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10:20 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren

Adobe 'Moving Forward' Without Apple

All the back-and-forth on the Flash issue is getting a little ridiculous. Whichever side you happen to support in the issue, what really matters is giving customers what they want. That's what Adobe says it is going to do -- with or without Apple.

All the back-and-forth on the Flash issue is getting a little ridiculous. Whichever side you happen to support in the issue, what really matters is giving customers what they want. That's what Adobe says it is going to do -- with or without Apple.Apple CEO Steve Jobs penned a missive yesterday on Flash and why Apple doesn't support it in devices such as the iPhone and iPad. Later, Adobe's CEO fired back via an interview conducted by the Wall Street Journal. Thursday night, Adobe's CTO published his own thoughts. Here's what Kevin Lynch had to say:

Clearly, a lot of people are passionate about both Apple and Adobe and our technologies. We feel confident that were Apple and Adobe to work together as we are with a number of other partners, we could provide a terrific experience with Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

We have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple devices for both Flash Player and AIR. We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others.

We look forward to delivering Flash Player 10.1 for Android smartphones as a public preview at Google I/O in May, and then a general release in June.

If you read through Jobs' thoughts, and then compare them to Adobe's it is clear that business and technology are the two issues at hand. Each company has its own set of beliefs about Flash, and they can't come to terms on how to work together. This happens all the time. Technology and business will always clash -- and some times that comes at the expense of the end user (in this case, iPhone and iPad users).

Apple's desire to control its iPhone business and the overall experience surrounding iPhone OS devices is being over-vilified in my opinion. The notions of openness, competition, and the greater good can be debated all day long. In case anyone forget, Apple is a for-profit company. If people have a problem with its business model and products, they have plenty of choice in the market.

Adobe is hoping to capitalize on this. Lynch says in plain language that it is giving up on Apple and will target pretty much every other smartphone platform instead. Adobe still has a great chance to succeed with Flash on Android, BlackBerry OS, Symbian, webOS, and Windows Mobile / Windows Phone. Will it? That's up to Adobe, its engineers, and the willingness to work together with other platform vendors.

This rift also gives Google, Microsoft, Palm, and Nokia a chance to differentiate themselves from Apple and what Apple does. Differentiation can help drive sales if done correctly.

In the end, I find it fascinating to watch these companies battle it out in such a public way. Whether or not either company is in the right or the wrong doesn't matter. What matters is giving customers what they want. If they don't, customers will go elsewhere.

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