits.
    Adobe are biggest hypocrites and liars.

  • Michael Woodruff — 11:05 AM on May 13, 2010

    All I know is I don’t have CHOICE in how to view by PSD thumbnails within my OS. I have to use that terd of an app called Bridge. You took away functionality I use to have to force me to use your app. This was not my CHOICE.
    In case you are wondering:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/hypocrite

  • Nicholas — 11:05 AM on May 13, 2010

    GoLive was an Adobe product. I can’t presume to know why GoLive was canned, but my guess is that it was under performing when matched against Dreamweaver. I would make the same argument for FH and Illustrator.
    [The market got to make the decision, and that’s as it should be. –J.]

  • Craig Grannell — 11:06 AM on May 13, 2010

    Nope, sorry, John, I’m not going with you on this, and your argument doesn’t hold water. I’m not sure what ‘proprietary’ Apple extensions you’re referring to, but if you’re talking about ‘-webkit’ properties for CSS, most of those centre around items that have been proposed for the spec and that Apple’s implementing in a ‘test’ fashion before the spec is confirmed. Mozilla and Opera are also doing the exact same thing.
    In some cases, these are ‘proprietary’ in the sense they do not exist in competing browsers or have an equivalent usable property. However, they are optional, have zero impact on the open nature of the web as a whole, and such things are sometimes then added to the entirely open standard. I’m sure if Adobe wanted to come up with a web browser core and create its own additions to CSS, it would be more than welcome.
    As for ‘adding capabilities to web browsers’, there’s a million miles between adding a new CSS3 property via a temporarily proprietary extension and bolting on a plug-in. Flash is an addition to a web browser. That it’s so popular means people mistake it for an open standard, but it’s ultimately little different to the likes of Silverlight and Shockwave, a far cry from HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

  • Edwin — 11:07 AM on May 13, 2010

    It would be nice to see an ad from Adobe in the next few weeks showing a split-screen of an Android phone and an iPhone showing some of the most popular sites (cars, fashion, museums, etc). The Apple side of the screen will be devastating.

  • uri — 11:10 AM on May 13, 2010

    I definitely agree with your points, John, but Adobe has a history of doing exactly the same when it fitted them (Jobs hinted at this in his post).
    Adobe delayed releases and even stopped production of some Apple products when Apple wasn’t doing so well (Photoshop 7, premiere, Enchore, etc).
    [Adobe didn’t delay the introduction of Photoshop or other apps, especially based on the perceived health of Apple. Starting from the first shipment of OS X 10.0 (which, let’s be honest, was unusable until 10.1), Adobe delivered a dozen apps in the first 18 months. As for the video apps, it’s true that Adobe took its eye off the ball, let Premiere founder for a while, and had to temporarily discontinue the Mac version until it could rewrite things from scratch. It then brought Encore and Soundbooth (new apps) to OS X. It’s popular to talk about whatever Adobe hasn’t done the Mac while ignoring whatever it has done. –J.]
    and the argument that Adobe helped Apple become what it is… well, it’s much more the other way around, Apple gave Adobe their first shot.
    [The point is that the companies worked together, and both the Mac & Adobe were much more successful together than they would have been apart. –J.]
    And when Adobe bought macromedia, upgrading was a killer for users that had both.
    All that history is nice gossip, but doesn’t really help.
    So I would say the problem is inherit in the way these companies do business (not the actual teams of people, like you, who are passionate about the products) – business first, ego a near second and users and products a distant third and fourth.

  • Wilhelm Reuch — 11:14 AM on May 13, 2010

    So if Apple opens the store for all kinds of apps but keep 3.1.1 then you/Adobe would be happy?
    That is what you are saying. You not arguing the cause of the CS5 Flash Runtime Packager any longer right?
    [As I said at the start, there are multiple issues here. They all relate to customer choice & developer freedom, but rather than keep re-hashing the pros and cons of Flash, I’m much more interested in discussing the bigger questions. –J.]
    As a consumer I love the appstore. I can buy apps and enjoy them without worrying about anything breaking. It is just so great.
    Yes, Apple act as a gatekeeper. But as a consumer I always deal with gatekeepers. With an unprotected appstore malware and other stuff would be common and I would need a local IT-nerd to tell me what to use and not to use. With the Apple appstore the consumer dont need the IT-nerd … freedom.
    [What do you say to my example of Lightroom? Do you like having a choice of photography workflow apps, or do you assume that only Apple knows best? –J.]
    As developers we always deal with gatekeeers. The IT-nerds, stupid bloggers and blog comments on the net and so on. Have one central gatekeeper as with Apple apstore can be seen as a risk (you can be totally blocked) – but at the same time this one gatekeeper has many eyes watching.
    And so Amazon is selling its Kindle app alongside Apple iBook. Mariner is selling Calc alongside Apple Numbers. There are many more examples.
    [Yes, but that completely arbitrary gatekeeping is a big problem that I’m attempting to bring to light. Do you want to try to build a business on a foundation that can be pulled out at any time–if you even get a chance to play at all? Do you want your ability to provide innovative interfaces to be at the mercy of an App Store bureaucrat? –J.]

  • Nicholas — 11:22 AM on May 13, 2010

    I am surprised this article has been criticized so harshly.
    Like most, I find corporate flag waving to be deplorable, but lets get real here. Apple is undermining developers.
    We’re stumbling into an era of appliance computing, and Apple’s corporate direction, whether intentional or not, is punching holes in the free and open web.
    The App Store alone is a complete tyrannical abomination, but the added lies spouting from even Jobs himself… I never dreamed Apple fan boys could be so dangerous. This is like some sort of fearful Nerd apocalypse.
    Good thing we have Android, it’s just a shame that Apple doesn’t want to play in the same school yard.

  • Nicholas — 11:31 AM on May 13, 2010

    I have a war on terrorism argument you might find agreeable.
    Stop swallowing the “Maintain Quality” argument. This utter bull.
    I’m certain Jobs has convinced himself he’s maintaining quality, but what we’re really talking about here is plain old neurotic control.

  • Scott Valentine — 11:37 AM on May 13, 2010

    Adobe isn’t claiming to *be* open, but to *support* open standards. PDF was released to the wild (part of it, anyway) to enable the already-huge user base to use a variety of tools. Acrobat is still what you use to author and edit PDF, but even web forum software has free plugins to generate PDFs.
    MS ran into licensing issues… it seems they felt they owned anything they could include in their installers.
    There is no hypocrisy in this particular example, and Adobe isn’t telling any lies on this point (not that I can tell, anyway). And this isn’t strictly about being open – it’s about trying to prevent competition with the thin veil of consistent user experience.
    Funny, but Flash had a goal to create a consistent user experience regardless of platform. And then the SWF specs were released so others could generate the format. And Adobe *never* tried to keep others from competing. What they did do was so totally blow away other attempts that people gave up.
    Apple is trying to accomplish the same thing by disallowing competition. Sounds a LOT like Microsoft to me.

  • Scott Valentine — 11:40 AM on May 13, 2010

    Really? I’m using OS 10.5 and 10.6, and I can see PSD files in the Finder app…
    So…
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/uninformed

  • Thom Hogan — 11:47 AM on May 13, 2010

    All this nonsense about competition, Flash, platforms, etc. is just that, nonsense.
    In your new position there’s really only one thing you mention in your article that I as a customer care about: if you create interesting new applications will Apple accept them at the store?
    Indeed, I’d say that the big problem with the iPhone/iPad store right now is that Apple is basically accepting filler willy-nilly and that tends to hide the good stuff. Just the other day I discovered that a friend had written and was selling an app that I’d be interested in, but even daily browses through the AppStore had failed to reveal it.
    I don’t mind Apple being the gatekeeper in terms of the technologies they allow on their platform. While Adobe may challenge those decisions because they have dog in the hunt, I don’t. I sincerely doubt that making a big issue of it is going to change Apple’s mind.
    But I do worry about the notion of Apple as the store gatekeeper. I do not want them to tell me what I can and can’t buy and install if it meets their underlying technology requirements. So, yes, you’re right to be worried about whether Apple will accept your app.
    But call me crazy, I’d actually like to SEE your imaging app before I make a call on whether Apple is shutting Adobe out unfairly or not. From my vantage point, Apple made the right call on Flash.

  • Scott Valentine — 11:49 AM on May 13, 2010

    What an enlightened response, Mark. I presume you have entirely switched to the GIMP or Aperture?
    Freehand lost due to fair competition; FLV became a de facto standard because it worked well; Adobe beat Apple to market with 64-bit pro application for Apple’s platform.
    My Macbook Pro will run for about 6 of its 7 hours using Photoshop (3D no less) and a web browser now and then (I toggle off wireless to save power).
    Recently, I recorded, on the same Macbook, a 15-minute video showing 3D in Photoshop with image-based lighting on a fairly complex model, with a browser and Dreamweaver running in the background. The machine never slowed down.
    I guess I’m confused by your hyperbole and angst. If you don’t like Adobe, simply refuse to use their products or services.

  • Shalom Ormsby — 11:50 AM on May 13, 2010

    Well played, Adobe. Bringing the love in response to Steve Jobs’ body-blow regarding Flash is the best imaginable response.
    Ultimately, those things that facilitate greater creativity will win in the end, and in this respect, Apple and Adobe are totally on the same side, innovating in parallel.
    Hopefully, there can be even more synergy down the road…

  • Terry Miller — 11:52 AM on May 13, 2010

    I am just wondering when will Adobe’s employees stop blogging about Apple’s AppStore decisions. It gets not just highly repetitive, but also distracts the attention of Adobe’s customers from the other products in the suite.
    You don’t like this is framed in terms of Flash, and you only mean the good of humanity? Then either quit Adobe and blog about Apple’s evils, or stay at Adobe and stop blogging about Apple’s evils. You can state that it’s not about Flash, but if it wasn’t about Flash, Adobe’s collective opinion didn’t give a damn what Apple did, before 3.3.1 happened. Not one post or protest.
    So, we get it. Innovation is hurt, Microsoft is even better, it’s not about Flash, yadda yadda. I think now we can safely move on.

  • Scott Valentine — 12:04 PM on May 13, 2010

    Hmmm… what if you were to replace ‘Apple’ with ‘Microsoft’ in this discussion? I mean, if Gates were to come out and say iTunes wouldn’t be allowed (or any other media app) because he felt it wasn’t in his users’ best interest, what would be the response?
    Global laughter and finger-flipping, I bet.
    [I think they’d find themselves channeling Uncle Junior Soprano: “Federal Marshals are so far up my ass I can taste Brylcreem.” –J.]
    Because people would see (as they have in the past), that MS was all about keeping competition at bay – IE bundles, for example – through unethical practices.
    As mentioned above, the quality issue is pure bullshit. If you want to call someone lazy, it’s Jobs. In a free market (the one that created him), poor apps fail and good apps succeed. If he allows Flash-developed apps, and they break because of a platform update, well, people will just not use those apps.
    They won’t care if the OS broke it or it just spontaneously failed – they just won’t use it. That drives the developers to keep up with changes and build future-proof designs. But Apple also has a way of never looking in the rear-view mirror to see what a wasteland is behind them whenever they update something.

  • Stéphane Mercier — 12:06 PM on May 13, 2010

    I think the AppStre policies can be divided in 3 kind :
    – those resulting from Apple’s agreements with telcos, limiting some features deemed domageable by their “partners” (no tethering, avoiding heavy bandwith usages etc.)
    – those about perceived decency : managing a digital media store often means walking a thin line between allowing a disproportionate amount of adult apps and barring mere provocative content. If Apple maintained an adult-only section, what would be allowed then ? i think Apple much prefer to avoid adult apps altogether than having to choose among porn apps which ones are really objectionable…
    And this stance doesn’t forbid web apps/site for mature content.
    – then their is the apps that aren’t allowed for technical reasons : use of private APIs, cross-plateform developement etc.
    I think it is misleading to confuse these 3 aspects. The App store policy inconsistencies fell, in their vast majority in the number 1 and 2 kind of rejection…
    Now for Adobe case…
    Apple wants developpers to use its own software, programing langage and API to create apps for its mobile plateform.
    As a pro using Creative Suite on a daily basis since the CS1 , I had to cope with it running in OS X Classic mode, in Rosetta, then forced 32 bits mode… Each time Apple had transitioned to a new major technology (OS X, Intel, 64 bits), Adobe played catch up with it for 2-3 years on their Creative Suite…
    Photoshop and Indesign being really good apps, that was bearable but, depending on their iterations, other apps were shockingly bad on my Mac in the process (DW or Flash among others)…
    So, I see how Apple would want to ensure that major apps developped for iPad aren’t palying catch up with its own APIs or with their Android/Windows/Symbian/WebOS counterparts… only because they depend on third parties tools to evolve and improve, because they depend on tools that aren’t leveraging each OS technology at the same level.
    That’s what happened on my Mac and that’s what Apple say they want to avoid for the iPad/iPhone…
    ……
    As for Flash as a format : it was a wonderful addition to the web (light animations, common video container) but if that role can now be fulfilled by open standard technologies, I don’t see why Adobe would be afraid to have Flash (as an app) produce content for those technologies… that is unless Flash isn’t about freedom and more about Adobe controling – like Apple – what can read a content and what can produce it…

  • Tink Tink — 12:16 PM on May 13, 2010

    errr i’d like to be first to put my name down for a t-shirt with that ad on please!

  • Rob — 12:19 PM on May 13, 2010

    Best of luck in your new duties, John. I hope that even though you may not be tasked to the PS team, you’ll still keep us informed about PS and LR developments. Your blog has been a great resource us PS and LR fans.
    [Thanks, Rob. I plan to keep on keepin’ on. –J.]

  • Glenn Williams — 12:38 PM on May 13, 2010

    hey John
    well put.
    I agree wuith you totally on this.
    all the best fella.
    g

  • C. Latona — 12:49 PM on May 13, 2010

    I don’t understand all of this!
    This the kind of crap PC makers, and Microsoft do! NOT Adobe and Apple, these two corporations should be working together to kick the PC makers and Microsoft with their inferior products to the curb! From the lips of Steve Jobs, apple is not a software company, we make hardware!
    I think that Apple should let the customer decide! Adobe also should make the best software they can, and stop trying to dominate the market, in recent years Adobe, seems like they have gotten very predatory!
    I think Jobs has embarrassed himself and I can’t believe Adobe answered him!
    What a shame!

  • ray hatfield — 12:57 PM on May 13, 2010

    It’s unfortunate that you’ve resorted to these ads, which are disingenuous at best, trying to rally support by accusing Apple of “taking away your freedom”.
    I actually agree with at least some of your actual arguments on the merits. Stop embarrassing yourselves with this kind of drama.

  • cas — 12:57 PM on May 13, 2010

    Sorry, it’s all about
    THE STATUS SYMBOL & MONEY

  • Ron Bishop — 12:58 PM on May 13, 2010

    I knew where I was getting my apps when I bought my first iPhone and my later iPhones- I’m good with that choice.
    If Adobe wants to put it’s killer imaging technology only on a Windows or Android, that’s their business decision. They’ve made those decision before without my input!
    And it’s great that Premiere Pro is a 64-bit native Mac! I never had any doubt Adobe could do it. They could even create some killer imaging technology for the iPad using the iPhone SDK – if they wanted to!
    If Adobe has to argue it’s point – it’s already “lost”. Because Apple doesn’t have to change anything in order to “win”

  • imajes — 12:59 PM on May 13, 2010

    Actually Bridge is a really useful and powerful application.
    On a PC I use Directory Opus [the Daddy of all File browsers] and that can see PSD thumbnails. There was a problem with Explorer and saving PSD files and the only solution from what I recall [this is going back to PS7!] was to drop thumbnail support in Explorer.

  • Morris — 12:59 PM on May 13, 2010

    Apple have always been a ‘platform’ company. This has been clear from the outset. It is something I have always understood and joined in with, right from the start. I really, really trust them with this.
    Within this framework they have always been about differentiating themselves from the status quo, with an orientation clearly geared towards those who share a similar care for the details, polish and, dare I say, ‘humanity’ of using computer-based products.
    This is not the case with Adobe. I understand that Adobe would like to have a ‘platform’, but it is not why their original customers joined in. I cannot speak for everybody of course, but I am beginning to feel tired of being taken on this tangent and putting up with all the quirks of ‘Adobe platform’ products.
    For instance, at a marketing level, I am one of what appears to be a growing minority (if there is such a thing) of Adobe customers who prefers to upgrade my core tools one by one when I need to, just like I do in ‘real life’.
    For a long time now Adobe has made it clear that this makes me a ‘non-ideal’ customer, when really I am just the kind of customer that has for years been your bread and butter. I pay you a lot more money this way, just for the privilege of spreading out my cash flow and being able to make deliberate and considered choices. I wish there wasn’t such a huge discrepancy for those of us who prefer this approach over the ‘Suite’ idea, which feels a lot more like a ‘lock-in’ strategy than I’m sure you would care to admit.
    From a product point of view, the platform strategy at Adobe has clearly moved focus from PDF to Flash. It seems to be the only thing Adobe cares about any more. It is becoming an annoying mantra, especially when the deeper content most of your customers work with every day is clearly not shifting to Flash and hopefully never will. Even InDesign appears to be mostly about Flash this time around, which is just kind of silly!
    So this is my open letter to you, John Nack and Adobe. Re-focus. Platform is not your thing. Perhaps leave the constant stretching of novel file formats alone for a while. I realise that you are a Photoshop guy, but I have had too many years battling, for instance, all those arcane preferences and leftovers from postscript (the original Adobe platform) looking for just the right ‘recipe’ to keep the pre-press guys at bay. I don’t like the convoluted Adobe version of colour management. It is too hard for people to learn, and too easy to make mistakes. I want it all tidied up. I want modal dialog boxes to go away. I want Photoshop to stop telling me that ‘an unknown program error has occurred’ just because I quit Safari. I want the feeling that I am using kind-of-Microsoft programs to go away.
    The defensive tone that Adobe is taking at the moment is unpleasant, and belies a misunderstanding of what so many Adobe customers are all about. You are beginning to take me for granted, and getting distracted by something that may have been a mistake in the first place.
    So, please, instead of being frightened of Apple, I would suggest that you have a re-listen to what they are on about.
    I need Apple more than I need Adobe.
    Quite frankly, they understand me better than you do.
    And if you ever make me choose, I’m afraid you will lose.

  • David Dennis — 1:10 PM on May 13, 2010

    You should have written the ad and official statement instead of the guys who did it – you wrote a much more involving and interesting essay than they did.
    If I were Apple, I would sell Lightroom in the stores alongside Aperture. They do sell the various CS5 collections, which includes Premiere, competing with Final Cut Studio, so I’m not sure what their problem is about Lightroom.
    The best argument against Adobe is that after all this time, you still don’t have a version of Flash that will run on all current generation phones.
    [That’s not an argument against Adobe; it’s an argument against running Flash on phones. Re: the former, I’m annoyed that Flash-related discussions obscure the bigger points. Re: the latter, Adobe is arguing that customers should have the *choice* about whether to run Flash on their devices, figuring that people are smart and that if the experience sucks, they won’t use it. –J.]
    The requirement for phone Flash is a 1ghz processor! The Motorola Droid was only just replaced, correct? I have a friend who bought one less than a year ago. I guess he will never be able to run Flash. My business partner, who bought an iPhone 3GS less than a year ago, will never be able to run Flash even if Apple eventually approved it.
    So here is what I don’t understand. The Flash client is free. You gain nothing from people who use Flash. No royalties are charged for the distribution of Flash movies (and of course if they were, nobody would distribute them.) People do buy Flash, as part of your Creative Studio releases. Flash is still useful and will still be purchased and used by millions.
    So why defend Flash? Why not build a HTML5 tool and be done with it, making everyone happy?
    Come to think of it, couldn’t you create a code generator that took Flash and made it into HTML5? You could then use HTML tags to either run the Flash or HTML5 version depending on which was available. That would solve your problem, and Steve could not prevent you from doing it. Since the programming language (ECMAScript) is basically the same, it would basically convert Flash’s DOM to the web’s. It might be tough but I don’t see it as impossible.
    [I think that’s a great idea. Just as the Packager for iPhone was to let you leverage your skills and tools to target a different runtime environment, a “packager for HTML5″ feature could do what you suggest. (Full disclosure: I don’t work on that team and don’t speak for them.) –J.]
    Just a thought.
    D
    PS I definitely look forward to seeing Photoshop for the iPad, especially at a consumer-friendly price :)
    [I hope it’s something Apple will let us build. –J.]

  • Micheal — 1:22 PM on May 13, 2010

    So if everyone is suddenly talking about openness than wouldn’t it be time that Adobe starts to port it’s applications to one of the most open and widely deployed OS’s in the world called Linux? There are no Jobs’s and Gates’s there who make your life as developer miserable. And yes there is a market for it…

  • kiigklew — 1:44 PM on May 13, 2010

    for years you downplayed 64 bit at adobe….. now in every posting you write “look we do 64 bit…. apple not”.
    [Wrong answer, guy. Look at everything I’ve written on that subject from the start. I said that 64-bit is amazing under certain circumstances & irrelevant under others. –J.]
    you say everything that fits your needs… like a flag in the wind you change your opinion very quickly.
    you don´t deserve any respect….
    [Try reading and paying attention before you attack me. –J.]

  • rc — 2:03 PM on May 13, 2010

    I have to say.. reading people say I -need- apple kinda freaks me out..

  • jp L — 2:11 PM on May 13, 2010

    You want something that folks can write once and run everywhere.
    Does that mean Adobe Flash won’t include features that only Apple supports?
    Honestly, Adobe’s ad looks ridiculous. Adobe should be trying to make Flash run the best they can on other platforms and when people see that it’s not what Apple says it is (which should be in about a month if Adobe keeps to what they promised last week), they will make their own choice.
    There are so many Android phones and RIM phones and Palm phones (not as much. :)) and there will be microsoft phones. If Flash runs great and everyone else has it, then Adobe has nothing to worry about. People will buy less Apple products and then they will see.
    Why does Adobe need to run these passive agressive ads two weeks before the widely available Flash 10.1 beta on Android. The new ads just look like Adobe is scared that Apple is right and that other vendors will follow along when they seen their products’ experience compromised by Flash.
    If you have a great product, believe in it and deliver. You haven’t delivered yet.

  • jp L — 2:15 PM on May 13, 2010

    And John, If Flash is great for cross-platform, will Adobe be writing Android and Blackberry versions of mobile Photoshop in Flash?
    [No. That was never our intention, and Flash has never been pitched as being well suited to every app development situation. (It’s funny: People defending Apple’s recent licensing changes have tried to say that if one *could* use Flash to build an iPhone app, you’d then *have* to use Flash to build *all* apps. It’s like saying that if gay marriage is legalized, we’ll all be made to gay-marry. Pretty absurd.) –J.]
    I suppose there might have been reasons Adobe used native App development on the iPhone instead of the Flash packager that was used for the 100 rinky dink game ports to iPhone (good thing now).

  • Morris — 2:41 PM on May 13, 2010

    Sorry about that. Have a good day.

  • C. Latona — 2:51 PM on May 13, 2010

    This is my second post on this subject, after reading most of the post on this!
    I think I should say I have always been a fan of Adobe and more recently of Apple! Apple and Adobe should take heed, we now have the most techie people the world has ever known! I am willing to bet that there is a Steve, a Thomas, or a Bill, waiting for their turn to rise to the top, and could put you both out of business Both companies provide very good jobs for thousands of employees, do these jobs have to go overseas as well.
    Adobe and Apple need each other, and the posturing is unnecessary! It’s just dogs pissing on their territory!
    There are so many of us that love are Apple products, who love, running Adobe products on them, what are you doing?
    Yes, I know That Adobe make software for both platforms, but I would be willing to bet that they work better on Apple Computers, I’ve used both!

  • Daniel Pimley — 3:04 PM on May 13, 2010

    I’ve been using Photoshop CS5 on OS X for a week now, and what I see is a great professional application, of which everyone on the Photoshop team should be immensely proud.
    Machiavelli asked “Is it better to be loved or feared?” Well, clearly Apple does not fear a confrontation with Adobe, so you’d better make Apple love you. Produce killer apps for the iPad and become a true partner to Apple, then you might have some leverage on your matters of concern. Do you think power brokers respond better to a whisper from a trusted partner or to the jeers of an enemy?

  • Brady J. Frey — 3:09 PM on May 13, 2010

    “…let them succeed or fail based on their own merits, as determined by customers.”
    I’m your customer, I buy your software – I buy 10 licenses for my company actually. Flash has failed us for years with it’s lack of accessibility, standards, and closed environment. It failed to meet my merits, I was training my designers away from it for 3 years. Move on.

  • Peter Villevoye — 3:11 PM on May 13, 2010

    I totally agree with this reaction.
    Adobe has let the marketeers decide too much on their development. In the name of “Efficiency” al roads lead to Flash now. Adobe’s is getting a one-track mind. Why aren’t there any proper (visual) tools or export methods to develop websites with HTML, CSS and Javascript ? (Like the really innovative Lab feature in Dreamweaver to design for multiple screen sizes, which was dropped from the final CS5 version.) Why don’t they jump on the Typekit bandwagon, just like they did with all those popular CMS’s ? Why was SVG dropped ?
    I hope Adobe will understand that applications like InDesign, Illustrator, PhotoShop and Catalyst might just as well offer design and export features that hook onto HTML, CSS and Javascript. And have true “open content”, running without “semi open” runtimes, and sitting right on top of a “closed” but powerful system.
    There’s no Flash light at the end of the tunnel; it’s the reflection of a glossy iPad screen…

  • Jim H — 3:13 PM on May 13, 2010

    So, the three years of NO flash available for the iPhone, that was about Apple too?
    I think you should, if you’re all about freedom, make Flash open source. Maybe the developers out there can find out what’s wrong. Otherwise, I hope you have a robust program to make design tools for HTML5, javascript, and H.264.

  • Peter Villevoye — 3:14 PM on May 13, 2010

    I totally agree with this reaction.
    Adobe has let the marketeers decide too much on their development. In the name of “Efficiency” al roads lead to Flash now. Adobe’s is getting a one-track mind.
    [That’s not the case. I’ve posted some notes in comments above, and the reality will become clearer soon. –J.]
    Why aren’t there any proper (visual) tools or export methods to develop websites with HTML, CSS and Javascript ? (Like the really innovative Lab feature in Dreamweaver to design for multiple screen sizes, which was dropped from the final CS5 version.) Why don’t they jump on the Typekit bandwagon, just like they did with all those popular CMS’s ? Why was SVG dropped ?
    [I can’t speak to every point, but re: Adobe’s SVG Player, it just didn’t get the job done in terms of competing with Flash Player. Plus, the capability was always meant to be something built into Web browsers. –J.]
    I hope Adobe will understand that applications like InDesign, Illustrator, PhotoShop and Catalyst might just as well offer design and export features that hook onto HTML, CSS and Javascript. And have true “open content”, running without “semi open” runtimes, and sitting right on top of a “closed” but powerful system.
    There’s no Flash light at the end of the tunnel; it’s the reflection of a glossy iPad screen…

  • Scott Valentine — 3:18 PM on May 13, 2010

    And if you ever make me choose, I’m afraid you will lose.
    Really? Does that mean you don’t find Adobe’s actual tools better than the competition? Because if you choose your applications based on spite, I’m afraid nobody loses but you.
    Alternatively, if you choose your tools for moral reasons – you like or don’t like a given company’s business practices – then I applaud you. That is exactly how a market should behave, and the offending company should change its practices.
    In this case, though, I feel Apple is taking the low road and keeping the market from choosing. Apple is fostering this market strain to create division and force people to have opinions, and it is 100% about Jobs’ pockets. Don’t be fooled into thinking Apple is on your side… they are taking the approach that you as a consumer are not able or willing to make intelligent decisions.

  • Lufra — 3:20 PM on May 13, 2010

    Sorry, but what if Adobe tried doing it all in XCode? Then, as far as I understand, anything would go? No?
    [No. One’s app can be rejected for any number of reasons. –J.]

  • Greg Paulhus — 3:24 PM on May 13, 2010

    “We have some really interesting ideas for multitouch user interfaces–things you’ve almost certainly never seen previously.”
    Great. I look forward to the Adobe mobile touch OS platform and phone/tablet devices. Competition makes us all better after all :)

  • Coyote — 3:26 PM on May 13, 2010

    The fact is that Apple doesn’t control user’s choices. People can (and do) write web sites and software using Flash. Adobe is insisting that all hardware must run their software, and that is, IMHO, as oppressive as anything Apple is being accused of.

  • Herman — 3:30 PM on May 13, 2010

    Hang in there mr. Nack :)
    Thanks for the openness!

  • eddie — 3:32 PM on May 13, 2010

    Mr. Nack sez: That’s of course an easy, obvious conclusion: Adobe shouldn’t bring killer imaging technology to Apple customers, and instead we should require that you buy an Android or Windows tablet. Do you like that answer?
    I love that answer. With no competition from Adobe, an opportunity opens up for enterprising developers to provide their own, hopefully better, “killer imaging technology” to a very desirable user base! And once incubated on the iPone/iPad, port it to Android or whatever.
    Poor Adobe. No matter how you slice it, they lose.

  • Coyote — 3:33 PM on May 13, 2010

    Nack writes: [Of course, there’s an interesting discussion about what’s “open” and “standard.” Saying that Apple gets to add a bunch of proprietary extensions to CSS, then get WHATWG to rubber-stamp them as “standard” while not giving other companies similar access equals “open” doesn’t make it so. –J.]
    That’s a fairly nasty accusation against WHATWG. Can you give examples of Apple-written proprietary extensions that WHATWG ‘rubber-stamped’?

  • Matt — 3:33 PM on May 13, 2010

    If you don’t like Apples policy, don’t develop for them. Don’t make photoshop for the iPad. Make it for the Android and HP tablets that are due to come out.
    That can be your choice, the customers will then make their choice.
    Apples party has rules. The rules can be unclear which is frustrating, but that’s life developing for the iPhone. If you don’t like it, choose other platforms.
    Trying to present a through-line between Apple not selling LightRoom in their stores, and them potentially not allowing Photoshop into the App Store is clutching at straws.
    To my knowledge, Apple has only rejected apps that replicate ‘core’ functionality. For example replacing the phone/messaging/music elements of the phone. In many cases those apps were eventually accepted.
    The app store is relatively new, and growing at an almost unimaginable rate. Apple won’t get it right every time, I imagine most decisions happen realtime. Rapid expansion and development fly on the edge of utter chaos – I’m sure Apple is simply trying to keep the platform stable.
    Apples policy doesn’t actually limit user or developer choice. It simply poses a threat to Adobes dominance. One small corner of the digital world that you can’t completely rule as you’d like.

  • addicted — 3:33 PM on May 13, 2010

    I like this post a lot. It points to the biggest issue with Apple’s stance. That it is the only gatekeeper to their platform.
    All the flash noise, unfortunately, has taken precedence (and there I disagree with Adobe’s stance, primarily because Apple is pushing a more open standard, HTML5, but mostly because its only now, 3 years after the first delivery of the iPhone, that Adobe is looking like it may be able to ship Flash on a mobile platform. I dont blame Apple for staying away from Flash, although 3.1.1 was a bit too much).
    Unfortunately for people like me, the App Store is a success. Developers are developing great apps on it, and more importantly, are being able to build their sustenance of it. The same cannot be said of Android.
    Now, whether the App Store’s success is because of, or inspite of Apple’s gatekeeper policies is an open question. I would like to believe its despite those restrictions) Apple clearly believes otherwise. At this point, however, its impossible to say if they are wrong.
    In fact, I think the current situation is ideal. Its a perfect experiment with the App Store model on one side, pitted against the Android open model on the other.

  • Ben — 3:35 PM on May 13, 2010

    Let me be the first to say this. I can’t wait for the day where I can have a flashless web.
    Even though Java is Open sourced I still hate Java applets, and I hate Flash.
    That’s all.

  • Scott Valentine — 3:37 PM on May 13, 2010

    You *do* know that h.264 is a format, right? That format goes into a wrapper like MP4, FLV and MOV. The Flash player handles this format quite nicely and can export it under FLV.
    Dreamweaver has code snippets and libraries for JS and other language.
    HTML5 is on the horizon, and Lynch said Adobe plans to develop tools for this.
    The SWF format spec is available for anyone to develop to (with some proprietary features for runtime).
    Apple’s hardware restricts your choices for development. So, on the one hand you have Adobe building development tools. On the other hand you have Apple saying you can’t use Adobe’s development tools.
    Imagine you are a tire manufacturer, and one car company decides they won’t allow your tires on their car. Now imagine they don’t tell you this until after you’ve spent time and money to develop a modified version of your tire specifically to match those cars.

  • Martin — 3:42 PM on May 13, 2010

    It seems to me that if people stop assuming that the iPhone/iPad is the only mobile platform out there, all of these arguments pro/con Flash all vanish.
    I’ve got a Windows Mobile device sitting next to me that doesn’t run Flash. Nobody is calling either Microsoft or Adobe out on that.
    Seems to me there’s a double standard here – Apple’s platforms are treated separate from all the others, with its own set of rules. I don’t see that as being reasonable or appropriate. They’re not even the number one platform in the market – they’re #3.

  • Arlen — 3:51 PM on May 13, 2010

    I saw the full-page ad, and Mountain Dew almost flew out my nose when I got to “What we don’t love is anyone taking away your freedom to choose….how you create it…”
    If you really believe that, can I ask when I’m going to get my updated copy of FreeHand, a competing product that was my preferred tool, and which Adobe bought and then pulled off the market, thus taking away my freedom to choose to create with it?
    You’re no different from Apple, despite all your hand waving. You want my money, and you’ll stoop to anything you can get away with to get it.
    [Please see my comments above regarding FreeHand. The market bailed on FH long before Adobe did. –J.]

  • Martin — 3:54 PM on May 13, 2010

    But Apple isn’t the only gatekeeper to their platform, as you nearly conclude in your post.
    Apple is actually going the same route as Google is going with Chromium – the open, unfettered path to the platform is via open standards that Apple themselves are putting major weight behind and leading the charge to support. The less open, less unfettered path is through their store, which is a path that Google may or may not even offer.
    Seriously, HTML5 was the preferred and exclusive path to developing for the iPhone at the outset and Google still uses that path. Apple is enabling that path above all other, but everyone in the name of ‘openness’ appears to be willfully ignoring the most open path to the platform – I’m guessing because it’s significantly harder to monetize. I don’t see that as a particularly noble rationale, however.

  • LB.j — 3:55 PM on May 13, 2010

    I guess the one person not talking on these forums, blogs and posts are the consumer. I’m not a tech guru and I don’t make apps or work for Apple or Adobe. I honestly don’t care about what’s under the hood of my phone. As long as I can make a call, listen to my music and surf the web I cool with it. I’ve had a few phones and I’ve jumped on the iPhone 3G a year and a bit ago. It does what I need it to do. Case closed. The fact that I can’t see “Flash Sites” on it isn’t as big deal as many people make it to be. I’ve got a laptop and desktop if I need to see Flash and even then, Firefox blocks out many Flash sites for me anyways so again I’m not missing anything. A lot of what I’ve read is about limiting choice, but for real, what mobile system even has Flash running on it (beyond the beta’s) Even if Apple had said yes to Adobe, Flash would still NOT be on the iPhone OS. Another point on choice is the fact that if you want to be able to see Flash sites in the future, you can buy Black Berry, Android, Palm or MS. Apple isn’t stopping anyone from jumping onto another OS. If anything they have given ME the option to walk out the door and into the arms of a number other companies. I and the other 80 million or so iPhone buyers have CHOSEN not to. The best phone will win, then there will be a 2nd place 3rd place and so on. All of these phones want to be different and that is where Choice is for the consumer. We can pick what we want. Apple didn’t lie to all of us and have Flash on the OS and then take it off. It wasn’t there, though again it maybe on other phones..which again Apple can’t stop people from purchasing. Adobe, don’t give Apple all the power. Make Flash run WELL on everything else. You’ve said it yourself that you’re walking away from the iPhone. Trust me for the people that want to buy the iPhone, we don’t miss you.

  • eddie — 4:05 PM on May 13, 2010

    Funny, but Flash had a goal to create a consistent user experience regardless of platform.
    As a user, I have problems with that goal.
    I don’t care that some app on my iPhone is the same as it is on, say, an Android. In fact, I’d be disappointed. I want apps on the iPhone to be different than their counterparts on other devices, because I chose the iPhone for the experience it promised. I don’t want an Android experience on my iPhone, I want an iPhone experience.
    This whole “write once for many platforms” is just a way for developers to maximize profit. Nothing wrong with that, but it does lead to platform commodification. Adobe’s strategy has been to provide technologies that enable platform commodification, and this is obviously counter to Apple’s strategy of platform differentiation, ergo, no Flash on the iPhone/iPad. Hooray!

  • eddie — 4:12 PM on May 13, 2010

    Funny, but Flash had a goal to create a consistent user experience regardless of platform.
    As a user, I have problems with that goal.
    I don’t care that some app on my iPhone is the same as it is on, say, an Android. In fact, I’d be disappointed. I want apps on the iPhone to be different than their counterparts on other devices, because I chose the iPhone for the experience it promised. I don’t want an Android experience on my iPhone, I want an iPhone experience.
    This whole “write once for many platforms” is just a way for developers to maximize profit. Nothing wrong with that, but it does lead to platform commodification. Adobe’s strategy has been to provide technologies that enable platform commodification, and this is obviously counter to Apple’s strategy of platform differentiation, ergo, no Flash on the iPhone/iPad. Hooray!

  • jbb — 4:13 PM on May 13, 2010

    Its hard to understand folks coming out against this argument. Perhaps its clouded because its Adobe thats making it…
    Don’t you want to able to decide what programs you run on your own computer (in this case iphone/ipad)? Imagine if Microsoft modified Windows licensing terms to prohibit certain software like iTunes, or OpenOffice? And yet this is exactly what you have with the iphone/ipad. Apple decides what you can do, because they control the app store. I would like to be able to decide for myself whether to run flash or not on my own device (I mostly wouldn’t). Or to choose Lightroom over Aperture (I think I would). Apple have shown they are prepared to torpedo applications, which surely must put the chill on companies who would have to invest heavily in developing an application for the iphone/ipad- how can they know if it will get accepted or even stay accepted? This can’t be good for end users, so even if you hate flash and think its good riddance, imagine another application instead (one not made by apple), and then see how you like it if Apple takes a dislike to it and scuttles it. If you dont want flash on your phone, then dont install it- the choice should very definitely be yours alone.
    Unfortunately Adobe are in a bad position to make this stand, having lost a lot of support (in particular mac/linux) with poor flash software (among other things) denting their image. The future drm in flash thing will only make it worse for them. But ultimately, I think they are on the right side of the argument- we have the right to decide what programs to install and run on our own devices.

  • eddie — 4:14 PM on May 13, 2010

    The market bailed on FH long before Adobe did.
    And the market is now bailing on Flash.

  • thgd — 4:15 PM on May 13, 2010

    If Apple wants to be the only company in the universe without Flash on their mobile devices, so what. Obviously a decision that sinister is guaranteed to result in their demise.
    We can all sleep better now, knowing that Adobe is freeing us from Apple’s tyranny, while bringing new meaning to the open and free web.

  • eddie — 4:18 PM on May 13, 2010

    oops, sorry for double post.

  • Kendall Gelner — 4:20 PM on May 13, 2010

    “Would Apple let Lightroom for iPad ship? It’s almost impossible to know.”
    Actually it’s very easy to know – the answer is yes, as long as it used the existing API’s in an approved manner.
    In fact there are very few application ideas you cannot tell with near certainty what will be accepted. While it is possible some new idea you have for multitouch might be disallowed (which seems very unlikely given the gesture API in place now to create custom gestures), you’d simply change that aspect of the app, not scrap the whole thing.

  • james — 4:23 PM on May 13, 2010

    John
    While I have often been critical of Adobe on your blog, I fully agree with you on this. Apple could let the user decide if they want flash on their phone or pad – if they like it, they can have it; if they don’t it won’t go anywhere but taking that choice away from customers makes me think that Apple has other reasons for not allowing flash (why would I buy apps if I can play flash games for free online etc.)

  • Lazy Adobe — 4:36 PM on May 13, 2010

    http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2010/05/absolute_power_vs_the_pirate_flag.html
    “I discovered yesterday that Internet Explorer crashes on my wife’s PC once or twice a day. The Windows 7 Reliability Monitor says Adobe’s Flash Player is to blame (yes, it’s up-to-date)”
    “Look, Apple and Microsoft say you have reliability and security problems with Flash Player. A whole lot of my readers say the same thing. And so do I. We’re all sort of waiting for you to acknowledge that the number of times people have a negative experience with Flash is too high.”
    Adobe, hypocrites and liars. No wonder Steve Jobs said Adobe were lazy.

  • jl — 4:36 PM on May 13, 2010

    awesome.

  • Scott Graham — 4:39 PM on May 13, 2010

    Maybe someone else should start an “App Store”?

  • Stephen Best — 4:39 PM on May 13, 2010

    As a long time Mac user, it’s not the first time Apple has dropped technologies (interfaces etc) occasioning not a little aggravation … but full credit to them for moving the industry forward. Frankly it’s time for Adobe to move on from Flash.
    As an erstwhile developer though I do feel some disquiet for their censorship and uneven handling of apps on their iPhone/iPad platforms, even if I haven’t been personally affected. It wouldn’t kill them to provide a back-door for those apps it doesn’t see fit to carry on their (now poorly named) iTunes Store.
    On an iPad version of Lightroom, I say go for it. It’s not something that personally attracts me but it’s clear that we’re in for a paradigm shift in computing interfaces and I’m sure I’ll be using the technology Adobe develops for this one way or another in the future. If Adobe makes Lightroom for iPad compelling enough, I’m sure it’ll be on Apple’s store.

  • mdhughes — 4:40 PM on May 13, 2010

    Apple has been very clear about how to get apps in the App Store: Use Xcode, Cocoa, and follow the HIG. If you use an ugly cross-platform UI, you’ll get rejected. If you use non-native tools, you’ll get rejected.
    There is an alternative: Ship for other platforms. Android would love to have you, and you’ll get to prove to Apple that you’re capable of making good software.
    But until you can pony up with a quality Flash on desktop Mac, and a quality Flash on some other mobile platform, no amount of whining, begging, ads, chocolates and flowers, or boiling Apple’s bunny will make them love you.

  • cookie — 4:53 PM on May 13, 2010

    Go read Gruber’s response.
    http://daringfireball.net/2010/05/nack_control
    Adobe, instead of wasting tons of money on useless ads and wasting energy on rich boy games, why not put that money into improving your products by getting rid of the bloat.

  • FD — 4:56 PM on May 13, 2010

    http://daringfireball.net/2010/05/nack_control
    “I’ve made a similar point myself, as far back as 2008. But it’s folly to pretend there aren’t trade-offs involved — that for however much is lost, squashed by Apple’s control, that different things have not been gained. Apple’s control over the App Store gives it competitive advantages. Users have a system where they can install apps with zero worries about misconfiguration or somehow doing something wrong. That Adobe and other developers benefit least from this new scenario is not Apple’s concern. Apple first, users second, developers last — those are Apple’s priorities.”
    “But this assumes that one’s choices start and end with iPhone OS devices. The hottest competition in mobile devices is between platforms, not within Apple’s. This doesn’t work out well for Adobe, because they don’t have their own mobile device platform — their plan is to create a cross-device meta-platform built atop device platforms created by others. And, worse (for Adobe), Adobe (or at least many people at Adobe, like Nack) knows that the best mobile platform, the one whose aesthetic and audience most closely align with their own, is the iPhone OS.”
    “That’s exactly what’s going on. Apple is testing whether a tightly controlled and managed app console platform will succeed or fail based on its own merits, as determined by customers. There are different levels of competition. Apple has made its choice about how it wants to compete, and there’s nothing Adobe can do about it — other than proving Apple wrong by shipping compelling excellent software for Android.”

  • Greg Paulhus — 5:18 PM on May 13, 2010

    “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.”
    Really? It seems to me Adobe’s business philosophy is to whine and complain that Apple isn’t playing fair. Seems like the best product is already winning (and you know it, hence the massive PR campaign). Maybe you folks should take your own advice. Innovate and compete and let an open market decide. If Android/Flash is great and wins, then so be it. By the way, Android/Flash can win while Apple also wins, there’s lots of room in the market. Is there one car company? Is there one restaurant chain? No. There’s variety and choice, and each business gets to set their own rules and then customers choose. Why is Adobe afraid of actually competing?
    [It isn’t. You’ve missed the repeated point. –J.]

  • Jake l — 5:26 PM on May 13, 2010

    And before you post another one of these, whether or not you agree with any of the individual comments, think about the feelings behind these responses. We are your customers.
    [If I weren’t aware of that, why would I be working around the clock to reply to these comments and to try to engage in illuminating discussions? –J.]

  • Paul Sydney — 5:30 PM on May 13, 2010

    Wow John, I sure you knew you where going to get lots of comments on this one!
    As has been mentioned before, love you blog John, respect is due!
    In saying that, the main beef Mac users have with Adobe is competition, when you have some Adobe creates spectacular software. InDesign is wonderful, Lightroom too. But only because of Aperture and Quark.
    Now Premiere was so bad for Mac it was a joke, once FinalCut got up to speed, Adobe have “fixed” it.
    Illustrator is such a piece of shit its not funny, I am running CS5, and I have the same issues I have had for years with it.
    Now Flash. Show of hands for Mac users who HATE flash because it sucks so bad.
    So Adobe, if you love Apple so much, why aren’t you running ads showing a jailbroken iPhone running Flash?
    Show us Flash running well. Then and only then can you whinge that Apple are being unfare.

  • CEOs — 5:42 PM on May 13, 2010

    “Would Apple let Lightroom for iPad ship? It’s almost impossible to know.”
    What I don’t get is that Adobe’s not some lone developer trying to get a semi-porn app into the App Store.
    Are you really saying that the CEOs of Adobe and Apple can’t get together and have this discussion?

  • Morris — 5:43 PM on May 13, 2010

    Thanks, Scott, for your reply.
    I’m sorry if the last statement of my post sounded at all unpleasant. It was not intended to come across as petty (although, as you may have been able to tell, there was an element of frustration prompting my post today, triggered by what seems to me to be a quite defensive advertising campaign on Adobe’s part).
    What I meant to communicate is that, personally, Apple’s platform is a much preferred option for me than Adobe’s platform, both from a philosophical and a practical point of view.
    While I am a great admirer of many of the things Adobe has achieved (in particular, InDesign is a highly-valued part of my every day), I would like Adobe to integrate much more willingly and cohesively with Apple’s now well-established OS X platform, rather than taking their own road both with what can often be a messy and frustrating experience using the Creative Suite, and now what appears to be a consuming interest in positioning Flash (and AIR) as the potentially dominant platform for media delivery and ‘rapid development’ or ‘cross-platform’ software applications.
    Based on my own personal values and experiences, I simply meant to indicate that if Adobe think their ‘platforms’ are a close rival to or substitute for Apple’s platforms, from my point of view that is not the case. If it ever became necessary, I would almost certainly migrate to alternatives to Adobe products before I migrated to alternatives to Apple products.
    And I think a lot of Mac users, particularly in Adobe’s traditional markets, may also feel like this, and may not respond positively to Adobe’s stance of trying to take the high moral ground here.
    This campaign feels very much like the first push in a wrong direction for Adobe to me, and my own reaction has not been in Adobe’s favour. I think they are already making a mistake by pushing the wrong emotional buttons, and they may be misjudging their Apple customers’ willingness to go along with the plan.
    I guess another way of saying this is that if Adobe think I might stop using Apple products because I don’t have access to the Adobe ‘platform’, and are trying to leverage this to their advantage, they are mistaken.
    For me, this is principally an issue of Adobe’s focus. If they are an Apple applications developer, with a commitment to integration with the Apple experience (which is how they started out), I think they have nothing to worry about. If they drop the ball while trying too hard to create their own platform, they may not want to get to the point where people have to choose.
    This is basically my response to John’s main concern (expressed unfortunately as fear and doubt). I do not expect Apple to have a significant problem with software products that compete with their own (other than normal competitive motivations), as long as they are built on either their desktop or touch OS X platforms, or work well in Safari. That’s what the platform is there for. That’s what Apple want to happen. From Apple’s point of view, I don’t think Adobe’s platform is anything at all like the same thing as Adobe’s products.
    I do however think that it would be better for Adobe to realise this, and stop poking, just in case. There’s nothing more predictable than a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Paul Sydney — 5:43 PM on May 13, 2010

    Now imagine, that for years the car manufacture has had that brand of tyres blowing up for years and making the cars crash…

  • John Daggett — 5:45 PM on May 13, 2010

    Of course, there’s an interesting discussion about what’s “open” and
    “standard.” Saying that Apple gets to add a bunch of proprietary
    extensions to CSS, then get WHATWG to rubber-stamp them as “standard”
    while not giving other companies similar access equals “open” doesn’t
    make it so.

    John, I think you’re confused. When the Webkit team adds CSS features
    they propose them for inclusion as a CSS3 module. With a spec in
    hand, other browser vendors can work on an implementation (or not) and
    refine areas of the spec that are poorly defined or in some way
    unclear, in conjunction with other members of the CSS working group,
    Adobe included. That’s what an open standard means. No rubber
    stamping by the WHATWG group is involved.
    John Daggett
    Mozilla

  • James Thiele — 5:54 PM on May 13, 2010

    John Nack wrote:
    We want to build the best, most amazing apps possible; capriciousness & uncertainty work against that goal.

    When I use Hulu’s Flash on Mac OS X Safari 4.latest it crashes about every three or four shows. Pandora’s Flash hangs every hour or two. Almost every day Firefox tells me that a script is causing Flash 10 to run slow. Doesn’t seem “best, most amazing” to me – there’s a lot of “capriciousness & uncertainty” to Flash.

  • Phil Brown — 6:00 PM on May 13, 2010

    Nice article, John.
    I wanted to suggest you and your readers have a quick glance at a recent news article I saw:
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2895039.htm
    Markets versus business. Ignoring the specifics the underlying message is about letting the market function. Adam Smith (for the economists in the audience) would be proud and point out he said it all a long time ago.
    Some control is necessary to ensure a functioning market. Too much control, however, kills the market and makes it unfair. Consider if the US government decided to use Soviet-era style 5 year plans and controls over business and the market place would be unimaginably different to those of us used to current arragenments.
    Consider that Apple has the right to do whatever they want with their products. Of course they do. But, as consumers, we have the right to vote with our wallets and tell companies what we want. It’s nice to talk about the consumer not knowing what they need or a company working it out. Cool. The reality is, we want choice. With choice we, as consumers, have overall control. Apple doesn’t like anyone having control of anything.
    I’m quite sure that SJ would close the web if he could figure out how. iWeb with access only via Apple products to Apple approved sites…you get the idea.
    Here’s to competition and innovation!

  • Phillip K. — 6:16 PM on May 13, 2010

    The talk of ported apps misses the point: Adobe focuses on the mass market (Windows) and then ports over to the Mac/iPhone. The results are apps that do not leverage the strengths of OSX/iPhone OS and are therefore apps that do not bring a full competitive advantage. Native apps are the Holy Grail (in this case Cocoa), while Adobe’s Flash is the antithesis. Competition? Apple’s platform demonstrates the power of competition: the iPhone has turned the world upside down for the better. The use of native Cocoa dev tools empowers developers to create the best apps for the platform and thereby effectively increases competition. You have a better platform? Bring it on! That’s what it’s all about, not this Adobe crap of cross-platform development which is in reality a lowest-common-denominator approach.

  • Gluon Spring — 6:29 PM on May 13, 2010

    I hate Flash and never expect to need or use it. But Apple’s actions hurt far more than Flash. Apple has taken a stand sure to hamper innovation of every sort. There will be no CodeTek Virtual Desktops (preceding Spaces by 5 years) or Quicksilver on iPlatforms, because Apple forbids such innovation. If you want to innovate, Apple is saying to you, “Go somewhere else”. Personally, I’m taking their message to heart: http://ipadmakesmesad.blogspot.com/

  • Marc Zeedar — 6:31 PM on May 13, 2010

    John, I agree you have a right to be wary of Apple as the sole gatekeeper of their store, but can you give one example of a major app like Lightroom that has been reject because it competes with Apple? All the rejections I’ve heard about had valid reasons: violating APIs, adult content, no functionality, duplicate functionality, or going against the cell network’s interest (I,e, a tethering app when tethering is not allowed by ATT). Yes, there have been a few silly rejections for things like an icon that looked too much like one of the Apple’s or something, but those are rare and minor and in most cases were resolved. But apps that people said Apple would reject — like Kindle for iPad or Opera Mini — were accepted even though they compete with Apple.
    While I don’t agree with all of Apple’s positions or decisions, I don’t think they are being unreasonable in having some standards for store acceptance. Follow their guidelines and can’t imagine they would turn you down. If they did, publicize and the public would be on your side (unlike with the Flash debate).

  • Scott Boucher — 6:49 PM on May 13, 2010

    Have to disagree overall. Adobe seems concerned that Apple is limiting customer choice by excluding some development tools but, if they’re right, then why is the iPhone/iPad/App Store so successful?
    [The store provides a generally great shopping experience (with the exception of not allowing tryouts & refunds), and I like using it for the same reasons I like buying music on iTunes. That doesn’t mean, however, that it couldn’t be better. –J.]
    Customers seem to be pretty darn happy with the selection that Apple is allowing in the app store. Maybe that’s because they’re extremely discriminating about what apps they allow so the user experience is consistently great.
    [I don’t think most people would agree that they’re extremely discriminating (see numerous other comments here). –J.]
    If Adobe wants to compete go work with other platforms. Other tablet devices are coming out and there are plenty of other mobile devices available on the open market. If Adobe technology is indeed better, then it should help drive the success of those devices and steal away customers from Apple. So far, however, Apple seems to have a pretty clear idea of what their customers want. Whether you agree or not, they’ve built the entire iPhone/IPad/App Store from scratch and, in my book, that gives them the right to make any call they want.
    [At no point have I questioned Apple’s right to run their platform as they see fit. I’ve questioned the wisdom of running it as they’re presently doing. –J.]

  • DKC — 6:52 PM on May 13, 2010

    One minor point. Adobe can spend $223,000 to run a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal but can’t rewrite the Contact Sheet Plug-in for 64-bit because it would cost too much. Hmmm.
    [We didn’t rewrite Contact Sheet for 64-bit because we think there are now better alternatives (Bridge, Lightroom). There are alternative contact sheet tools for Photoshop if you’re interested. –J.]

  • Mac Smurof — 6:58 PM on May 13, 2010

    Morris wrote 12:59 PM on May 13, 2010:
    [Apple have always been a ‘platform’ company… [snip] …they have always been about differentiating themselves from the status quo, with an orientation clearly geared towards those who share a similar care for the details, polish and, dare I say, ‘humanity’ of using computer-based products.]
    Wilhelm Reuch wrote 11:14 AM on May 13, 2010:
    [snip] …As a consumer I love the appstore. I can buy apps and enjoy them without worrying about anything breaking. It is just so great… [snip]
    What self-centered views! You might accept being patronised for your personal computing needs. But please consider that there are people who make their living by using Apple and Adobe products and who require to be able to make their own choices in order to survive in their particular area of enterprise.
    For instance, Apple has decreed that iMacs and lower end laptops shall only be available with highly glossy screens. Anyone with an understanding of colour management would agree that those screens are not suitable for such tasks. Highly reflective screens are also a huge strain on the eyes and represent a severe vision hazard for people required to stare at them for long hours, such as imaging professionals and students. This is utterly not innovative design. iPads will be viewed in a huge range of environments. Innovation would have been a display that can be viewed in all environments without distracting reflections.
    But iPhones, iPods and iPads now make the money for Apple. Money rules, be it Microsoft, Adobe or Apple.
    Graphic designers, printers, photographers, musicians and other creative people helped Apple survive its darkest hours. Now that the money is with consumer devices and mobile computing (not yet ready for professional imaging), Apple is turning away from imaging professionals who have invested in their products and depend on them for their income. Yes, there are choices, such as buying displays from other makers. But then portability is reduced. Perhaps giving up the benefits of OSX altogether… for me not a great choice… yet.
    All companies make decisions based on maximising profit and not on their customer’s needs, unless its the masses.
    Lack of choice never gives the best outcome for end users in the long run. Oh, the land of the free… how can Americans not be united in this view?! Owning stock, perhaps…

  • rockaway — 7:06 PM on May 13, 2010

    I can’t agree that the market is always the best judge of what’s a good app vs a bad app. Case in point is Flash itself. As others have said, Flash video on my Mac causes the Mac to get hot, the battery to drain quickly, and sometimes it completely hangs the browser. But since I don’t have a choice for many of the web sites, I’m compelled to endure this sub-par experience. When I do have a choice, like on YouTube or Vimeo, where I can select HTML5 video, I have a better experience.

  • Dash Riprock — 7:12 PM on May 13, 2010

    John, Good article… but I can’t get behind you on this.
    Yes, we all know the app store is arbitrary and capricious, but I’m good with that. I understood those were the rules I needed to play by to become a developer.
    You want to build the best iPad imaging app ever? Bring it. And if you want to use some “groundbreaking” multi-touch technology, good luck with that. First, I didn’t know Adobe was so deep into multi-touch IP. Secondly, you already know the outcome. Who’s to blame when your app gets rejected? Apple?
    Apple is willing to take the chance that you can build the best iPad imaging app ever by using their tools. What you view as innovation, Apple probably considers an inconsistent UI experience… and I would guess that millions of potential iPad customers would also.
    [I’d rather let them make up their own minds. –J.]
    But feel free to build it for Android and WP7… Apple is also willing to take that chance.
    If Adobe truly is innovative, surely they should be able to figure out how to get “the best iPad imaging app ever” on the iPad… without using Flash of course.
    [That’s the plan. –J.]

  • Andreas Rønning — 7:14 PM on May 13, 2010

    Lots of “I think” and “I hate” and “I love” here. Keep a lid on your deepest subjective opinions, eh? They have absolutely no value. You are not “the market”. What you may dislike others may love and vice versa. It is your choice to not view flash apps. It is not your right to deny others that opportunity, and that is what the market rule is about.
    Posted from my iPhone.

  • giuliano — 7:22 PM on May 13, 2010

    I always read and appreciate your writings. And i think your opinions are coherent and sincere. In the same time I think Adobe reasons for this war about freedom are totally money driven. I love and believe in freedom and I hate to see it used as an arguments for reasons like those (from Adobe as from Apple or everyone else).
    Quality-control gives Apple and his users an advantage. For Apple this advantage translate in large quantity of cash, for users in a good user experience (that is I think the main reason Apple is successful in this times). Inter operability and cross-compatibility are good things too (and give Adobe and developers who use Adobe products an advantage), but also I think that in this contest (mobile market) and in this moment (with this crappy, unstable, intensive flash player) the former attitude (quality-control) is better for the user.
    About the nazi attitude Apple has towards is App Store: in a way, they suck, but if you look at the other famous store (the android one) this nazi-control shows also a positive side: more control equals to more quality (stability, performance, security). Don’t misunderstand me: lots of app in the apple app store are crap, but not unstable dangerous crap. Other aspects of Apple behavior (censorship, anti-competitive decisions about which app to allow, are not pardonable, but I blame them to the radical way Apple has to manage things, sometimes is good sometime isn’t).
    About the cross-platform/iphone developer tool present in the new Flash CS5: apart from te fact that I think Apple reasons are business-driven too, the argument made by Jobs about leaving control of the platform to third-parties is a sounding one: you can work for and love Adobe products, but its recent history goes against you. The today Adobe CAN be expected to left behind developers not adapting to new Apple advances for the iPhone OS, because is the exact same thing Adobe did with the flash player AND with the thousands of little irritating bugs the CS Suite brought with it in the last years (don’t deny that).
    What I think is that Adobe right now is simply paying the price for its behavior of the past years: not improving the flash player and not fixing the CS apps because they felts in a secure position (being the player and the suite a de facto standard and/or products with no real competition). Now that they risk to lose their “monopoly” (forgive me for improper use of some words, english is not my language) they begin to work to improve the flash player (has it seems the case with the next release you are working on), now that their image as a quality company has begun to be obfuscated by critics from lots of Apple users (all the photoshop-bugs related sites, the critics to fireworks etc.) they begin to fix and improve (has seen on the news CS5). You (as a company) now will have to rebuild your image as makers of (real) great software, in the meantime, you will have to do a bit of purgatory :) Is what it happens when you act bad :)
    As a web designer and mac user, i sincerely have to admit that in the last years I hated a bit Adobe, for the problems of the flash player and the myriad of bugs of photoshop., It may sound harsh, but I think you deserve some bad publicity and company image problems, at least it seems to help you understand you have to do a better work on your products and not survive thanks the heritage from the past or a dominant position.

  • Grayz — 7:31 PM on May 13, 2010

    [That’s of course an easy, obvious conclusion: Adobe shouldn’t bring killer imaging technology to Apple customers, and instead we should require that you buy an Android or Windows tablet. Do you like that answer? –J.]
    Yes, I do. Apple is betting it’s business on whether it can provide a better experience to their users than the current PC centric ecosystem.
    Adobe’s business is entirely based on the PC ecosystem. This whole Adobe vs Apple fight is because Apple isn’t freely allowing all incumbents to continue the same role that brought the PC ecosystem to where it is today. I don’t see this as a bad thing.
    Please please do what you threaten, and start delivering killer imaging applications for other platforms. If you, and the rest of your partners in the PC ecosystem can produce anything near the quality product that apple has, then you will have my business.

  • Xavier Yaffar — 7:34 PM on May 13, 2010

    The iPhone topped customer satisfaction once again in 2010 sans Flash.
    Those that disagreed with Apple’s philosophy have moved on to Android.
    So you see, there is a choice in the mobile space.
    Now, if I wanted to drop Illustrator or Photshop, what would I replace them with? You have a history of buying and dismantling the competition.
    Where is your outrage in holding me hostage to your tools?
    I’d love for you to drop OS X support so this market could see competition again.

  • Hamranhansenhansen — 7:49 PM on May 13, 2010

    > Apple’s decision to deny customers
    > the choice of whether to use Flash
    > on iPads/iPhones
    No, Adobe denied us that choice by not shipping FlashPlayer for mobiles before the Web+dog moved on. If FlashPlayer were running on every non-Apple mobile, then publishers wouldn’t be moving their video out of Flash at high speed (I have worked on many of these projects) and I would have a reason to upgrade by Flash CS3 to CS5, and market pressure would force Apple to accommodate FlashPlayer.
    Or, if Adobe/Macromedia had open sourced FlashPlayer in 2003 when Apple open sourced WebKit, then Flash might be running on all mobiles right now.
    If Flash CS5 had an HTML5 export target, this would all be moot. You can run where you want if you respect vendor-neutral standards.
    Adobe: you have to blame yourself for your failures. 3 years of blaming Apple and still no FlashPlayer on any mobile is truly embarrassing.
    > What maximizes innovation
    Apparently, the answer to that is Apple. They brought the HTML5 Web and H.264 video to ARM mobiles many years ahead of Flash, which still is not there. They brought native apps to consumers who have never installed a Mac or PC app. They built the first successful tablet.
    > & ultimate benefit
    > to customers?
    Vendor-neutral standards are the ultimate benefit to customers. I never had to buy a particular brand of CD or DVD player to play a particular music album or movie. Yet all over the Web I’m told by publishers to “get Flash!” Which also means “get on a PC!” I never had to update my CD or DVD player to enjoy a particular disc, yet even on a PC I’m told I need an updated FlashPlayer. A CD or DVD player never had 4 critical security holes in a year.
    Flash is just not consumer-ready. In consumer electronics, the idea of shipping a proprietary DVD is insane. HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray killed the DVD.
    > Yes, it’s easy to point to 200,000 apps
    > on the App Store; it’s harder to note all
    > those that aren’t there-
    You know, Adobe has nothing to do with App Store. You make a *Web app tool*. You should be making HTML5 out of there. Standardized Web apps. You should be the #1 premier way to make HTML5 Web apps for mobile deployment on all devices. You missed that opportunity.
    It’s hard to point to any apps that aren’t in App Store because every developer with 8 lines of C code is already on there. Apple’s tools are the same rapid tools that a non-programmer used in 1990 to create the Web itself. C is cross-platform. There is a market for apps because the apps are deployed in such a way that they are friendly to actual consumers, not I-T folks. App Store is successful. Adobe does not own it, does not belong to it. Stop acting like you have a right to any of it.
    It’s also easy to point to the zero viruses and malware on App Store, after 2 years of deployment on always-on devices. At security conferences, iPhone malware has been shown off and the guy goes “of course, this can’t be deployed to phones in the wild.” After Windows XP, and now 7 still runs 80% of XP viruses, it doesn’t matter to me if developers have to walk on hot coals to ship on iPhone.
    This is consumers, now. Not PC users. The fact that iPhone apps are as easy to buy and use as music and movies is a major feature.
    I know Adobe is filled with really smart people and some great technology. But you’re killing yourself with your Flash habit. Nerdy Web plug-ins are *over* and good riddance. Nonstandard video is *over* and good riddance. The dominance of the PC and PC industry companies such as Adobe over the online world is *over* and good riddance. Please come into the future. The consumer Web is 10 times bigger than the nerd Web. There is more money to be made by an Adobe that respects standards than one that tries to put a choke-hold on content.

  • JC — 8:00 PM on May 13, 2010

    John,
    If Adobe want user to have choice, why don’t you guys finish the flash plugin for iPhone release it as an app for jailbroken iPhone.
    If it works great, they a non techie consumer like me will go to apple store and stand in line to ask a “genesis” to help me jail break my iPhone, which he won’t. And I will pay some hack at a kiosk across the apple store to do that for $20.
    May be Apple will reconsider this flash nonsense when there are enough users jailbreak their iPhone to have flash.
    Sounds like a plan?
    Jimmy
    P.S. I want all those flash kids sites work on my iPhone and iPad, please.

  • Robert Werthman — 8:14 PM on May 13, 2010

    I’m sorry but I’m glad that there’s someone strong enough to take on Adobe. I’ve never liked Flash, it slows down my browser when I have many tabs open. My HTPC worked perfectly until I streamed flash video which caused it to overheat and shut down every time. I had to install al larger fan to fix the problem. This was an easy fix but a good illustration of how Flash is a power hog. I have an iPhone and an iPad and I don’t miss Flash one bit.
    Additionally, as a consumer and heavy software user I have never been very happy with Adobe. Many of their applications are intrusive and run annoying routines in the background. I’m forced to use Photoshop and Dreamweaver but fortunately I’m not being subjected to Flash any more.

  • Charbax — 8:16 PM on May 13, 2010

    How likely is Adobe going to open-source the Flash, merge code into HTML5 and make it a real open standard?
    I think Apple is bad, I think they are doing a disservice to their consumers (sheep) by not supporting Flash.
    I though have been also angry at Adobe for years for not providing hardware acceleration for Flash on embedded ARM processors, on Linux and on 64bit AMD processors. But if Adobe now seriously fully support ARM and Linux, and even better if Flash finally becomes a real open standard, even open-source and free, then I may forgive Adobe.
    In anyways, I think it is ridiculous of Apple and Adobe to each claim to be open and support fair competition. When Apple certainly never has been open and never has supported open and fair competition and Adobe also has a history of working with Microsoft to create a lock down on alternative reliable web browsing platforms.

  • eddie — 8:21 PM on May 13, 2010

    …boiling Apple’s bunny…
    Oh man… classic.

  • Robert — 8:21 PM on May 13, 2010

    NO you are absolutely WRONG!
    > We’re stumbling into an era of appliance computing, and Apple’s corporate direction, whether intentional or not, is punching holes in the free and open web.
    This has NOTHING to do with the “free and open web” which Apple supports more wrongly than Adobe. This so called argument from Adobe is about native applications on the iPhone OS and how they are built.

  • Robert — 8:26 PM on May 13, 2010

    I’ve actually been browsing major car sites all week on my iPhone.
    It’s called a mobile site and they work well. 90% of flash content is fluff and not really all that desirable.

  • Morris — 8:33 PM on May 13, 2010

    Thank you for your response. I apologise if my comments seemed self-centered to you. You obviously have your own frustrations, and see this from a different point of view.
    I do think choice is good, but it is also inherently limited. It occurs to me that Adobe as much as Apple probably need to make choices on behalf of their customers about what they think is important in their products, and leave other needs unmet.
    I did not mean to cause any offence.

  • Scott Valentine — 8:33 PM on May 13, 2010

    You’re right – the market can’t always determine what is a good or bad app. Windows, for example :)
    But what will be decided is what is ‘best’ for the user. And that is amazingly subjective – it rolls up ideas like cost, intuitive UI (which almost always trumps actual features and performance), and general impression.
    But if Flash performs poorly in browsers, it’s up to Adobe to work with Apple and users. It’s also up to Apple to help Adobe understand the problems. Honestly, I’ve not encountered the problems that are most typically espoused, so I guess I’m lucky.
    Checking the stats, Flash is not responsible for the majority of crashes or hangs. In fact, it’s fairly low on reportables considering its penetration and frequency of use.
    What I *have* seen a lot is poorly made sites causing problems. I just avoid those sites. The site owners can either ignore users like me, get the dev to do the job properly, or abandon the technology. The overwhelming majority appear to take the first option.

  • DKC — 8:40 PM on May 13, 2010

    The Bridge app just does not work as well and I don’t own Lightroom…. Photoshop is perfect for my needs… I use contact sheet and picture package daily… but in 32-bit :(

  • John C. Welch — 8:47 PM on May 13, 2010

    “To borrow from the Think Different campaign, “You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them.” That’s what I ask for Adobe technologies: let them succeed or fail based on their own merits, as determined by customers.”
    REally?
    So then can someone from Adobe, anyone, explain why, when Microsoft did something that a *lot* of other companies, (including Apple) were doing, and wanted to give its customers PDF generation as part of Office 2007, (something Office users very much wanted)…
    Why was Adobe’s response threats of lawsuits unless Microsoft changed this. Then, when Microsoft said, “okay, fine, it’s a separate download”, Adobe tried to make them CHARGE for it.
    fortunately Microsoft told Chizen to pound sand on that one, but, nonetheless, for Adobe to cry about ‘not being allowed to compete’ and some other corporations’ “eeeeeevil draconian actions”, while they have cheerfully pulled the same kind of nonsense when it was convenient for them, (or seen as needed to protect a revenue stream)?
    If Flash is an open spec, why isn’t the DRM playback just as open? Why is that excluded from third party players?
    Maybe because no matter how much noise you make, Flash is not *open*, it is *published*, and somewhat incompletely at that.
    Also, care to remember what the state of Flash was in late June 2007? Yeah. How about 2008? 2009? In fact, i do believe that 10.1 *still* is not released yet.
    So tell me John, at what point is Apple supposed to pretend that no, really, Adobe will have that amazing, high-performance, low power version of the plugin ready, even though it’s still not released? Adobe keeps saying that it’s there, but it is not yet done. Heck, the last time y’all tried to demo Flash on a handheld…didn’t work too well.
    So where is Flash 10.1, Magic Ponycorn?
    When is it going to be available on every platform under the sun, and solve every.single.problem with Flash, the way Adobe has been promising it would?
    Adobe keeps making a lot of sizzle, but to date, you’ve given us no steak whatsoever, and as it turns out, you can’t really eat sizzle.
    And Adobe as the wounded innocent?
    That may play well with people for whom history started with the iPhone introduction, but for those of us with slightly longer memories, no, Adobe is most certainly not innocent, and if you are wounded, well, you may want to stop shooting yourself in the foot before you complain about what Apple is doing. (way to go on the CS5 UI. Great window widget accuracy there. Flex Uber Alles)
    Show us real, released product that lives up to your claims John. you still have yet to do that.

  • Scott Valentine — 8:49 PM on May 13, 2010

    This is probably the best opposing response I’ve ever read on this discussion. You demonstrated an understanding of my view and were clear about yours without being vituperative.
    Thanks very much for restoring my faith in online discussion :)

  • Scott Valentine — 8:59 PM on May 13, 2010

    …and further imagine that said car company has issued misleading information about the tires because it was the best-selling brand, citing statistics out of context (or ignoring them altogether expecting that the public would not bother looking it up for themselves).
    So, there’s that.

  • David Randall — 9:13 PM on May 13, 2010

    Mr. Nack,
    In all fairness, I think both Adobe and Apple are equally to blame for the current situation. Both companies have been territorial, and vindictive. Both companies have attempted to use their customers as a cudgel against the other and both companies seemingly care more about blaming the other one than about solving the current dilemma.
    The ugly truth is that Adobe hasn’t been treating mac users very well lately. Adobe was more than a year late in delivering OS X versions of essential apps and then lagged again when apple transitioned to intel. My CS4 production bundle has different processor requirements for different parts of the same bundle…and I think it’s safe to say that the mac simply isn’t the priority it once was…and your mac customers have noticed the change, believe me.
    Is it really hard to believe that Apple has difficulty believing that you’re fully committed to the Mac when every action for the last several years suggests otherwise?
    Please don’t misunderstand. Apple is hardly blameless in this scenario. Every mac user has come face to face with their arrogance and stubbornness. We’ve all been stung at one point or another by self-serving decisions they’ve made but we support them for the same reason we still support you…because both companies make extraordinary products.
    Frankly, this situation makes me feel like a child in the middle of an ugly divorce. Both parents tell me they love me while doing things that are hurtful. Both parents blame the other one for the current state of things and both want to use me as a pawn to hurt the other one.
    The big question here is not who will blink first, but who is willing to put the needs of their customers above their own pride.

  • John Dowdell — 9:24 PM on May 13, 2010

    If you’d like to fix this, try starting here:
    http://blogs.adobe.com/jd/2010/02/troubleshooting_player_stabili.html
    jd/adobe

  • Dash Riprock — 9:28 PM on May 13, 2010

    John, I’m honored that you replied.
    [I’d rather let them make up their own minds. –J.]
    Agreed. This is all about the customer… and they should have the opportunity to make that decision. But… until Adobe comes up with an alternative approach to penetrating that platform, sans Flash, you have no opportunity.
    [That’s the plan. –J.]
    Please assure me that it is.
    I know that deep in the bowels of Adobe there is a group of brilliant people with amazingly innovative ideas trying their best to claw their way to the surface. My most sincere wish is that they make it. Good luck John.
    -kb

  • James — 9:28 PM on May 13, 2010

    Two notes:
    – On Adobe’s Freedom of Choice page it mentions that 19 out of top 20 device manufacturers have committed to using Flash (Apple being the obvious exception). What if I don’t want Flash on my device? What if that is my choice? Right now I can make that choice. Adobe — apparently now naming themselves the savior of choice — wants to remove that choice from consumers. If I want Flash I have 19 other manufacturers to choose from. Why can’t there be 1 without it to maintain consumer choice? (“Because we are just as concerned with our bottom line as Apple is and would prefer everyone to be locked into our products” is a valid answer.)
    – Why not consider the iPhone/iPad system more akin to video game consoles? No one expects to be able to run whatever program they want there without following strict rules set by the creators. I can’t just write my own game and sell it without following the rules. Why are we all treating these products like they are the same as a netbook? Becasue we would like them to be? Sure – that’d be cool! But so would making whatever Wii games I wanted and selling them directly to customers. I don’t see Microsoft getting the same grief for their Xbox lock-ins and strict guidelines that Apple is getting.

  • John Dowdell — 9:34 PM on May 13, 2010

    Viewing rights are an agreement between the content creator and their audience — must satisfy both. Adobe increases the options so that both parties in a contract can reach agreement.
    jd/adobe

  • W.W. Webster — 9:35 PM on May 13, 2010

    I use Lightroom on a Mac. I cast my lot with Adobe for image management and manipulation because, amongst other reasons, I respect their history in this space and because I trusted them to be there for creative folks on the Mac platform.
    I’ve read all this thread down to this point. The only conclusion I can come to is that Adobe is in a hole, and that it needs to realise it and stop digging.
    Where will this nonsense end? Adobe cannot win. I’m starting to worry that my faith in Adobe as a cornerstone application provider could be misplaced.

  • John Dowdell — 9:48 PM on May 13, 2010

    Howdy. :) John’s point was that there’s more going on than Flash… he’s trying to plan products in what seems like a crapshoot.

  • Ron Lussier — 10:02 PM on May 13, 2010

    If Flash was not such a closed, proprietary environment, Adobe wouldn’t be thrashing like a dying animal. Adobe wants to control your development platform, just as Apple does. The difference is that Apple makes the hardware, while Adobe doesn’t, so Apple has a more legitimate right to tell you what you can use to develop for the platform. (This is nothing new. Apple has always supplied the frameworks for their platforms.)

  • Martin — 10:08 PM on May 13, 2010

    I want to note that one of the most useful HTML5 additions that I only discovered yesterday came from the Mozilla team.
    The flexible box model is just fantastic and I don’t think Apple directly had anything to do with it. More here:
    http://hacks.mozilla.org/2010/04/the-css-3-flexible-box-model/
    Supported by Webkit (Safari/Chrome/others) and Firefox.

  • John Dowdell — 10:14 PM on May 13, 2010

    “Let me be the first to say this. I can’t wait for the day where I can have…”
    I don’t think anyone else would likely have beat you to saying whatever it is that you might be liking. They’d have to have been both telepathic *and* precognitive to do so, right?

  • Ron Lussier — 10:20 PM on May 13, 2010

    John, I’m interested to hear your response to the argument I’ve heard frequently that Apple is doing this because they want to keep their platform nimble, and that Adobe’s several-year process of bringing Photoshop to Intel on Macs is a warning about what would happen if Flash were allowed as a development platform on Apple’s ‘console’ platforms (iPad, iPhone).
    Speaking of consoles, have you had any luck promoting Flash as a development platform for XBox, Wii, or any of the other consoles?

  • DCN — 10:50 PM on May 13, 2010

    I find it amusing, John, that you use Lightroom as a case in point when it’s specific virtues suit your argument. Truth is, Lightroom is the black sheep among the Adobe applications in many ways, and you are conveniently ignoring the other bloated applications that took forever to make intel ready, and get more & more bloated and crashy every release.
    You want Adobe to be able to put lightroom on an iPad – as others have said, do it in Xcode. And yes, Apple could jettison Lightroom Touch from their app store… but it’d be unlikely unless it turned out to be bloated and crashy like many other Adobe offerings.
    And if we were to talk about Flash – it started out as a cruddy lean version of Director and never got much better. As a web plugin, it had it’s moment in the sun with high bandwidth cool designery websites in the late 90’s/early 00’s, but nowadays, it’s an albatross around the neck of any browser trying to deliver a good web experience.
    A product which is a great Lightroom-esque approach to HTML5 development would be about the only way Adobe could impress me now. That, and to quit the whinging.
    At the end of the day, Apple would be more than happy to take their 30% cut from sales of any successful natively written apps Adobe put up for sale. Just play by the rules, it’s their playground.

  • Mike Nelson Pedde — 10:56 PM on May 13, 2010

    Applause, John. You’ve said it all…
    Mike.

  • Thomas — 11:22 PM on May 13, 2010

    everyone is talking about what an asshole Steve Jobs is.
    everyone is talking about what genius and brilliant man Steve Jobs is.
    He’s an asshole! Period! God orgive him, if there is any God or Steve.
    Adobe, go for your own Operating System, i’ve told ya!

  • Thomas — 11:37 PM on May 13, 2010

    Hold on!!
    Please don’t do this!!!!
    I don’t want to get old with slow software.

  • JoeP — 11:38 PM on May 13, 2010

    >>>> Several years ago we decided to fundamentally rethink our approach to digital photography workflows. Lightroom (a Mac-first Cocoa app, let’s note) was born. Apple introduced Aperture around the same time…>>>… Apple can reject an app if, say, it uses two-finger inputs in a new way. They do this to preserve consistency–until, of course, it’s time for them to deviate innovate. (Think Different, as long as you’re Apple.)

  • Peeter — 11:46 PM on May 13, 2010

    Let me paraphrase you, John:
    In many ways, the Intel MacBook Pro was the laptop I’ve been waiting for my whole life. Put more simply, I wanted to use the most amazing OSX imaging apps the world has ever seen.
    But was I allowed to do so?
    No
    And who decided?
    Adobe, they dragged their feet with native Intel apps to to maximum.

  • Paul Sydney — 11:53 PM on May 13, 2010

    My activity monitor agrees with my “car manufacturer”..

  • Hugo — 12:02 AM on May 14, 2010

    John, you said:
    [Adobe is arguing that customers should have the *choice* about whether to run Flash on their devices, figuring that people are smart and that if the experience sucks, they won’t use it. –J.]
    That’s just not how it works. If their device supports Flash, few people will consciously disable it and willingly shut themselves off from the existing Flash content out there. That doesn’t mean they like or want Flash ; but they’ll suffer through it to get to the content. Therefore you just keep feeding the beast, and the status quo continues.
    I loved Flash when it first came out, it enabled some great things. And it still does to some extent, but at the same time it is full of frustration and annoyances. Today, I dislike Flash ; I wish it would just go away.
    And I’m one more of many that will confirm that the Flash player is just a mess in terms of stability. It constantly keeps crashing Safari or randomly start using 100% CPU for nothing.
    I think Apple feels the same way. They’ve seen the writing on the wall for Flash, and they took a stand to move things forward. Flash wasn’t ready for a mobile device anyway, and still isn’t. Now we’re fast approaching a tipping point where content producers will stop using Flash and start using alternatives, primarily because Apple is sticking to its stance and the clout from iPhone/iPads is getting ever bigger.
    I for one am welcoming the change. I’m ready for the future. Flash was useful while it lasted, but good riddance. And all the creative Flash designers will learn to master new creative tools, because creation is what matters, not the format.
    I still love Adobe. I’ve been using Photoshop since version 5, and later Illustrator and InDesign. I even used Premiere for a while, though that was when it sucked so I quickly gave up. I just love Lightroom (it actually made me cringe as to why the creative suite couldn’t be just as good, but maybe CS5 will change that, now that they’re Cocoa apps). But I can love these Adobe things and still dislike Flash. I want to move on.

  • Hugo — 12:04 AM on May 14, 2010

    John, you said:
    [Adobe is arguing that customers should have the *choice* about whether to run Flash on their devices, figuring that people are smart and that if the experience sucks, they won’t use it. –J.]
    That’s just not how it works. If their device supports Flash, few people will consciously disable it and willingly shut themselves off from the existing Flash content out there. That doesn’t mean they like or want Flash ; but they’ll suffer through it to get to the content. Therefore you just keep feeding the beast, and the status quo continues.
    I loved Flash when it first came out, it enabled some great things. And it still does to some extent, but at the same time it is full of frustration and annoyances. Today, I dislike Flash ; I wish it would just go away.
    And I’m one more of many that will confirm that the Flash player is just a mess in terms of stability. It constantly keeps crashing Safari or randomly start using 100% CPU for no reason.
    I think Apple feels the same way. They’ve seen the writing on the wall for Flash, and they took a stand to move things forward. Flash wasn’t ready for a mobile device anyway, and still isn’t. Now we’re fast approaching a tipping point where content producers will stop using Flash and start using alternatives, primarily because Apple is sticking to its stance and the clout from iPhone/iPads is getting ever bigger.
    I for one am welcoming the change. I’m ready for the future. Flash was useful while it lasted, but good riddance. And all the creative Flash designers will learn to master new creative tools, because creation is what matters, not the format.
    I still love Adobe. I’ve been using Photoshop since version 5, and later Illustrator and InDesign. I even used Premiere for a while, though that was when it sucked so I quickly gave up. I just love Lightroom (it actually made me cringe as to why the creative suite couldn’t be just as good, but maybe CS5 will change that, now that they’re Cocoa apps). But I can love these Adobe things and still dislike Flash. I want to move on.

  • Luis Garcia — 12:39 AM on May 14, 2010

    All this reminds me about the browser wars when Internet Explorer killed Netscape by forcing vendors to let the Explorer(Free) icon and forbid them form sale PC’s with Netscape Navigator(about 40 dlls). They killed the competitor and stop developing Internet Explorer when it was in his 6 version!
    MS raise from his bed of roses only thanks to the presence of Firefox. If you like IE8 say thanks to MS and Mozilla Foundation too.
    John is right, it is not about Flash, it is about choice, and better products for the rest of us, developers, designers and consumers.

  • diesel mcfadden — 12:48 AM on May 14, 2010

    @hugo & john. Look, we’ve all been around the block enough to know that default settings are 80% of the fight. When microsoft or adobe or apple pre-install something on the machine, for a majority of users, that’s the experience they’re going to suffer with because they don’t know enough to turn it off.
    It’s disingenuous to say, just let the user turn it off. You know that’s not going to happen. If flash is built into Safari or Chrome, it’s going to stay on and they’re not going to know how to turn it off even if they could. Apple is making a bet on how they expect the consumer experience to be. And it’s the *ONE* choice on the market that is not going with Flash technologies, so personally, i think it’s right that that CHOICE exists.
    Adobe is saying, be like everyone else, install us. That’s the status quo. There’s plenty of phones out there that have Flash if the customer wants it. If what the customer wants is a non-flash experience, they should be allowed to choose that too and pre-loading flash is taking that away from them.

  • diesel mcfadden — 12:56 AM on May 14, 2010

    In other words, the customers have “made up their mind”, 85million devices worth of customers have “made up their mind”, and they decided that in the package of tradeoffs, not having Flash was something they could live with if they got the other goodies from Apple’s decisions. And even so, Flash isn’t even available even if Apple wanted to ship it.
    John, stop being disingenuous. The customer have a choice. If they don’t want Flash, they buy an Apple product. If they do, they buy a competing product. What you’re suggesting is that Apple install Flash by default, which REMOVES the non-flash option for the customer. It puts the problem on the customer how to get rid of Flash. Well, you know what, I don’t want to figure out how to do that. I want the device to work without configuration.
    thank you.

  • Phil Brown — 1:01 AM on May 14, 2010

    That’s a terrible analogy.
    Adobe did not prevent anyone else from stepping forward to offer you the best imaging apps.
    Apple, on the other hand, has the power to do exactly that.

  • PECourtejoie — 1:24 AM on May 14, 2010

    John, I wanted to be slightly off topic and congratulate you on the new function…
    I might get an iPad sooner than expected, given the prospects of more good apps from Adobe despite the banter.
    I wish you lots of success!

  • Morris — 1:30 AM on May 14, 2010

    Hi Joe. I have hesitated before replying to your note because I have already had my say I think, but during the day today I have thought of this a few times, and felt similarly piqued by, amongst other things, this somewhat disingenuous angle wherein John has suggested that Lightroom has in a manner of speaking been ‘banned’ by Apple.
    There is a good chance that John has stopped reading (its a long thread this one), but I would like to say this out loud. Like you, I hope that this is received in good faith, because I think John Nack has generally handled criticism and push-back most admirably over the years of sharing his valuable insight and perspective with readers and customers of Adobe.
    I was excited when Aperture was announced, because it kind of represented for me where Apple was heading with application development, with an emphasis on workflow, abstraction away from the file system and re-emphasis on metaphors which hearkened back to the ‘old days’ of the Mac, but in a more dynamic and fluid kind of way. They were showing leadership on their own platform, and I still think Aperture is a fine example of Apple’s ability to create thoughtful and powerful end-user software. The first version of Aperture also very clearly left Photoshop alone, and in fact promoted a ’round-trip’ workflow with Photoshop quite heavily.
    When Adobe later announced Lightroom, it felt like a reaction, to warn Apple to get off their patch. The most galling part of this is that Lightroom was given away free for what seemed like an inordinate amount of time, while Aperture was a several hundred dollar product aimed at professionals, and in a product space that was not being well serviced on the Mac at that point in time. Lots of people climbed aboard but, although I think Lightroom is a good product and the engineers certainly deserve the credit they receive for its quality, this episode was distasteful enough to keep me away.
    On reflection, it feels like Adobe seem to think they have a right to a piece of the Apple platform and a section of Apple’s customers in ways that other companies don’t, like a kind of birthright. The ‘love Apple’ idea is true in the same way that all companies love their cash cow. Not only did the Lightroom example prick a nerve, but the entry of John Warnock into the fray also set me thinking about all the times Apple and NEXT have been cornered by Adobe one way or another, particularly with fonts, postscript and display postscript over the years. While there were no viable alternatives, both Apple and their end users were squeezed pretty hard, and it took unholy alliances like the TrueType agreement between Apple and Microsoft, and lots of concerted effort to develop independent PDF implementations to (kind of) break the industry free.
    Adobe have absorbed their main competitors a couple of times now in an effort to minimise competition in their industry sector, and each time thousands of customers have had to adapt whether they like it or not (although, in the case of Aldus, it was by flocking to Quark instead).
    Adobe do seem to react quite well to competition, when it is genuinely there. Their two best products in my mind are Lighroom and InDesign. Both have had strong competition over the years where other Adobe products have not. They also both benefit from a ‘fresh start’ approach, while programs like Illustrator are showing their age and have remained essentially unchanged over many years.
    Of course, Apple also face healthy competition in their core businesses, but the difference is that, as much as they are demonised and ridiculed for it, I believe that the Apple DNA embodies a desire for things to be really good, just because they should be and can be really good. It is a craftsman’s passion for perfection that has been a hallmark of the company right from the start. And every time they have lost that focus, they have slipped.
    By contrast, Adobe are increasingly coming across as insincere and FUDdy. They are using too many emotionally loaded words with ambiguous meanings that people just instinctively latch onto as ‘right’. The advert is just a buzzword laden list (with some tellingly poor art direction, which does nothing to dispel the sense that they are losing touch). Adobe does not deliver on half of those things in any meaningful way. Instead of saying ‘we love Apple’ they should be showing ‘we love our customers’.
    The bottom line is that when John hints that we should fear an arbitrary and malevolent Apple, I do not believe him. I certainly do not believe that Apple can do no wrong, but I do believe that what they get right is pretty impressive, and as genuine as anybody in business tends to get. But principally, I just don’t believe Adobe are in any position whatsoever to be pointing this particular finger in this particular way.

  • Chris — 1:55 AM on May 14, 2010

    I’m more inclined to blame Safari for your issues than Flash.
    I stopped using Safari as the default browser on my Mac, because version 4.x became completely unreliable under OS X 10.4. Under OS X 10.6 it’s no where as buggy of a browser, but I noticed that it throws a fit with Flash content when Chrome and FireFox do not.
    Just to ramble, Safari 3.x was a wonderful browser all around and rarely gave me an issue. Flash never crashed Safari 3 that I know of, but with Safari 4, the same content I had visited with the prior version was all of the sudden an issue… Go figure…

  • Daniel Carvalho — 2:06 AM on May 14, 2010

    Hahaha! That was brilliant.

  • Daniel Carvalho — 2:10 AM on May 14, 2010

    That last comment was on a remark on someones brilliant comment, but for some reason it didn’t thread.
    I guess, just ignore it now.
    Nice post John.

  • Chris — 2:32 AM on May 14, 2010

    @diesel mcfadden,
    Did you even read his article? If yes, you should read it again and hopefully this time around you’ll understand it.

  • hasi — 2:53 AM on May 14, 2010

    Consumer has a choice, OS vendor has a choice too.
    Adobe burned number of times to be a good citizen on Apple OSX development platform in the past. They burned it and got bad history and reputation – they are too slow, too lazy, too selective, etc. They are welcomed on iPhone OS, and official “Apple iTunes store” not forbidden, but using Apple iPhone SDK. What’s the problem ? – not big deal. Consumers wins !
    Adobe should stop bitching, pointing fingers and start analyzing their own bad business practices in last few years what they did wrong. Why so many Adobe’s good inventions (PDF, Flash, ..) get sooner or later to be everybody’s big problem (PDF on Windows, Flash everywhere)
    The model has been get on everybody’s OS platform, invent something & take everybody hostage (customers, consumers, OS vendors), stand still and charge the hell of them. Adobe – not the vision I want to see in the future internet.
    For me and many other end-consumers (normal people), Adobe = pushed to be everywhere, over prized, over expensive, highly proprietary, high security holes, buggy, bloatware, slow, want to be in every OS-but painfully slow to do updates in these OS when OS changes; for so many years, so many buggy, half-baked or “symbolic”, outdated solutions, in so many OS platforms. Who likes that.
    Adobe may satisfy their direct customers- creators of media content. But it ends there. For some time, they do not satisfy end-end media consumers browsing the web as they use the Flash blockers, filters, clickers, Flash killers, etc. I wonder if Adobe wonder why. They don’t pay attention to consumers and their crashing overcooked machines, They don’t pay attention to OS vendors and their latest OS changes either or they are painfully slow to update (Mac, Linux, ..). Adobe has bad reputation and history. Blame yourself Adobe. The same way consumer said No to Flash, Apple now said No to Flash for iPad/iPhone/iPod and Flash apps environment. Why should not they ? Next time, it may be Microsoft, saying no to Flash for it’s never-ending security holes creating in Windows. Why should not they and who would blame them ?
    Last not least, there is “official Apple Store” and there is “Cyndia store” for other apps running happily on jail-broken iPhones. Show us Adobe first your Flash and Flash apps what you can do on jail-broken iPad/iPhone for few generations and if you can keep the fast Apple pace. If it works – I may opt-in – I have the choice.

  • Trilo Byte — 4:08 AM on May 14, 2010

    Let’s not make this about Flash at all. Because it isn’t, really. It’s about a technology that is known to be a huge drain on power and system resources, have known security issues (Snow Leopard is regarded as less secure than Windows 7 by virtue of Apple including Flash Player with the OS), and is very unstable. Based on reports it seems additional considerations are that the multi-tasking functionality the iphone 4.0 OS doesn’t work properly with compiled/translated apps. I bet that if Adobe were to focus on innovation and quality and overcome all the above problems (instead of whining about being shut out), things would be very different.
    Aside from Lightroom competing directly against Apple’s Aperture, how can you possibly fault Apple for not including LR in its assortment when Adobe won’t even include it as part of the Creative Suite?
    I’d love to see Adobe get off its high horse, roll up its sleeves, and get back to just innovating and making a great product. Flash has been around far too long to be as buggy as it is. HTML5 has been on the board for far too long for Dreamweaver CS5 to have not already had a bunch of robust support for it in the box (as opposed to announcing intentions to support it after the product’s been released). Get away from the bloatware and forced sales (in order to get Photoshop CS5 Extended and After Effects, I’m having over half a dozen apps I’m not interested in shoved down my throat). Fix all the known bugs in Adobe’s current versions before abandoning them in favor of shiny new versions that appease the almighty 18-24 month release cycle.

  • John C. Welch — 4:12 AM on May 14, 2010

    Someone else reminded me of this one:
    “Wow, we really love Framemaker on the Mac, it’s fantastic tool!”
    [BANG]
    “Yeah, well, it’s dead now, nothing personal, just a business decision, you understand”
    “Yeah, i guess so. Sucks though”
    “Hey, we’d love to put Flash on the iPhone”
    “We disagree. here’s the reasons why. Nothing personal, just a business decision, you understand”
    “WHY DO YOU HATE YOUR CUSTOMERS STEVE? WHY DO YOU HATE CHOICE, AND FREEDOM! WHY DO YOU HATE ADOBE STEVE, AREN’T WE PRETTY ENOUGH?”
    “Can someone tell me what just happened here?”
    “Oh that. That’s Adobe. If you mess wit h their income streams for any reason, they just lose it.”
    “But…Framemaker…Premier…Acrobat”
    [You mean Premiere Pro, the 64-bit Cocoa video editor? Haven’t seen one of those from Apple. –J.]
    “Yeah, we know. We think it’s some kind of mass cognitive dissonance. Or mold in the AC ducts.”
    “Can we get him out of here, he’s crying.”
    “Sure thing steve.”

  • Stéphane Mercier — 4:12 AM on May 14, 2010

    I wonder why Adobe confuse “experiencing the whole web” (= reading flash animations) with the possibility to use apps developped using cross-plateform Flash instead of Apple own xCode.
    I, for one, wish to have a Flash plug-in sufficiently light, stable and efficient to access all websites on my iPhone. But I much prefer having my iPhone apps (as a customer) developped using Apple tools, APIs and latest technologies. Adobe is pushing Flash as both a reader and a developement plateform and THAT is the main problem…
    Flash performance on mobile phones will determine its success as format for web sites animations, with or without Apple. So why all this fuss about Apple store opaque policies ? if not to compete as an alternative plateform ? Photoshop Mobile wasn’t rejected, or software competing with Apple’s ones (Opera Mobile)… Why should it be any different for next Adobe Ipad softwares ?

  • David Mantripp — 5:13 AM on May 14, 2010

    I don’t suppose risks to the outrageous $699 revenue Adobe pulls in for the Flash authoring tool has _anything_ to do with this, has it ?
    Of course not. Silly me.
    (A thoroughly disillusioned ex-Flash Lite developer by the way)

  • Jim Scheirer — 5:57 AM on May 14, 2010

    I don’t think Apple would be opposed to adobe apps like lightroom as long as they are written within the guidelines of the TOS. Granted, I think they are a bit too stringent though.
    I think what irritates me most about this entire adobe-apple battle is that you play this woe is my attitude. When MS went to include PDF support in office 2007, Adobe threatened anti-trust suits, until MS agreed to remove it and offer as a plug-in which noone knows about. Stop crying because someone finally stood up to your antics and just do what the rest of the world is doing by writing apple that work withing the TOS’s requirements. MS wrote a bing app and never complained because they couldn’t use c# did they? Have fun learning objective-c.

  • David Shaw — 6:01 AM on May 14, 2010

    So wait, Apple’s platform is the only one without Flash? Um, no.
    No flash on Android
    No flash on Symbian
    No flash on Maemo/Meego
    No flash on Blackberry
    No flash on Windows Mobile
    Tell me again what all the fuss is about?
    I can tell that John is a Mac guy. His article has some real truth in it. But this truth is colored from Adobe’s perspective.
    I’ve been an Apple computer user since 1984. I don’t agree with a lot of the app store policies, but honestly, requiring the app to be written using XCode is not one of my major concerns. I’m far more disturbed by the seemingly arbitrary exclusion of apps from the store. That seems like the truly limiting part of Apple’s strategy, and the one that needs to go away.

  • Adam — 6:32 AM on May 14, 2010

    >>instead we should require that you buy an Android or Windows tablet. Do you like that answer? –J.

  • Murrey Walker — 6:50 AM on May 14, 2010

    I didn’t intend to post, but…
    It occurs to me that since 1985 (when I first started with the Macintosh), that the price of the computer has been mostly constant (actually lower in price when you compare 2010 dollars to 1985 dollars).
    It is also revealing that Adobe’s upgrade price schedule for various apps are NOT remaining constant.
    $699 for an upgrade to an existing piece of software is significant, combined with the absence of any meaningful product support, speaks volumes, and reinforces what a previous poster said about “outrageous” prices.
    While I’m a huge fan of Adobe (and have been with you since Illustrator 1.0), the current course your management has you on, is not good at all. I personally think that sour grapes has no place in a class operation.
    If I were you, John, I would put the “bubbas” in the ivory tower into “timeout”!

  • Mario — 6:52 AM on May 14, 2010

    But Apple can’t/shoudn’t block web apps. So go invest in the open platform that is the WEB! No brainer! I also feel uncomfortable with Apple’s excessive control. That is exactly why I’m a Web Dev

  • Tim Blane — 7:35 AM on May 14, 2010

    >> btw, you don’t get to set up a table in the aisles at
    >> safeway and start selling what you want either)
    Take your blinkers off Diesel, if I don’t get what I want from safeway, I have the “choice” to go next door to the next shop and buy what I want.
    John’s point (using terms from your silly analogy) is that, under Apple’s current model, you can only buy in “safeway” and only what “safeway” want you to buy.
    Apple could easily allow you to buy from other vendors with the user accepting any associated “risks”, while still allowing fanboy’s to stick with the Apple Ecosystem and their Disney like environment.
    Apple’s decision not to do so is more about control$ and less about doing what is in the interest of the consumer.
    btw: Anyone taken a look at Apple’s 1984 commercial recently, doesn’t the IBM speaker look like Jobs’ keynote.

  • Brent Royal-Gordon — 7:37 AM on May 14, 2010

    Sure, Apple could ban Lightroom from the App Store. But they could also block Lightroom from launching in the next Snow Leopard point release.
    They haven’t done that because (leaving aside basic decency, the need to keep the rest of CS on the Mac, the need to keep the Department of Justice away, etc.) that would scare away their developers. And they wouldn’t ban Lightroom from the App Store for the same reason.
    For all the complaints about app rejections, Apple has never rejected an app simply for competing with them. Google Voice is the closest they’ve come, and there they were complaining about the way it replaced the device’s core functions. Meanwhile, the App Store is full of calculator apps, stock market apps, weather apps, voice recorders, music streaming apps, and–yes–photo apps, all merrily competing against the built-in (but more ancillary) functions Apple ships on the device.
    So write Lightroom for iPad. If it’s rejected–and not for a technical reason, but for competitive ones–raise a stink about it and I’ll seriously rethink my relationship to the platform. But from what I’ve seen so far, you’re complaining about a problem that exists only in theory.

  • Scott Valentine — 7:42 AM on May 14, 2010

    and mine doesn’t. Perhaps we have differing use habits. The vast majority of my interaction with Flash is watching video. On three different Macs, that poses no problem at all. Sure, there is increased activity, but that’s to be expected with richer experiences using more resources (compare a VW bug to a Maserati).
    If your monitor peaks, perhaps you should consider changing some of your environment. FF handles things nicely. If a site I visit doesn’t work well, I blame the developer, not the tool – same goes for javascript, ajax, ASP/.NET, cold fusion and PHP.
    FWIW, I absolutely HATE Quicktime. I have no end of trouble with that. So, I don’t use it.
    Your ‘manufacturer’s’ monitor is not telling you the whole story.

  • Tim Blane — 7:54 AM on May 14, 2010

    >> Apple has never rejected an app simply for competing with them
    Do you only read apple sanctioned news?
    Lookup the rejection of “MailWrangler”,”Podcaster” “Contact Pad” or perhaps just google iphone “duplicates functionality”
    Also, while there try goggling “denial”

  • John C. Welch — 8:01 AM on May 14, 2010

    Hehehehe…you bought into Flash Lite? dude, i’m so sorry for you.

  • vlad — 8:12 AM on May 14, 2010

    Someone at Adobe talking of choice? “…the best products will win in the end”? Which/whose end? Remember FreeHand? Wish Adobe would – and take it out of the vault, let it win. Or at least compete. Otherwise: nice marketing, thanks.

  • don — 8:41 AM on May 14, 2010

    This is nonsense about Apple arbitrarily rejecting apps so Adobe won’t bother writing a version of Lightroom for the iPad. Adobe’s developer relationship with Apple extends much further than the ordinary $99/year iPhone developer. Opera developed a browser for the phone which does not use WebKit and was approved by Apple. It was approved because Opera sat down with Apple and discussed their objectives and listened to Apple’s concerns. Most developers don’t have that kind of access, but companies that demoed iPad apps at the launch do have that access, like EA, and even the developer of Brushes. You’re telling me that Adobe’s developers don’t have Apple developers on speed dial?

  • vlad — 8:44 AM on May 14, 2010

    Someone at Adobe talking of choice? “…the best products will win in the end”? Which/whose end? Remember FreeHand? Wish Adobe would – and take it out of the vault, let it win. Or at least compete. Otherwise: nice marketing, thanks…

  • Dale — 8:46 AM on May 14, 2010

    John, as an Apple and Adobe customer, it is all about Flash for me.
    As a developer, I use Photoshop and Dreamweaver every day – with the CS3 Web Premium suite on my work machine, and my own paid licenses for the CS4 versions of those two programs on my home machine.
    The Adobe Ideas app on iPad is invaluable to me, allowing me to doodle down ideas on the go. I also use Photoshop Mobile on my iPhone to manipulate photos before I send them.
    I’ve been using Photoshop since the mid-’90s. I’ve been using Dreamweaver for eight years. I love Adobe products.
    That being said, when it comes to Flash, I have several issues.
    – Every machine I use Flash on – be it Windows or Mac – has noticable performance degradation when using Flash. If it’s not optimised for my dual and quad-core desktop processors, I have fears about the ARM-based processors in my mobile devices. You have to realise there are issues when every major browser starts building process separation in to handle Flash issues.
    – Mobile Internet is still noticably slower and incredibly spotty compared to my cable Internet. I want pages to be as light as possible.
    – As someone who pays Adobe license fees, I know full well the toll they take on the wallet. While Adobe makes AVM2 and Flex SDK available, there really is no viable alternative to Flash Professional for developers. Who in their right mind would try to develop one? It would be impossible to maintain feature parity. As such, Flash is technically “closed”.
    The app store is also closed. Very closed. I have my issues with Apple’s policies as they frequently make poor judgements. However, Adobe is confusing their arguments.
    Apple have never claimed their platform is not closed. They have only used the word “open” in reference to the web. There is no hypocrisy in their stance – they have made a clear distinction between their platform and the web.
    When it comes to the web, I am not on Adobe’s side – I agree with Apple (and Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, Opera and the W3C) that standards are the way forward. When it comes to innovative creativity software, however, there is no beating Adobe, and I hope you continue to support the platforms I use.

  • sleepy — 8:50 AM on May 14, 2010

    The warm and friendly ad is built on falsehood, because Adobe won’t have a properly viable, cross-platform, mobile Flash product, possibly for a couple more years. To fix this blunder, Adobe management tried to unfairly exploit iPhone OS, its large installed base, and its active and efficient App store to bootstrap developers ahead of time into the final mobile Flash product (when and if it’s widely deployed) and hence into readiness for iPhone competitors as they ship; equally bootstrapping developers out of iPhone OS, making its differentiation irrelevant, and destroying its time-to market advantage. This is exactly how Adobe tried to move from Mac OS to Wintel.
    iPhone OS is a minority platform, and will probably remain so. It has an ecosystem years ahead of the competition. I have every sympathy with Apple supporting and sharing rigid conformance to open standards, alongside rigid protection of the benefits of the platform, including uniqueness, security, and app efficiency even on older, lower powered, smaller memory devices.
    In summary: cross platform mobile Flash doesn’t exist, and Apple hardware competitors are in disarray. Adobe wants to borrow and crush iPhone’s advantages to bridge these problems with a stopgap product.
    If I were Apple, I think I’d want up to a hundred billion dollars to let Adobe borrow the platform and the App store to develop their business; it’s the key to a 2 billion device market. No wonder Adobe’s upset they can’t take that free from Apple this time.

  • james — 9:15 AM on May 14, 2010

    Please release flash player for jailbroken phones!!!

  • vlad — 9:16 AM on May 14, 2010

    Someone at Adobe talking of choice?! “…the best products will win in the end”? Which/whose end? Remember FreeHand? Wish Adobe would – and take it out of the vault, let it win. Or at least compete. Otherwise: nice marketing, thanks…

  • vlad — 9:17 AM on May 14, 2010

    Someone at Adobe talking of choice? “…the best products will win in the end”? Which/whose end? Remember FreeHand? Wish Adobe would – and take it out of the vault, let it win. Or at least compete. Otherwise: nice marketing, thanks…

  • vlad — 9:20 AM on May 14, 2010

    Someone at Adobe talking of choice? “…the best products will win in the end”? Which/whose end? Remember FreeHand? Wish Adobe would – and take it out of the vault, let it win. Or at least compete. Otherwise: nice marketing, thanks…

  • Joe Stevens — 9:25 AM on May 14, 2010

    Nice article Jack.
    I agree with most of it. I don’t think Apple should reject apps based on content or wether they compete with applications that Apple develops. However I do think it is ok for Apple to block Flash because having a Flash plugin in Mobile Safari would hurt its performance and that would be the case to matter how well optimized it was. I also think its ok for Apple to block Apps cross compiled in Flash.

  • Jimmy — 9:43 AM on May 14, 2010

    Yes, this is all about Adobe revenue stream.
    This insane 18 months upgrade cycle is a giant waste of time for a busy small design studio. We have no plan to upgrade to CS5 even tough it means it will cost MORE to upgrade to CS6 or later version. We don’t really want to deal with this buggy and bloated software.
    I started using Adobe products since the days of Illustrator 88 (yes, as in 1988). the tools are getting so complex that it’s completely in the way of a creative unless you have years of experience using them.
    Go talk to a someone in design school that is trying to study design but ended up studying Adobe products because of all the new “features” of every new version every 18 months.
    Give me Illustrator 6 and Photoshop 5 from 10+ years ago, as CS5 won’t make our creative any better.
    Jimmy

  • Jim — 9:48 AM on May 14, 2010

    I’ve also noted Flash’s issues with my Mac’s browser stability – but in Chrome. Always seems to happen on the same site, though.

  • SteveS — 9:53 AM on May 14, 2010

    John,
    It’s hard to take your position seriously when you compare Apple’s work with Webkit and HTML 5 to Adobe’s Flash. You complain that when Apple does something it’s a standard, but when Adobe does something with Flash it’s proprietary. Well, that’s because Flash is proprietary and it has a history of poor implementations in terms of performance, security and stability. This much is not up for debate. Adobe’s founders are not concerned about the future of the web, they are concerned about the future of Adobe’s revenue streams. Their response did not even attempt to address specific shortcomings of Flash mentioned by Jobs.
    Now, in terms of Apple’s app store policies. I’m in favor of forcing developers to write native applications that can make use of the latest APIs and features as opposed to having some form of compiled Flash. No, I don’t like how arbitrary Apple’s policy seems to be in terms of rejecting apps. You’ve focused on the downsides of this issue to the extreme. However, it’s a bit disingenuous not to acknowledge the positive sides to all of this. I want my iPhone (and maybe someday iPad) to work like an appliance. I don’t want to have to configure it, troubleshoot it, have it get infected with malware, etc. I don’t want to have to worry about installing apps that will do bad things like spyware, etc. and I very much do appreciate Apple filtering all of that crap for me. Does Apple go to far? Yes, I would have to agree they do. However, you take the good with the bad and the good far outweighs the bad in my opinion.
    As for choice, there is plenty of choice. If I were to develop something truly innovative for the iPhone and it was rejected by Apple, I would implement the application on other platforms. The market would decide the relevance of my innovation. As web sites are beginning to move away from Flash, the market is deciding this, not Apple. Apple just provided the incentive to do so.

  • SteveS — 9:54 AM on May 14, 2010

    John,
    It’s hard to take your position seriously when you compare Apple’s work with Webkit and HTML 5 to Adobe’s Flash. You complain that when Apple does something it’s a standard, but when Adobe does something with Flash it’s proprietary. Well, that’s because Flash is proprietary and it has a history of poor implementations in terms of performance, security and stability. This much is not up for debate. Adobe’s founders are not concerned about the future of the web, they are concerned about the future of Adobe’s revenue streams. Their response did not even attempt to address specific shortcomings of Flash mentioned by Jobs.
    Now, in terms of Apple’s app store policies. I’m in favor of forcing developers to write native applications that can make use of the latest APIs and features as opposed to having some form of compiled Flash. No, I don’t like how arbitrary Apple’s policy seems to be in terms of rejecting apps. You’ve focused on the downsides of this issue to the extreme. However, it’s a bit disingenuous not to acknowledge the positive sides to all of this. I want my iPhone (and maybe someday iPad) to work like an appliance. I don’t want to have to configure it, troubleshoot it, have it get infected with malware, etc. I don’t want to have to worry about installing apps that will do bad things like spyware, etc. and I very much do appreciate Apple filtering all of that crap for me. Does Apple go to far? Yes, I would have to agree they do. However, you take the good with the bad and the good far outweighs the bad in my opinion.
    As for choice, there is plenty of choice. If I were to develop something truly innovative for the iPhone and it was rejected by Apple, I would implement the application on other platforms. The market would decide the relevance of my innovation. As web sites are beginning to move away from Flash, the market is deciding this, not Apple. Apple just provided the incentive to do so.

  • Peter Lee — 9:57 AM on May 14, 2010

    [That’s of course an easy, obvious conclusion: Adobe shouldn’t bring killer imaging technology to Apple customers, and instead we should require that you buy an Android or Windows tablet. Do you like that answer? –J.]
    Sigh.
    Can you and Adobe stop PROMISING great software and actually DELIVER it? Are you or anyone at Adobe aware of how much damage you have inflicted on your own credibility by repeatedly letting delivery dates ship? Where is mobile Flash on ANY platform? With all due respect, all I hear from you and Adobe these days is promises promises promises and excuses excuses excuses. Apple this, Apple that, Apple won’t let us play in the sandbox! How has Apple stopped you from delivering mobile Flash on Android, Symbian, Windows? When you can provide a convincing answer to that and actually demonstrate your ability to EXECUTE, your promise that you would deliver great apps for Apple’s platform but for Apple would carry a lot more water than it currently does.
    And I don’t believe for a minute that you wouldn’t know in advance whether your apps would be approved by Apple. You knew Apple’s position on Flash well in advance because Apple told you. Stop acting like you’re a 14-year-old kid programming in his bedroom. You have a direct line of communication to Apple, one that was used in your attempts to get Flash approved on Apple’s mobile platform. If you’re serious about bringing Lightroom or Photoshop to the iPad, use that line of communication again.
    Just because you didn’t get the answer you wanted on Flash doesn’t mean Adobe can’t get pre-approval feedback from Apple. It can and surely did get it in the past and in the future. Playing dumb and naive – “oh how will I ever know?” – does you no credit. You’re neither so stop acting the part.

  • SteveS — 10:19 AM on May 14, 2010

    John,
    It’s hard to take your position seriously when you compare Apple’s work with Webkit and HTML 5 to Adobe’s Flash. You complain that when Apple does something it’s a standard, but when Adobe does something with Flash it’s proprietary. Well, that’s because Flash is proprietary and it has a history of poor implementations in terms of performance, security and stability. This much is not up for debate. Adobe’s founders are not concerned about the future of the web, they are concerned about the future of Adobe’s revenue streams. Their response did not even attempt to address specific shortcomings of Flash mentioned by Jobs.
    Now, in terms of Apple’s app store policies. I’m in favor of forcing developers to write native applications that can make use of the latest APIs and features as opposed to having some form of compiled Flash. No, I don’t like how arbitrary Apple’s policy seems to be in terms of rejecting apps. You’ve focused on the downsides of this issue to the extreme. However, it’s a bit disingenuous not to acknowledge the positive sides to all of this. I want my iPhone (and maybe someday iPad) to work like an appliance. I don’t want to have to configure it, troubleshoot it, have it get infected with malware, etc. I don’t want to have to worry about installing apps that will do bad things like spyware, etc. and I very much do appreciate Apple filtering all of that crap for me. Does Apple go to far? Yes, I would have to agree they do. However, you take the good with the bad and the good far outweighs the bad in my opinion.
    As for choice, there is plenty of choice. If I were to develop something truly innovative for the iPhone and it was rejected by Apple, I would implement the application on other platforms. The market would decide the relevance of my innovation. As web sites are beginning to move away from Flash, the market is deciding this, not Apple. Apple just provided the incentive to do so.

  • Sean Stevens — 10:45 AM on May 14, 2010

    When it comes to the App Store and related iDevices, Apple is like an ice-cream maker. In this scenario, Adobe is a supplier of ingredients for making ice cream.
    Some of John’s arguments suggest that the supplier has rights to determine the composition, consistency, and taste of the ice cream. Since when would a supplier of ingredients have any say in either the composition of the final ice cream or the desired consumer experience when it is eaten? (The latter might be comparable to deciding when Apple should include some advanced multitouch feature in its iDevices.)
    If Adobe wishes to compete with Apple’s ice-cream business, shouldn’t it begin with making ice cream and stop complaining about Apple’s control over its own ingredients and desired end-user experience?

  • RichardL — 10:47 AM on May 14, 2010

    If I’m reading this right, I think Adobe’s saying we can’t afford the risk of a major development project for this platform such as would be required for Lightroom Touch for iPad. (Adobe just did a major iPhone platform development project costing them millions, and Apple screwed them.)
    Other medium and large software companies and VCs have to be thinking the same thing. Even major game companies (which seem to be pretty happy with iPhone results) have to be wondering about the risks to large projects from Apple’s capriciousness and platform-exclusive oriented development restrictions. (Imagine a console vendor that whimsically demanded platform-exclusive development.)
    With Apple claiming exclusive province over engineered innovation, can the iPad thrive on a diet of scraps and junk food? (I think iPhone can continue with mom-and-pop-style software development for some time.) But who would muster an iPad development effort on par with what Apple did in-house with their iWork suite?

  • Paul Houle — 10:59 AM on May 14, 2010

    One quick question…
    How would you get photos from your camera into the iPad? The iPad has no USB or memory card slots, so you’d need to use a computer to download the images, then shuffle them over to the iPad somehow — if you’re going to do that, you might as well Lightroom on the computer.
    Unless I’m mistaken, this takes the fun out of a Lightroom iPad application… It would be ~sweet~ to have something good for developing digital photos on the go and uploading them

  • Peter Lee — 11:17 AM on May 14, 2010

    Maybe they’d let Lightroom ship for a while, but if it started pulling too far ahead of Aperture–well, lights out.
    Was the App Store the reason why Adobe dropped a Mac version of Premiere several years before the iPhone and App Store even existed? Is supporting choice for creatives irrespective of the platforms they want to work on the reason why today there are a number of Adobe software products that aren’t available on the Mac but are Windows-only?
    Seems that you and Adobe have no problem denying “choice” to customers by forcing them to work on Windows in order to use Adobe software as long as it financially suits Adobe.
    Adobe just did a major iPhone platform development project costing them millions, and Apple screwed them.
    Adobe screwed itself. Apple told Adobe it didn’t want Flash anywhere near its platform and Adobe went ahead anyway. When you insist on driving your car into a brick wall after ignoring the red light and stop sign, the fault lies with the driver, not the barrier.

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 11:44 AM on May 14, 2010

    No, but Apple’s Quicktime team denying Adobe and certain other video developers access to their SDK might explain why Adobe had to drop Macintosh support in Premiere for a while (it was originally written around the QuickTime API).
    Apple screws developers all the time. Fanbois twisting facts and history to suit them won’t change that fact.
    Apple is just making it more obvious with the iPhone/iPad. And now there is no way in hell I’ll be developing for them.

  • Rob R. — 11:58 AM on May 14, 2010

    Do Adobe’s web pages for upgrading to Photoshop CS5 make use of Flash? Here’s my experience yesterday:
    On an Intel Mac running OSX 10.6.2, I could not get the ordering forms to work either on Safari or Firefox, until a call to tech support suggested I trash all my browser cookies. Although that cleared up the page rendering problem and I was able to place the order, on neither browser could I get it to accept valid credit card info, so I was forced to do it over the phone (using exactly the same card info I’d tried online.)
    Was that a Flash problem? Because if it was, it certainly seems to bolster Apple’s position on the subject.

  • Justin Caset — 12:02 PM on May 14, 2010

    Well, first of all, Lightroom is a great program. However, it is very slow compared to what it could be because huge portions of it are written in LUA. It is a cross-platform app. It is not primarily written in Cocoa. How many photographers out there know LUA? I know none. How many can program? Very few. Case closed. If Lightroom was not a LUA-based application, it would be so much better and it would not require a code interpreter at run time. Adobe should have created aspects of Lightroom in cross-platform C or C++, but no, you had to use LUA? Come on.

  • Mark — 12:02 PM on May 14, 2010

    Hi John,
    Let me just say that I am a long time fan of some of Adobe’s products, but am also a Mac user, as well as iPhone/iPad. But starting with Mr. Shantanu Narayen’s interview with the Wall Street Journal, and now with the ads – it really seems like Adobe is trying defensive diversion tactics because a revenue stream is threatened. Mr. Narayen’s responses weren’t all that convincing, and quite often very vague. I was really hoping for more from the leader of the company that puts out so many innovative tools.
    You paint a picture that choice would be so much better in the app store if it was an open environment. Many could argue there is quite a bit of choice already, perhaps too much. In fact as many have stated already, it is so big now that it is getting harder to find the really good stuff. There are also a lot of very innovative apps, the devices have set off a gaming market probably Apple didn’t even expect, and a lot of tools that I use day in and day out. Stifling of innovation doesn’t really seem to be panning out the way it is being painted.
    Opening this up only tells me there will be not only more to sort through, but a lot more I have to worry about as far as malicious software, spyware, and viruses. I think it is only a matter of time before a major smartphone virus hits. I know there have been rejections, but I haven’t exactly lost sleep over these apps being denied to me. Until someone can actually provide some data on # approvals vs. # rejects, it seems to be all very superficial at how large of an issue it is and how important it actually is to users.
    I suppose as others have stated, I acknowledge the Apple filter, and tend to appreciate it more than resent it. For all that is in the App Store already, it hardly seems like Apple is being such a draconian gatekeeper.
    It matters to me that the maker of the hardware is genuinely interested in the end user experience and it would seem the only way to do that is to have some level of control over what is allowed. They designed the marketplace and the devices, it seems silly to expect otherwise that they would not want to have a part in controlling it. Sometimes I don’t like what they think is best for their users, but I get over it rather quickly. How many of us users are tired of the tech support blame games where the hardware guy blames the software guy, the software guy blames the OS, and so on?

  • John Dowdell — 12:15 PM on May 14, 2010

    Symbian, Maemo and Windows Mobile have all had earlier versions of Flash mobile, and all are working with Adobe to bring predictable high-performance Flash to their new devices.
    By similar logic, although Apple has shipped devices to Australia before, because they have not yet shipped iPad to Australia, they never will. Fallacious thinking, true?
    jd/adobe

  • James Thiele — 12:57 PM on May 14, 2010

    I use Safari for Hulu because in my experience Firefox does even worse on Hulu – so why blame Safari?

  • James Thiele — 1:18 PM on May 14, 2010

    Looking at that page I have problems on all browsers and many pages. Only concrete suggestions on the page are reinstall plugin and/or restart browser/OS. Personally not into multiple reboots per day.

  • Wedding Photographer — 1:56 PM on May 14, 2010

    > When Adobe later announced Lightroom, it felt like a reaction, to warn Apple to get off their patch.
    Adobe was showing off Lightroom demos years before Aperture was announced (and back then Lightroom was going to be Macintosh only).
    Aperture was the reaction.

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 2:06 PM on May 14, 2010

    So when Apple gave developers no warning about the change to Intel processors, Adobe was at fault?
    When Apple had to release multiple fixes to their tools and OS to support native Intel Apps (because their tools and OS were buggy as all hades on the first couple of x86 releases), Adobe was at fault?
    When Apple released Rosetta so you could run your old apps on Intel hardware, something prevented you from doing just that?
    When Adobe got Intel native support out early in a Photoshop public beta, that was a problem for you?
    When Adobe released the Intel native version of Photoshop right on their normal schedule, that somehow counted as “dragging their feet”?
    I love fanboi logic.

  • Lazy Adobe — 2:41 PM on May 14, 2010

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/how-secure-is-flash-heres-what-adobe-wont-tell-you/2152
    “It’s clear that Adobe’s sheer stubbornness in refusing to address these issues starts at the top.”
    Adobe, biggest hypocrites, liars and LAZY.
    [Like most epithets, “lazy” says more about its user than its target. –J.]

  • Mike Jackson — 3:17 PM on May 14, 2010

    Steve J. stated that Apple does not want a secondary development layer between the programmer and the iPhone APIs because it may stagnate the platform. Steve J. states that Apple been there, done that and did not like it. I agree. Flash would do NOTHING for the platform and only serve to stagnate it over time. History has shown this to be true (Look at Power-Plant). Looking at Adobe’s track record of releasing products that sync up with Apple’s releases is abysmal at best in recent history. Adobe Photoshop is consistently 1.5 years or more behind when Apple releases major changes. OS 9 to OS X, PPC to Intel, 32 to 64 Bit. Now imagine if that same time line happens with Flash. Take in point the following time line:
    March 2010 – Apple Releases iPhone OS 4. SDK with killer new features(tm)
    May 2010 – Adobe releases Flash-to-iPhone without killer new features.
    March 2011 – Apple releases iPhone OS 5 SDK with even MORE killer new features.
    October 2011 – Adobe releases Flash-To-iPhone convertor version 2 with support for iPhone OS 4 Killer new features. Huh? What? Where is the iPhone OS 5 Features? Oh, those didn’t make it in soon enough for the current development cycle. You will have to wait till May 2013. Have Fun!!
    Now, as a Flash developer wanting to target the newest Apple Hardware this would piss me off a bit. Why would I want to bet MY business on Adobe’s timeline. That is just insane. No one should/would do that as a way to run a business.
    I’ll cite the recent interview with a pair of the original programmers who developed Flash. They both AGREE that Flash is ill-suited for mobile devices and not well programmed with security in mind. Could Adobe fix those problems? Maybe, No one knows out side of Adobe.
    What Adobe needs to do now is shut up and put their money where their mouth is. Adobe says that flash IS secure and would NOT adversely affect the battery life on my iPhone. Can Adobe actually PROVE this? Can Adobe actually SHOW a working Flash plugin on the iPhone running some sort of benchmark on battery life to say that there is NO detriment? Until that happens I don’t think Adobe has any leg to stand on. The onus is on Adobe to prove Steve J. Wrong. Period.

  • W.W. Webster — 3:19 PM on May 14, 2010

    If Flash isn’t being missed on iPad/iPhone, I doubt your efforts will be. Good luck on the other platforms you will develop for.

  • Jim — 3:25 PM on May 14, 2010

    I think you/Adobe are missing the big picture here. The users that you/Adobe keep assuming want all this “open development” have already spoken. They want the iPhone/iPod/iPad, not Flash. Period. If they weren’t willing to put up with it, those items wouldn’t be the hottest selling devices on the planet.
    I love Adobe, my website is pretty much dedicated to Adobe users. But I have to side with Apple on this one – or at least the Apple fans, who say “get over it” and “come up with something better.”
    Flash is a worthless, sluggish, PITA on the Mac platform. That is a fact that only Adobe disputes. Playing a simple Flash-based game on my laptop drains the battery completely in roughly an hour… so the last thing I want is for it to be on my phone. The problem may very well be the developer who wrote the game, but that’s not the way the average user sees it. They see it as a Flash problem.
    You’re trying to whitewash people by saying it goes deeper than Flash. It doesn’t, and Adobe appears to be the only people who believe that. Has Apple prevented you from creating any other desktop application? I realize that they change things and it requires a lot of work on Adobe’s end… but that’s the price of doing business with a computer maker.
    Apple’s computers remain stable, while Windows computers are a disaster – in the name of remaining compatible. Sorry, I’ll take stable!

  • FD — 3:43 PM on May 14, 2010

    John Gruber already wrote about how Apple got burned with Metrowerks PowerPlant, they won’t allow that to happen again with Flash.
    “One such “painful experience”, from Apple’s perspective, would be Metrowerks’s PowerPlant framework. PowerPlant was a GUI toolkit and application framework for the classic Mac OS, which shipped with Metrowerks’s CodeWarrior compiler and IDE. It was very good, and very popular — many popular Mac apps were built using the PowerPlant framework.”
    “The problem came several years later, with the move to Mac OS X.1 PowerPlant wasn’t designed with Mac OS X in mind, and didn’t take advantage of Mac OS X’s latest advances. For example, Carbon Events support didn’t come to PowerPlant until 2004. There was no easy or straightforward way for PowerPlant-based apps to make the transition to best-of-breed native Mac OS X apps. Leaving Cocoa aside, PowerPlant apps couldn’t take advantage of the latest and greatest the Mac OS X Carbon APIs had to offer.”
    “But because PowerPlant (a) was popular and (b) didn’t keep up with the latest platform advances in Mac OS X, it became an anchor attached to Apple, which slowed them down. Apple expended significant time, money, and effort trying to support PowerPlant developers and bring them forward to where Apple wanted to take the platform.”

  • JoeP — 4:11 PM on May 14, 2010

    >>>>>Adobe was showing off Lightroom demos years before Aperture was announced (and back then Lightroom was going to be Macintosh only).
    >>>>>Aperture was the reaction.
    What nonsense.
    Lightroom was languishing in corporate limbo until Aperture forced Adobe’s hand.
    For Nack to now say “Apple introduced Aperture around the same time…” is so thoroughly sleazy!

  • KimH — 4:15 PM on May 14, 2010

    >>>>>Adobe was showing off Lightroom demos years before Aperture was announced (and back then Lightroom was going to be Macintosh only).
    >>>>>Aperture was the reaction.
    What nonsense.
    Lightroom was languishing in corporate limbo until Aperture forced Adobe’s hand.
    For Nack to now say “Apple introduced Aperture around the same time…” is so thoroughly sleazy!

  • eric — 4:21 PM on May 14, 2010

    yeah on Mac Os you can see the thumbnail depending on how the file was created some forms you cannot see. On Windows you can’t see a preview you only see an icon. I suggest you look up uninformed as well. maybe then we’ll all be on the same page.:)

  • Handbag — 4:34 PM on May 14, 2010

    Frankly I don’t know why Adobe bothers with supporting any Apple product. Apple on the desktop doesn’t have such a large marketshare that loosing the business from Apple users would cause all that much damage.
    If Apple want to play hardball fine, then Adobe needs to play hardball too. CS5 and Lightroom 3 should be the last Apple compatible product Adobe puts out until Apple shows that they are willing to work with Adobe.
    Adobe for there part should be open to what others have to say when it comes to the short comings of Flash and instead of trying to defend issues that even Adobe has to be aware of they should busting their butts to address and fix them. Take away Apples reason for not wanting flash and you take away a lot of their power. But, right now Apple is being jack@ssish and so is Adobe.
    On the playing field however, I think Adobe is on a little more solid ground and if they ended all Apple support you can bet that would get some attention.
    Handbag

  • Lazy Adobe — 5:42 PM on May 14, 2010

    More evidence of Adobe’s hypocrisy and lies and spins when it suits their greedy ways.
    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/05/14/adobe_apple_war_on_flash_reminiscent_of_postscript_struggle.html
    “As a middleware platform, Adobe’s PostScript became so essential to desktop publishing and the Mac that Adobe could charge pretty much whatever it wanted for the software and the “Type 1″ fonts it used. In 1989, Apple’s replacement for Jobs, Jean-Louis Gassée, approached Adobe seeking a cheaper version of PostScript for use on Apple’s new low-priced Macs then in the product pipeline. Adobe refused. This prompted Apple to seek market-based solution to Adobe’s greed: it began to investigate alternatives to PostScript.”
    “At the Seybold Desktop Publishing Conference in San Francisco on September 20, 1989, Apple and Microsoft jointly presented their new TrueType partnership. Adobe’s Warnock was enraged. He publicly castigated Apple and Microsoft, saying, “That’s the biggest bunch of garbage and mumbo jumbo,” and speaking on the verge of tears, he emphatically added, “What those people are selling you is snake oil!””
    “Incidentally, a reader adds: “freefreehand.org has been setup to recruit members and raise funds to try to convince Adobe through legal means to divest itself of FreeHand, which they are trying to let die a slow death. Fortunately this skirmish with Apple has helped shed a tad of light on how hypocritical Adobe is regarding ‘healthy competition’ and all the other drivel they are spouting regarding Apple spurning Flash.””
    “When the iPhone debuted, it was depicted without any support for web plugins. Asked whether it would support Flash or Java, Jobs gave a “maybe” for Flash but said no for Java. Apple was clearly investigating the possibility of Flash playing on the iPhone. The problem, Apple noted at the time, was that “Flash Lite,” Adobe’s strategy for getting its software on mobile devices, wouldn’t deliver what customers expected of Flash. On the other hand, the full version of Flash wasn’t at all optimized to work on mobile devices and was not yet available for the ARM processor used in most mobile devices.”
    “The ball was in Adobe’s court. Apple needed a way to deliver interactivity on mobile devices, but Adobe refused to serve that need, just as it had refused to serve Apple’s need for a lower cost version of PostScript to enable it to create entry-level Macs twenty years earlier. And so Apple began to seek a market-based solution to Adobe’s ineptitude: it began to investigate alternatives.”
    “This is resulting in Adobe being far more upset about the prospects of losing its control of the web via Flash than it was about losing its control over desktop publishing via PostScript. In both cases, Adobe blamed Apple for its loss, rather than viewing it as its own failure to deliver a product its customers could use. ”
    “Three years after the launch of the iPhone, Adobe is still not ready with a full, functional version of Flash that can run on mobile devices. While it advertises that Flash runs on “more than 800 million devices” from “all the top 20 handset manufacturers except for Apple,” the truth is that figure can only count Flash Lite running on mobile devices, which simply can’t play the majority of Flash content.”
    “Only a huge public outcry that presents lots of irrelevant facts about Flash Lite while ignoring the core problems with the real mobile Flash (notably its current failure to exist as a shipping product) can possibly distract attention from that reality.”

  • Lazy Adobe — 5:55 PM on May 14, 2010

    http://www.macworld.com/article/150903/2010/05/apple_adobe_flash.html
    “A furious Warnock sneered that this was a deal “with the devil”.”
    [I’ve never known John Warnock to sneer or hiss at anything. Be careful of partisanship & hearing what you want to hear. –J.]
    “Speaking after Bill Gates had introduced TrueType on stage with Apple at the influential Seybold conference in 1989, Warnock called his speech “the biggest bunch of garbage and mumbo jumbo”. “These people are selling you snake oil,” he hissed.”
    “Planning the launch of Mac OS X Jobs asked Adobe in 1998 to develop a Mac version of its consumer video-editing program. “They said flat-out no,” Jobs recalls. “We were shocked, because they had been a big supporter in the early days of the Mac. But we said, ‘Okay, if nobody wants to help us, we’re just going to have to do this ourselves.’””
    “The result was the start of Apple’s Applications Software Division – which grew into a 1,000-engineer-strong group.”
    “Thus Apple iLife’s iMovie vs Adobe Premiere Elements, Apple Final Cut Pro vs Adobe Premiere Pro (initially Windows only) and Apple iPhoto vs Photoshop Elements. Apple later released Aperture against Adobe Photoshop.”
    Adobe’s hyprocrisy, lies and spins when it suits them is quite telling when exposed, isn’t it?
    [So, not doing whatever Apple asks whenever they ask it, and not letting them team up with Microsoft to crush the company, equals hypocrisy? Good to know. –J.]

  • Steve Jones — 6:18 PM on May 14, 2010

    When all is said and done, an email today from a client of mine sums up the reality of the debate for developers like me. We had agreed to build their new site in Flash – since the old one was Flash and was always a hit with their client base.
    “Also, re our new site, what are your views on using Flash? Apple is clearly trying to kill it and it won’t run on iphones, ipads etc. To me it seems to make sense to abandon it?”
    (this is a genuine extract from the email)
    After discussing the pros and cons, they have chosen Flash – but the question mark was there in their heads.
    I love working in Flash – or Flash Builder to be more precise. I know its limitations too, but in 10 years of developing with it, I’ve found the ease of deployment, stability and sheer fun of building stuff a joy.
    Even the best HTML guys I know declare that trying to make things work cross-browser with HTML / CSS / JavaScript is a nightmare. Too much pain.
    I am learning Objective-C and HTML5 as I like to see what’s possible… but I’m sorry, I think the long wait for tools that can do what Flash can do (and I am SO bored of people saying that HTML 5 will be able to do it all when clearly many migrations would be a complete nightmare) with consumate ease will be so agonising and unpredictable the pain will be too much.
    Watching Adobe and Apple over the past few months has been like watching your parents fight as a divorce seems inevitable. I love them both, but one of them is going to walk out the door and I’m going to be torn as to which one I should stay with.

  • Nik Player — 6:31 PM on May 14, 2010

    If Adobe really loves everyone like it claims to in the advert then they should release Freehand to the open source community instead of letting it rot in a cage, freedom indeed !
    [I’d support that. I don’t think the effort would go very far, but it would be a nice gesture of goodwill. –J.]

  • Karl Rottmann — 6:49 PM on May 14, 2010

    Apple’s decision is not just hurting Adobe, it hurting all of us who made a significant investment on iPhones, iPod touch and iPads. So Apple is thinking that they are being smart? I don’t think so.
    Hear me well, they are hurting the CONSUMERS…
    Apple should have been smart and worked out a deal Adobe to improve their product if they were so concerned about the stability of Flash.
    Wait until you see the Windows Mobile 7 and Android mobile phones running SilverLight and Adobe Flash content. Who is going to want to get an Apple device that is limited to what it can run?
    In my opinion it is just matter of time before Apple realizes that they made a mistake.

  • Geoff — 7:02 PM on May 14, 2010

    J., Freehand was far from dead when Adobe bought Macromedia. That’s just false. Either you’ve been misinformed or you’re intentionally spreading disinformation, hoping perhaps that people have forgotten. Adobe killed it to get it out of their way, and their stance now seems incredibly hypocritical.
    [You’re mistaken, Geoff. I’ll now spend my time re-digging up the evidence. –J.]

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 8:42 PM on May 14, 2010

    Too bad you’re quoting a steaming pile of lies and FUD.
    Check your facts. As far as I can tell, only one quote in your posts is verifiable.
    Fan fiction at it’s worst….

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 8:48 PM on May 14, 2010

    The “Wedding Photographer” has it correct.
    Sorry if that doesn’t fit with your world myth, but it is the truth.

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 9:01 PM on May 14, 2010

    >> didn’t keep up with the latest platform advances in Mac OS X
    You should read that as AppleSpeak for “forced Apple to fix bugs in Apple’s code”.
    Developers want to use all the latest toys, but Apple keeps shipping steaming piles instead of solid frameworks. Then Apple gets pissy when developers submit bug reports instead of using the steaming piles Apple dropped on them.
    > it became an anchor attached to Apple, which slowed them down.
    More AppleSpeak for “forced them to fix bugs instead of writing new steaming piles of crap.”

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 9:17 PM on May 14, 2010

    How much do you know about the Lua programming language? Not much from your post. It is fast, cross platform, has pretty low overhead, and gets used for the UI in many games and skinning apps like MP3 players.
    Have you profiled Lightroom to verify that any slowness is indeed caused by using Lua? Have you profiled Lightroom to see how much or little of the UI is handled using Lua?
    Have you looked at the many Lightroom extension modules provided by third parties that extend Lightroom functionality using Lua? (in a way that can’t execute viruses, can’t crash Lightroom, etc.?)
    In short, you’re complaining about something that really is a feature and not a problem.

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 9:42 PM on May 14, 2010

    True, John was being polite to Apple instead of calling them out on their copycat program.
    But the “wedding photographer” had it right.

  • Tudor — 12:07 AM on May 15, 2010

    “Would Apple let Lightroom for iPad ship? It’s almost impossible to know.”
    Let me get this straight. Are you saying that Adobe has no means to communicate with Apple at higher levels in order to find out if something like Lightroom for iPad will get approved, before starting the development? Am I supposed to understand that you’re being kept in the darkness by Apple just like any anonymous iPhone developer? I find that hard to believe.

  • Brent Royal-Gordon — 12:33 AM on May 15, 2010

    I know about most rejections that hit the news, although I didn’t know about Contact Pad. The only reference I can find to that one, though, suggests that they were complaining about it having “pad” in the name, and renaming the damn thing would suffice.
    Frankly, it seems like common sense that Apple might have trademark problems with that. When I thought about putting “iPad” in my app’s name, I had the good sense to check for guidelines–and Apple had a simple, clear trademark policy that laid it all out. (In short: phrasing like “for iPad” or “iPad edition” is okay, but don’t put it in your primary product name.)
    MailWrangler seems to hit the same nerve Google Voice did, and as for Podcaster, it’s actually now in the App Store–it’s called RSS Player now.

  • WinDon — 4:57 AM on May 15, 2010

    kinda says Adobe is not writing one line of code without guarantees. Apple Insider has a great timeline from postscript though Aldus and Macromedia to now.
    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/05/14/adobe_apple_war_on_flash_reminiscent_of_postscript_struggle.html

  • Fraser Crozier — 5:28 AM on May 15, 2010

    There is a stark contrast between developing apps for general retail release with zero restrictions for access to the consumer/desktop via no app store channels, versus proprietary access to a proprietary device. I would hate to think that a Ferrari dealer was compelled to sell a Hyundai in the same showroom in the interest of openness.
    In a different vain, you don’t get sushi at an Italian restaurant. It’s simply not on the menu. Take that to the Feds…
    Silverlight isn’t on the iPad menu either, and no-one is complaining. The silence is deafening, and this is coming to you from a duopolist – I am both an Apple and Adobe diehard – as JN will already know.

  • Fraser Crozier — 5:41 AM on May 15, 2010

    google chrome is a piece of dirt…sorry for the multiple posts…JN, feel free to clean out the duplicates… (:

  • Robert Barnett — 8:21 AM on May 15, 2010

    Frankly I think both Apple and Adobe are behaving like snot nosed 5 year olds. Apple has legitimate concerns about Flash. Flash especially the plug-in isn’t perfect. It is a resource hog and it is slow. Given that mobile devices have limited computing power, limited internal storage and limited battery power (at least for now) I think Apple has every right to be concerned about what Flash would do on their devices. Just because Google is willing to let Flash on and possibly tank their phones doesn’t mean Apple should. Adobe has always been somewhat arrogant and has very seldom saw the flaws in their products.
    Apple on the other hand is every bit as arrogant thinking that they actually have a right to charge the high prices they do for their products and then tell we who buy them (yes I own an iPod and an iPad) what we can and can not put on them. Basically, this is like buying a Ford and then Ford telling you, you can only drive it on Wednesdays in California and only on Highway 101. Apple gets away with this because their little brainwashed MacNuts eat up everything Apple and Jobs spews out as if it was coming from the lips of god.
    Apple and Adobe are doing exactly what the Republican’s and the Democrats are doing. They are both at the extreme opposite ends and not willing to meet in the middle. Both want it there way or there is not way.
    What both should be doing is.
    Apple: We realize that Flash is used on a lot of important sites, sites that our customers should have access to. Sites like Hulu and so on. So we want to be able to offer them access to the (and I will be modest on this) 50% of the web sites that use Flash either for the interface, video or something else. However, we need to make sure that Flash isn’t going to cause problems for our users. Apple also shouldn’t be afraid if alternate ways of creating applications. Not everyone knows C or wants to learn it. Being able to create small, modest applications easily isn’t a bad thing. What Apple is afraid of is them loosing the ability to tell you what you can do with your $830 over priced iPad.
    Adobe needs to say hey, we have heard about the performance and memory problems with Flash and we want to fix it. We want to make sure that people have a good experience with this technology. So they should go to Apple and say hey, why don’t we put together a team made of both Apple and Adobe people and set them to work on getting Flash working to the best that it can be for Apple’s products. But, know Adobe refuses to admit that Flash especially the player has problems. Adobe is arrogant and when they don’t bet smoke blown up their rumps by everyone they throw themselves on the floor and flail around like a 5 year old.
    Both companies need to work together to bring Flash in to the 21st century for not only Apple’s mobile products but for everyone else that uses it. HTML 5 has some possibilities, but it isn’t a full on replacement for Flash.
    But, no like the Republican’s and the Democrats they are too wrapped up in themselves to see what it is they are doing to their customers. Fortunately for Apple they have done such a fine job of brainwashing their MacNuts that they will get away with it and Adobe is large enough with enough power and market share in other areas to get away with it. In the end the only ones getting screwed is everyone else.
    I would also like to say that the fact that Apple is now talking about making their own Flash like product goes to show how stupid they are. We need another Flash like product about as much as we need Microsoft Silverlight. A time is going to come when web site designers have had enough and get tired of having to create the same material in 10 different formats because companies greed and stupidity prevents them from doing what is right for the majority. Just like the Republican’s and Democrats can’t meet in the middle and do what is right for the most people.
    I love my Adobe products and I love my iPad. I just wish the powers that be cared as much for me as I care for them.

  • Greg Paulhus — 9:36 AM on May 15, 2010

    [At no point have I questioned Apple’s right to run their platform as they see fit. I’ve questioned the wisdom of running it as they’re presently doing. –J.]
    Well John, I think maybe, just possibly, Steve Jobs has a plan and just might know what he’s doing. I’m sure Steve and all of Apple’s customers are thankful for your concern though.
    [I forgot: Apple is perfect, and in no way may be criticized. It’s funny that fans of the “Think Different” company can be so hostile to non-conforming thought. –J.]
    By the way, I didn’t miss the repeated point as you commented on my other post, I think you’re wrong, I don’t agree with your argument. But how nice of you to insert your little dig.
    [Thanks for the condescension. –J.]

  • Greg Paulhus — 3:57 PM on May 15, 2010

    [Thanks for the condescension. –J.]
    You’re welcome. You needed it. By the way, I’m not a fan of Apple, I’m a fan of stuff that works, and a closed ecosystem is a good way to deliver a consumer device that works great out of the box.
    Did you ever consider that maybe you’re not the smartest guy in the room? I’m not ‘hostile to non-conforming thought’ as you so arrogantly put it, I’m a seeker of objective truth, and the truth is that Apple is trying their way of delivering consumer devices, and it’s working really well. You’re free to disagree of course, but don’t call other people stupid because they don’t buy the argument you’re selling.
    [I apologize for having offended you. –J.]

  • David — 9:14 AM on May 16, 2010

    I think people are missing the point of this post.
    Business is business. You make decisions based on the risk/reward ratio. (What’s the risk, and what are the potential rewards for doing it. If rewards outweigh risk, you do it).
    Right now, Apple is artificially increasing the risks by not having clearly defined rules as to what is accepted or not, or changing the rules AFTER people have made an investment. This is good if you’re Apple, but not so great as a developer or investor. Enough people are developing anyways. But this is still not a “good thing”, and you’re not a very smart business person if you aren’t at least concerned by this when making your decisions.
    Flash is a minute part of it. (A symptom of the bigger problem). Many apps that have been rejected, many more that were never developed, Porn, abstraction layers (which Apple uses all over the place), closed iTunes, closed App store, proprietary DRM and bookstore, rights to censor and a history of some bad decisions in that area, rules that say you can’t compete with Apple (but of course Apple doesn’t tell you what they’re making next). This makes some customers and lots of developers nervous/cautious.
    Apple will probably do fine despite artificially increasing the risks. And most of their individual iPhone product decisions haven’t been as bad as their terms allow. But that their terms require it, should give people pause.
    Adobe and others will probably eat the risks anyways. But Apple probably could have done even better without the completely unnecessary drama and if they learned to be half as open as they pretend to be or criticize others for not being.

  • John C. Welch — 10:57 AM on May 16, 2010

    John, you keep harping on “What if Apple bans a Lightroom App, how do we know that won’t happen?”
    Well, what if someone comes up with a fantastic Flash player, that plays 100% of content, and they even figure out how to play DRM stuff, so you can watch hulu and BBC programming on it?
    since they don’t have to care about legacy, it’s lightweight, and, they pick one display model for each platform and go with that. It may not run on every browser, but the ones it runs on, it’s lightweight and stable.
    That would put a serious hurt on the Flash Plugin, because for a lot of people, they don’t need it, or its problems.
    Is Adobe going to guarantee, in writing that they’d not try to kibosh that?
    No, of course not. they’d kill it over DRM alone, and we all know it.
    So let’s say, it plays 100% of non-DRM’d flash content, what now? Based on Adobe’s own history with people doing stuff better than they do against standards they control, there’s little to no assurance that Adobe wouldn’t knife that baby as well.
    Again John, verifiable history shows, rather nicely, that Adobe controlling a standard means you can’t really trust their claims of “oh, we won’t ever get in your way if you develop against that.”
    But in the end, the above scenarios are all fantasy, aren’t they. Because thanks to how Adobe has “released” their “open” standard, it’s actually impossible to build a 100% functional flash player from the released information alone, isn’t it. Why yes, yes it is.
    That’s why Adobe doesn’t worry about it. They’ve guaranteed that at the end of the day, they’ve only enabled you to more easily create content for Adobe’s player, using Adobe’s tools.
    When Adobe actually releases the full, unfettered Flash spec, to a standards body, to where you could fully, completely duplicate Adobe’s Flash Player functionality, then you can talk about how open flash is.
    Until then, it’s all just unicorns farting cupcakes on a full page ad

  • Stephen Walker — 11:57 AM on May 16, 2010

    Great news, John. Looking forward to Adobe apps written especially for tablets. We haven’t received any iPads in South Africa yet but I can imagine drawing on it – the future looks rosy indeed. I’m excited – and pleased that you’re heading it up – congratulations !!

  • Chris — 3:31 PM on May 16, 2010

    Because unlike Safari, Flash and Chrome don’t crash, or throw a fit like Safari when it comes to Flash.
    But to be fair, Flash’s performance under Safari is better than that of FireFox.

  • skylar — 9:26 PM on May 16, 2010

    Sorry, but you lost your argument on me as soon as you brought Flash into the discussion about App Store policy – particularly as your company (and presumably you) wanting Flash to run on the iPad brings in a whole world of emotions and uninformed debates that detract from a more objective and reasonable argument about the App Store.
    More over, the sarcasm insinuated in the question “But will I be allowed to do so?” underscored by the Adobe logos at top (favicon) and bottom ring like that of a frustrated child lost in this whole debate between quarreling neighbors. Really, you’re worried if Lighthouse can be sold in the App Store? Yes, the text says that but the emotion in this article says everything but.
    You guys live down the street from each other. Everyone at Apple knows tons of folks at Adobe and vice-versa. You play ultimate together, you ride bikes together, you even still hack together. You think Scott Forestall doesn’t want to showcase Lighthouse for iPad at the next WWDC? That’s one of the most unbelievable starts to an argument I’ve heard. They’ve been dying for an awesome Adobe product to showcase on their platforms for years – so much so they even settled for lackluster demos of Photoshop. And even if you had second thoughts, make a few phone calls and take some folks out for beers in Saratoga. Is that really what this is all about, or is this post a like the rumor started in the schoolyard because no one is big enough to pick up the phone and start the discussion?
    There is a good debate to be had on the App Store policy but clearly you and Adobe are not ready to do that objectively. As for the interwoven announcement about plans for bringing your app for creatives to a new platform, Kudos and best of luck. If the Flash-drama fuels your fire to make the most awesome product ever, more power to you. But, if you spend your nights sore about the whole thing and living in fear of App Store nazis, then please, head to a Cocoa Kitchen or brewpub for some Silcon Valley kum-bah-yah ASAP!

  • Thorf — 11:10 PM on May 16, 2010

    I’m am iPhone and iPod user, but I can’t say that the lack of Flash makes me happy. I love my iPhone – generally it’s very useful in all sorts of ways – but I find it irritating that it only presents me a censored, Flash-less version of the Internet. There’s simply no way round the fact that here and now quite a lot of sites use Flash. If one of your regular sites is in this group, too bad.
    It’s all very well to say that voting with your wallet is the way to go, but the Internet is much more than just Flash, and the iPhone has a lot of good things going for it even without being able to see Flash sites.
    The bottom line: it’s a mistake to say that 80 million iPhone users are happy that their iPhones are not able to use Flash. It would be much more accurate to say that they’re satisfied with their iPhones for what they can do. And I would suggest that a lot of people would be even more satisfied if it could do more, including accessing Flash sites that we have all taken for granted.
    By the way John, I agree with your post 100%.

  • Frank — 12:10 AM on May 17, 2010

    I would like to see an iPad version of Adobe Digital Editions. You can buy so many ebooks that only work with ADE, so having something on the iPad to read them all would be just great!

  • Christopher Anderton — 12:36 AM on May 17, 2010

    The funny thing is that the problem is developers.
    Most of the Flash content i see when browsing is memory consuming ads, or websites that are so clunky and terrible that your browser of choice commits suicide.
    I actually block Flash contents in almost every webpage (with some small excpetions on youtube, vimeo and so on)

  • mark — 3:56 AM on May 17, 2010

    Please! I’ve worked for both Apple and Adobe. Neither company really give a hoot about open standards, though I’d tilt towards Apple on that if called to. Adobe never really invented anything, it’s just bought out other companies and marked up the prices – Flash hmm wasn’t that Macromedia.
    Your outrageous contempt for Apple users and lack of implementation vision over the last few years with Photoshop has been enough to turn this fee paying customer to Aperture (inferior but at least it’s not Adobe)

  • Tiemen — 7:28 AM on May 17, 2010

    Aww crap. I’m afraid I’m too late to join in on this discussion, but perhaps I can suggest a related topic on what I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts? Maybe you could start a post on that?
    Because in this open letter, Adobe is promoting an “open business model”, I instantly think of the product pricing of Adobe, and the resulting piracy. To my friends, I’ve always orated about how piracy would in fact be part of Adobe’s business model. Enabling individuals to use professional grade programs like photoshop to process their holiday snapshots, 14 year olds to swap heads on class portraits and so on; in fact by these kids having learnt the program, ensuring them to choose Adobe over competing (open source?!) software later in a professional context.
    Adobe probably won’t acknowledge such, but it is in fact quite similar to it’s partnerships with schools & universities. But I find it fascinating, and wish they would shed some light on this taboo of piracy.
    Other than that, if Adobe were to close down on the piracy issue, they have a very classic and conventional business model. Letters written by such company on the subject of open markets do smell somewhat of hypocrisy.

  • David — 3:19 PM on May 17, 2010

    I think there’s no good innovation argument to be made here. Adobe’s ad was a business case disguised as otherwise.
    I say this because an argument is no more than opinion if not supported by evidence. There’s no evidence yet that Apple’s approach is stifling innovation.
    What we do know is that the rest of the market failed to produce a smartphone of the game-changing nature of the iPhone despite being open.
    The market failed to produce a tablet with the sheet out-of-the-gate appeal of the iPad.
    The PC market has been stagnant for years, with innovations from one OS to the other coming down to refinements.
    Indeed, most of the recent innovation of late has been in the arena of web development, with increasingly sophisticated tasks moving to the cloud and more and more people using their PCs as internet-access devices.
    Further, the OS most carrying the torch of openness, Linux, also has the smallest non-embedded share of the market.
    Is it possible that the design-by-committee, feature-list-driven, looks good on a store-placard mentality of the market so far needs a competitor in the form of product driven by a controlled and focused vision? No? Really? Not even as one product line among many in the marketplace? Does the market not deserve even one product that represents an alternative for those who want the benefits that go along with it and are willing to take the tradeoffs?
    How fair is it to those who want such a product to have it driven from the market or turned into something else from what they want? How can the success of iPhone and iPad not be considered the free market at work, a vote from many people that they want this type of product, with full knowledge that a competitor might come out with a more open alternative?

  • Dave — 6:37 AM on May 18, 2010

    I believe that would be Canvas, which Apple will be agreeing to license freely. (but continue to hold onto) Hey, isn’t that exactly what Adobe is doing in the way of a Flash plug-in? So… If Adobe were able to make Flash a standard rolled directly into all browsers rather than a plug-in you can choose to use (or not), everyone would be cool with Flash?
    John, I’m sorry that the launch of an amazing new version of CS has been marred by the news of all this BS. While Apple may not have intentionally done this right on the eve of the launch, I have to say that the timing seems awfully convenient. Anyway, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, etc. but I’m loving the improvements!

  • Dave — 7:03 AM on May 18, 2010

    And that’s why we have Google Voice as a native app on the iPhone today… Oh wait. That’s also why we have 3rd party MP3 players with different options from the default. Oh wait… That’s why we have all of those advanced 3rd party email apps… Oh, that’s right. I forgot… Yeah…
    Funny for instance, how after nearly a year of Apple telling us that the camera in the iPhone 3G can’t do video that they are finally allowing 3rd party apps that can do it. 1st gen iPhone can’t do picture messages? How is it a phone I got for free with contract four years prior could do it?.. Could the 1st gen phone have really done it? We’ll never know because Apple said you’d have to buy a new phone for that feature and since they control the only gateway to doing it legitimately through ATTs service, we’ll just have to trust them… Like we did with the whole video thing… Yeah, Apple has only your best interests in mind at all times. Not to say Adobe is the white knight but they aren’t the villain either and I’m getting a little sick of seeing them automatically be wrong, evil, lazy or whatever just because they say something that doesn’t mesh with the Apple PR machine that is Mr. Jobs.

  • Dave — 7:43 AM on May 18, 2010

    Hasn’t worked for Google… They eventually followed Apples open suggestion “Make a web app – we can’t stop you” and they did a great job… Unfortunately, as a web app it is inherently less accessible to the average user… Which I’m sure is exactly what Apple wanted.
    I liked John Gruber’s description of Apple’s “go Web-only” suggestion as a “shit sandwich.” –J.]

  • Adam — 10:12 AM on May 18, 2010

    Windows Mobile supported Flash since, what… 2002?

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 11:16 AM on May 18, 2010

    Whatever happened to the John Gruber of 2007? Who kidnapped him and replaced him with a Steve puppet?

  • Joseph Nicolia — 10:03 PM on May 19, 2010

    Great post.
    I have to say, I agree completely- and I hope you’ll keep working on that great application you’re hoping to use for yourself one day.
    I hope that the closed system that seems to be cropping up around some great hardware doesn’t prevent that sort of application from coming to fruition under the best circumstances possible, but I’m confident that the hardware community will be able to step up and make it work, even if Apple or someone else who takes the same approach hobbles you.

  • Jan Kabili — 10:06 AM on May 21, 2010

    John: If you’ve accepted this new challenge, hearty congratulations!

  • Bosun odeyemi — 4:38 PM on May 31, 2010

    Adobe should produce and market its own mobile tablet and phones/pda, deploying it’s own technology on them. Adobe already control desktop publishing and rich content on the web. Why can’t they leverage on this and dominate. They have the power now, think smart! Adobe should partner with a reliable hardware manufacturer. If adobe is not careful apple will run over whatever market share adobe enjoys in the publishing world. They are going for your market adobe! Dont be naive!

  • simone ghezzi — 4:45 AM on June 08, 2010

    I have to say, innovation is great, and I am grateful to people like you or Steve Jobs, who push it so hard.
    I agree he is possessive and blocking someone else’s innovation; thanks God I’m not his son, I would have become a drug addict for sure.
    But Adobe also tends to block your innovations on the way to people: as an example, if a consumer wants to eliminate a wrinkle or a cable from a photo, she still needs to pay 1000$ to get Photoshop.
    So, yes, you’ve done something incredibly great, but I can’t get it because I am not willing to pay 3 weeks of salary for it.
    I confess that sometimes I would prefer not to even see this innovation, than to suffer because madonna’s wrinkles are removed with a click and mine stay there :-)
    I’m still hoping for a light Photoshop for consumers, a sort of Lightroom plus clone stamp, I would pay 200$ right now.
    All the Best for your future, and thanks for doing this for us :-)
    Simone

  • abir_ahmed — 5:46 AM on April 20, 2011

    @John : You said in your post “I want to build the most amazing iPad imaging apps the world has ever seen.”
    I am waiting to see that day when you will build that iPad apps.You know I visit your blog regularly and a great fan of yours’

    Abi

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