Adobe to Apple… "Et Tu Brute?"

This week Microsoft landed a pretty substantial deal with Nokia to put Silverlight on their phones.

In the same week, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs, tells Adobe there won’t be Flash on the iPhone… now there’s a decision that’s going to have just a few ramifications! Now developers will need to find some other means of getting games, movies and rich applications onto the iPhone.

Adobe Creative Suite running on Apple’s OS X operating system is currently the de facto industry standard for designers and arty types to work on. Apple has profited heavily from Adobe’s dominance in this space. It was really Adobe who helped to solidify the macintosh’s role in the world of desktop publishing, fonts and postscript technologies.

This small move suggests that the Apple-Adobe relationship may be starting to falter a little, and also gives Microsoft a huge opening to downplay the proposed importance of Adobe Flash/Flex/Air, instead promoting Microsoft Silverlight/Expression/Visual Studio products. Apple’s move today is really a crippling blow for Adobe’s newly announced Rich Internet Application strategy.

It’s also potentially bad news for Apple if Adobe choose to take this the wrong way and perhaps start focusing their product development towards Windows and Linux… unlikely! It could be argued that Adobe suite runs just as well…. if not better…. on Windows than it does on the Mac these days and the old ideology of serious designers only working on Macs now irrelevant.

Adobe bulked up its suite of creative applications in the last few years by acquiring web software company Macromedia… bringing into its fold key products including Dreamweaver web development environment, and integrated Flash development environment for rich content. Flash is currently the standard for web based video – as currently used on YouTube.

Within the last fortnight, Adobe announced the release of Adobe AIR,Flex and Flash for building Rich Internet Applications with some fanfare…

Today’s announcement by Apple, however, suggest that Adobe are starting to slip a bit, and I could suggest a few reasons why…

As a developer I can safely say that I have no interest, whatsoever, in Adobe Air or Flex… the development tools are overly complex to configure, install and then try to code against, and in this day and age I simply don’t have the time or patience for “overly complex”… Flash is a complete disaster from a developer perspective… again overly complex… this comes more from Flash’s history as a bit of an amateur animation product, and then hacked and hacked over the years to try to be more than that… It’s no wonder that they released Air as open source… shifting away from their trusty commercial model… they are desperate to get adoption… frankly I don’t think it’s going to happen and I’d advise developers not to waste their time with this…

Now let’s do a compare and contrast with the Microsoft equivalents. Microsoft Expression Suite is gaining ground quickly as alternatives to Adobe’s Creative Suite… and I think it will be better because on either side of it you’ve got Microsoft Visual Studio and Silverlight…

Microsoft Visual Studio is now recognised as the preferred commercial integrated development environment… it’s just gorgeous and unbelievably well designed for coders to concentrate on writing code instead of trying to figure out how to get their programming environment installed in the first place. In second place is Eclipse… well respected, cross-platform, extremely flexible, and very popular… but just not as nice as Visual Studio in this developer’s opinion…

Silverlight is winning over developers at a phenomenal rate. Microsoft Expression Blend provides designers with all their traditional tools, but also integrates with Visual Studio so, for the first time, developers and designers can work with tools that really meet their needs.

I think today’s announcement is an an early sign that Adobe is going to be up for sale soon.

Apple could have an interest in this acquisition – if they were smart they would pull Adobe’s products in house and make them only work on Mac OS… thereby attempting to ensure that designers stick with Apple Mac’s…. but I think that strategy would fail with the product line through the clear lack of cutting off that amount of income and potential market share…

The more likely candidate to acquire Adobe would seem to be Microsoft instead… they could bring Adobe’s product experts in-house to help improve the quality of the Expression Suite. Couldn’t see them having much use for Air/Flex/Flash…

Anyway… small announcement… potentially large ramifications…

This entry was posted in Apple, Microsoft, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Adobe to Apple… "Et Tu Brute?"

  1. Ian Robinson says:

    “Silverlight is winning over developers at a phenomenal rate. ”

    Where is the evidence for this?


  2. everydayman says:


    Finally, the new open office is now available. I have yet to try it, but it has yet to fail me too..

    Thanks for sharing …

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