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2/22/2010
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Adobe Blogger Challenges Apple's 'Great Man'

Adobe blogger John Dowdell wants Apple to start communicating openly about its actions rather than through comments relayed by unattributed sources.

In an Adobe blog post on Saturday, John Dowdell, who who works in customer relations for the company, challenged Apple to be more forthright in the way it communicates.

"Get your CEO to either talk, or not," he said. "Put some skin in the game, put your rep on the line with attributed statements. The lack of confirmation, denial, or clarification from Apple PR about rumored quotes from The Great Man is telling."

Adobe and Apple have had a rocky relationship for years, owning competition between Apple and Adobe in the video software arena, among other issues.

Since the launch of the iPhone, the relationship has deteriorated as it has become clear that Apple doesn't want Adobe's Flash platform on the iPhone.

With Apple's iPad announcement, that conflict has become more public.

At the end of January, Apple held an employee meeting to answer questions about its newly announced iPad. Accounts of the meeting and what Apple CEO Steve Jobs said from unnamed sources were widely reported.

At the meeting Jobs reportedly criticized Flash for being buggy and Adobe for being lazy. No official statement on the matter has been issued by Apple.

Apple has long been known for its fanatical message control, having sued a blogger who revealed supposed secrets and demanded extraordinary secrecy from supply chain partners. Its public relations team is notoriously tight-lipped, which certain exceptions.

In a recent report published by The Mac Observer, John Martellaro, a former senior marketing manager at Apple, claims that the company selectively shares its secrets to further its strategic goals.

Dowdell objects to this practice. "Can that 'controlled leak' strategy," he says. "Stop relying on 'inside sources' to float trial balloons like 'Bing on iPhone.' Deal honestly with partners and the public."

He also suggests that Apple's evangelists wage astroturf campaigns by posting positive comments without identifying Apple affiliations. "Urge your external evangelists to speak with attribution, and put their own personal rep on the line. The sheer number of pro-Apple comments filed under untraceable names like 'ken' or 'steve' does not, in a post-EllieLight world, inspire confidence. Urge your fans to avoid acting as marketing interns would."

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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