Adobe: Apple's anti-Flash movement a risk to business

Adobe: Apple's anti-Flash movement a risk to business

Summary: Apple has made Adobe's list of potential risks to its business because it won't use Flash in the iPhone or iPad.

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Apple has made Adobe's list of potential risks to its business because it won't use Flash in the iPhone or iPad.

In its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Adobe said (emphasis mine):

We offer our desktop application-based products primarily on Windows and Macintosh platforms. We generally offer our server-based products on the Linux platform as well as the Windows and UNIX platforms. To the extent that there is a slowdown of customer purchases of personal computers on either the Windows or Macintosh platform or in general, to the extent that we have difficulty transitioning product or version releases to new Windows and Macintosh operating systems, or to the extent that significant demand arises for our products or competitive products on other platforms before we choose and  are able to offer our products on these platforms our business could be harmed. Additionally, to the extent new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed.

Adobe's disclosure comes as Apple's developer agreement for iPhone OS 4.0 forbids connectors to Flash. There are a few things to note about that passage. For starters, Apple wasn't listed as a risk factor in Adobe's annual report. In fact, Adobe played down the risk of HTML5 as a Flash rival. From the annual report in January:

Version 5 of the Web markup language HTML (“HTML5”) is being developed by an industry consortium that includes Adobe and leading browser manufacturers such as Apple, Google and Microsoft.  HTML5 will contain new features which will compete with some of the features of Flash Player, such as the ability to play video natively within the browser.  We will work to implement support for HTML5 in our Web authoring solutions.  Yet, we believe the competing interests of the browser developers, and the potential for inconsistency in how each major browser implements HTML5 will create a continuing demand for solutions such as Flash that provide a consistent presentation capability that works across browsers, operating systems and devices.

Here's what Adobe said about Apple in its annual report:

With respect to the Apple iPhone, although our desire is to work closely with Apple to deliver Adobe Flash Platform technologies on their device similar to our approach with other mobile vendors, we are prohibited from making advancements towards this goal until we have Apple’s cooperation to do so.

The conclusion: Apple's decision to keep Flash off the iPad was a manageable threat to the business. Now that Apple has launched the iPad, the threat to Flash isn't as contained.

More on the iPhone 4.0 launch:

And the Adobe-Apple flap:

Topics: Browser, Apple, Enterprise Software, iPad, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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78 comments
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  • of course it is!

    a risk to adobe's business. poor guys. get over it. kill dreamveaver and
    bring out a top notch html5 authoring program and the risk will become
    an opportunity.

    but something tells me someone else will take that land grab
    opportunity
    bannedfromzdnetagain
    • Sounds like anti-competitive tactics to me

      Other companies get sued for this. You know, intentionally locking out or refusing to allow a company develop for their device or software without any logical reason what so ever.
      bobiroc
      • wrong

        apple is not refusing to allow a company develop for their device.
        everyone can, even adobe - and they already do that at the moment
        with great success: they have the no. 3 free app for the ipad right
        now.

        apple has no obligation to allow anything that is only in the best
        interest of their competitors because it has no monopoly. case closed.

        and if a developer doesn't like it, develope for another platform. there
        are many and two have even a higher market share.

        choice, so much choice!
        bannedfromzdnetagain
      • Adobe can develop all they want for iPhone/iPad

        Last I checked they still have products that produce HTML.
        CowLauncher
        • You might wnat to read this:

          http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/story/iphone-developer-rules-rewritten-block-adobe-tools/2010-04-09

          Ouch.
          HypnoToad72
          • Does not change the simple fact.

            Adobe can develop for the iPhone if they wish.

            Ouch.
            Bruizer
      • Haven't We Had This Discussion Before

        Anti-competitive rises to actionability when there is also a monopoly
        and/or dominance in a market sector.

        Saw yesterday that RIM's market share increased.

        Sooooooooo. Apple can do what it wants regarding Flash. Because
        people can and do go to BlackBerry or Android when they got to have
        Flash.

        On the other hand, maybe you've got something, I'll be glad to join in
        when you petition the FTC to require Microsoft to produce Visual
        Studio/Linux.
        DannyO_0x98
        • Whatever

          Because Apple doesn't have the most of the market they can tell companies to go take a hike and refuse products made by them. I see. I love how definitions and laws get twisted with Apple all based on their less market penetration.

          In regards to your second half of your comment. Microsoft (or any other company) not developing software to run on another platform is entirely different. By that example Adobe would be the one saying we do not want to develop for iPhone/iPad/iTouch OS. And that is not illegal. Obviously the market calls for flash on the device based on the many many people that have been asking for it but it is OK for Apple to refuse to do it and purposely lock out Adobe from that particular product. Good for apple for keeping the sheep blind.
          bobiroc
          • apple is not locking out adobe

            adobe is developing for the iPlatform already and quite successful. (no 5
            free app for the ipad at the moment). and thdy have some iphone apps
            too.

            but it is good to know that adobe has so vocal apologists (or is it only
            apple-hatred?).
            bannedfromzdnetagain
          • Locking out an adobe product specifically

            Sorry if you felt the need to twist my comments to make it look like I was saying that they are not allowing Adobe to do anything for their platform. I will try to be more specific in the future for simple minds like yours.
            bobiroc
          • Forgive me for interceding, but explain this:

            Apple is preventing Flash CS5 users from exporting their apps made in Flash to the iPhone:

            http://www.fiercemobilecontent.com/story/iphone-developer-rules-rewritten-block-adobe-tools/2010-04-09

            A simple web search would reveal rather more than just one article as well.

            Apple is indeed blocking Flash, and it's to the point even I will cry "Foul!".

            Flash is integral and still will be; the only real competitor I've observed catching up is SilverLight. For now. It is not real competition to lock out your competitors. The same is true for the larger competitors locking out the small ones.

            Not to mention, other companies have been sued for playing such games. Apple is setting itself up for a fall and I'm siding with Adobe on this issue.
            HypnoToad72
          • But not locking out Adobe.

            Adobe has many programs and products OTHER than Flash. Flash is
            simply their worst one. I have yet to see [i]anything[/i] done in Flash that
            can not be done with the proposed HTML 5 standard (that Adobe is
            trying to block).

            [i]Not to mention, other companies have been sued for playing such
            games.[/i]

            Actually, they have not.
            Bruizer
          • Have to disagree with Bruizer

            This is the EPITOME of locking out Adobe by saying that you cannot use their tools to 'port' your application to the iPhone.

            It's ridiculous, and I hope that Apple is STOMPED on by the courts or regulators over this.
            Lerianis10
          • I think you understand...

            [i]Because Apple doesn't have the most of the market they can tell
            companies to go take a hike and refuse products made by them.[/i]

            Yep.

            [i]I love how definitions and laws get twisted with Apple all based on
            their less market penetration.[/i]

            Has nothing to do with it. You almost started to have a flash of
            enlightenment in your opening sentence. Your Apple Hate stepped in
            and turned off the light in your third.

            [i]By that example Adobe would be the one saying we do not want to
            develop for iPhone/iPad/iTouch OS. And that is not illegal. [/i]

            The battery is starting to charge that capacitor on the flash. Will it
            reach enough of a charge to fire....

            [i]Obviously the market calls for flash on the device based on the
            many many people that have been asking for it but it is OK for Apple
            to refuse to do it and purposely lock out Adobe from that particular
            product.[/i]

            Nope, battery died...
            Bruizer
      • Adobe whinning about flash is a complete joke

        this is the same company that is so committed to Flash that they still don't have an X64 version for Windows despite promises to the contrary for a couple of years now. If Adobe can't be bothered to support their OWN product I really can't blame Apple for moving away from it.

        I've been playing with Flashblock addon for FF lately and finding that for the most part I survive just fine without it....most of the flash I see is nothing but advertising which just wastes my bandwidth anyway. I'm sure the web would survive just fine without flash.
        bobtran
        • The fact is that x64 is hard to write for

          And also considering that 32-bit systems are more common today, I can understand why they don't want to waste their time with having TWO versions of ONE product.

          Maybe when everything goes TOTALLY 64-bit, Adobe will change their minds, but I can agree with them with not doing it until then.
          Lerianis10
    • Wouldn't surprise me...

      If it were someone like Microsoft. Expression Web is a cracking good
      piece of kit, at a reasonable price too. I'd love to see it ported to Mac!
      Microsoft know how to make a good IDE. I'd be perfectly happy to see
      Microsoft produce a decent HTML/CSS3 compliant IDE.
      webmaster@...
      • There certainly is a huge opportunity here

        No one has a WYSIYG product to produce this stuff. And now it looks like
        there is going to be a big demand for it. My Flash developer friends were
        convinced Apple would accept Flash.
        CowLauncher
  • Apple Control

    I just do not like how apple seems to think they can decide what is right for their customers. It would be different if for some reason it could not be developed but the fact that it probably can be and Apple is keeping it out despite the many many requests for it to be included just shows they have little regard for their customers. Just like denying apps based on they do not feel the app is appropriate. Let the customers decide and if a customer wants a porn app then awesome for them. They claim it is for the safety of the children. Well then that should be up to the parent and if the app store cannot implement some rating system and a lockout option for parents to use then it sounds like Apple's R&D team is not as great as they are made out to be. Many other devices/software have such features and whether parents use them or not is a different story.
    bobiroc
    • How is promoting HTML5 being controlling?

      HTML client side code is far far far less controlling than a compiled
      proprietary executable (swf) from one company.

      If Apple chooses not to sell porn in their outlet, how is this different from
      any other store? There are plenty of other sources for anything you want
      to look at.
      CowLauncher