John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Adobe to Apple: You Wanna Hug It Out? Let’s Hug It Out!

Though it should have ended after Steve Jobs’s withering “Thoughts of Flash” essay, Adobe’s long and unsuccessful campaign to persuade Apple to embrace the multimedia platform on its mobile devices continues. Today the company added still more fuel to the Flash flame war by taking out full-page pro-Flash advertisements in the business sections of a number of major newspapers.

Tough love–or irony–seems to be the theme, with the ad opening with a big “We [heart] Apple” and continuing with a reprimand about Apple’s position on Flash, which Adobe claims in a bit of bloviatory grandstanding is a threat to freedom and the evolution of the Web.

The ads have been launched in concert with a new “Freedom of Choice” channel on the Adobe Web site in which the company lays out its arguments in more detail with some “Setting the Record Straight” usage statistics and an open letter from Adobe co-founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock:

We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs. No company–no matter how big or how creative–should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.

When markets are open, anyone with a great idea has a chance to drive innovation and find new customers. 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.

We believe that Apple, by taking the opposite approach, has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web–the chapter in which mobile devices outnumber computers, any individual can be a publisher, and content is accessed anywhere and at any time.

In the end, we believe the question is really this: Who controls the World Wide Web? And we believe the answer is: nobody–and everybody, but certainly not a single company.

That’s a wonderful worldview, but as a refutation of Jobs’s 1,671-word point-by-bloody-point gutting of the Flash platform, it’s a bit lacking. And ultimately it’s just more rhetoric–good rhetoric, after bad, if you will.

Does Adobe (ADBE) really believe it can shame Apple (AAPL) into reconsidering its position? Perhaps it needs to give “Thoughts on Flash” another read. Or better yet, it should heed the advice of its own co-founders:

“The best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than your competitors.”

If that’s your belief, Adobe, then why bother with this silly war of words? Show us Flash running–and running well with minimal resource consumption–on some mobile devices. As Altimeter Group partner Michael Gartenberg wrote this morning, “All the Adobe ads don’t matter if they can’t make a compelling case to the mass market why they should care about Flash.”

UPDATE: Adobe, in answer to my question above, offers these videos of Flash Player 10.1 prerelease running on a handful of smartphones and tablets.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus