Thursday, May 13, 2010

Adobe: Saying and doing are two different things

Recently, Adobe executives were quoted saying that the company will not put any additional effort into its Flash-to-iPhone cross-compiler, and that its focus will be on providing the best possible experience on Android and other mobile platforms. I'd suggested that approach in a blog post several weeks ago. Today, however, Adobe has launched an advertising campaign and published a full-page ad in the Washington Post with an open letter from the company's founders chastising Apple for its actions.

It seems clear that Adobe doesn't really know what it wants to do. If the company is truly focusing all its efforts on Android and other platforms, why is it launching an anti-Apple advertising campaign? The ad in the Washington Post certainly wasn't intended to influence Apple--the last time I checked, Apple's headquarters were still in Cupertino. Adobe's ad is intended to influence the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department in their preliminary investigations of Apple.

If Adobe can't get Flash working on other platforms and is therefore desperate to get onto the iPhone and iPad, that's a problem with Adobe's own engineering team, not an issue for the U.S. Government. Adobe has missed a series of self-announced release dates for Flash 10 on a variety of mobile platforms. Apple's actions haven't helped things for them, of course, but Adobe has painted itself into this particular corner. Also, we don't know the details of the discussions between Apple and Adobe; the companies have been talking about porting Flash to the iPhone OS since the release of the original iPhone, and we don't know how much of the current situation is the result of bad blood that arose in those negotiations.

Adobe has lobbyists who can try to convince the FTC and Justice Department to take action against Apple (if there are any legal grounds for them to do so.) However, according to NPD Group, Android is now beating the iPhone in new U.S. consumer sales, and Verizon has confirmed that an Android tablet is right around the corner. That's where Adobe should be focusing its attention, and it should be sending consistent messages, both externally and internally.
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