Well Bruce Chizen is throwing down the gauntlet. SiliconValley.com has an article which covers the present state of Adobe very well. In it they talk about the Apollo project, which I've touched on a little bit here on ZDNet. For a long time Adobe wouldn't talk about Apollo, but it seems that now they're loosening the belt and getting ready for an old fashioned street brawl with Microsoft.
With Apollo, Adobe is aiming directly at the heart of Microsoft. Adobe's goal is to give developers a way to build desktop-level applications in a cross-platform environment. As the article notes, "The notion of faster, easier and better -- gosh, that seems at least compelling, if not the basis for a new religion. The question is: Is Adobe the basis for a new religion?" And that really is the big question, can Adobe totally disrupt software as we know it?
Microsoft has made a lot of missteps with Vista, and it has been such a long haul to bring it to market that it is difficult to imagine what the next version of the Windows operating system will be like. Putting together an OS is such a monstrous task that if Adobe can come along and woo developers with a simple, cross-platform solution there will be some very serious soul searching at Microsoft about what to do next.
Adobe/Macromedia has excelled at providing the tools for people wanting to build their presence on the web. They have a big following of loyal users and those loyal users are excellent evangelists. If Adobe can get them to buy into the Apollo model for delivering software, then there will be a lot of talented individuals developing applications that will rival the offerings from Microsoft and WPF.
I'm sure in the next few weeks we'll start to see more news on Apollo. However at this stage there are a lot of unanswered questions. The two companies are absolutely on a collision course, and anyone who is involved in building web applications should be watching the fight. It's going to be a slug fest and at the end, we should have some fantastic technologies for delivering the next generation of technologies.