We announced a new server product today called Flash Media Rights Management Server which will let content providers protect their Flash video content. But the goal isn't to mess with the current Flash experience. Flash is successful because it's easy and it's everywhere. No one at Adobe wants to see that go away.
But AIR opened up some interesting possibilities and undeniably the video space is a lot more competitive with Microsoft and Apple all in the mix. So now that you can take video content offline with AIR we needed a solution that would let content providers monetize their content and protect it, so Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server was born (wow, that's a mouthful).
Ultimately, while I'm not a fan of any kind of content protection, I think this is good. One, I think there will be pressure on everyone to make the DRM experience very unobtrusive. Two, I think it's a growth market for Adobe and rich media. It matures the Adobe product line so that you can take an FLV and now distribute it and protect it just like any other video solution. I'm all for digital delivery of media. I think that the Blu-Ray/HDDVD war is the last of the physical media wars. But in order to enable that, right now you have to have some kind of content protection.
With this announcement, now Adobe and Microsoft are in a position to compete for that market with cross-platform, easy to use video content. I hope this leads to more innovation and that we see benefits across the board for RIAs.