I've always loved Adobe, or at least Macromedia and then Adobe. For me, it was utterly frustrating to watch the company come out with all of these cool ideas and absolutely no one take notice. This was only more aggravating to me as I saw blog post after blog post whenever someone on the Google blog sneezed or when Steve Jobs threw out whatever new iGadget he had thrown together. However recently, it's been Adobe that gets attention whenever they release a new product and I think we're starting to see the beginning of what could be a Googlesque Adobe.
Now Adobe will likely never have the clout of Google or be quite the darling of the tech world, but Adobe's transformation into a web company is starting to make people remember one of the oldest companies in the tech world. I think the lack of excitement over Adobe was simply that big creative suites aren't very exciting. Lucrative, absolutely; but exciting, not so much. But Adobe has always had a great platform and some talented people who use its products. With Flash, they've had the best playdough on the playground but it was the other kids who always got to play with it. They ended up giving away a lot of playdough, but everyone else got the attention for making fun things. That's all changing now, and it's resulting in more attention for Adobe and what seems to be a renewed sense of excitement about what the company is doing.
It was a post over at Webaware about the myFeedz service that got me thinking about Adobe's moving into a web software company. Just like Google, they're using a core asset (big box software) to subsidize interesting web experiments. Just as Google ties its products all back to search, Adobe can use a lot of these new web properties as advertising and showcase what their tools are capable of. Google did a lot to showcase and generate buzz for Ajax, and I think Adobe can do the same thing for Flash. JamJar and Kuler were "fun" apps that got people interested and in many ways, started the trend. More recently we've seen Digital Editions and the partnership with Photo Bucket that result in direct revenue for the company. There was also the Kiwi Project that showed off some Flex capabilities and had some members become part of "Philo" which is Adobe's rumored IPTV project, another example of Adobe's expansion.
Adobe has always been a fun company to watch. I've always been a fan of what Flash could do, and while I do worry about what happens to web startups using Flash, I think Adobe's foray into web apps will be good for everyone. Google has done a lot to advance Ajax and in the process, become a (mostly)fun company. Adobe has talented people and has adopted the more laid back style of Macromedia, so I think the ingredients are there. Now they just need to get out and show all the cool things that can be done with play dough.