Creative Suite 5, the latest compendium of creative and rich internet software from global creative workflow giant Adobe launches today.
The various flavors and editions are comprised of various point products (with 250 new features) familiar to creative professionals, and Adobe as a highly creative company have done their usual stellar job of laying out all the features on their sites. The real story however is the larger strategic game playing out across multiple media and devices, a battle for the next generation of communications and user tracking.
Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer, Adobe
“While Creative Suite 5 continues Adobe’s storied history of delivering astonishing new creative features, this release puts us front and center of the big issues facing publishers and creatives worldwide – how to build businesses around digital assets and content. With Omniture Web technology we’re integrating critical business analytics directly into the creative process, shortening the time it takes to create and deploy high-impact content.”
It's this type of bold thinking - Adobe purchased Omniture, a formerly publicly held online marketing and web analytics company in September 2009 - which moves them past their creative arts tools business reputation.
The creative tools are becoming ever more sophisticated and seamlessly interconnected, and are used in a kaleidoscope of business disciplines, but it's the advertising business which is the big piece on the strategic chessboard.
The ubiquitous Flash browser plug in allows a high level of multimedia advertising in banner ads, formerly miserable animated gif files or static images, and sophisticated techniques to track interaction via Omniture integrations.
The latest iteration of Flash Pro enables designers and developers to create all manner of wonderful interactive web interfaces; as always common sense on the part of the creator will dictate whether the user experience will be satisfactory. The tactical challenge for competitors is the Flash platform's coming broad support for Android, Windows Mobile, Linux, Windows 7, Palm web OS, Mac OSX Snow Leopard, Blackberry and Symbian with Flash player 10.1. This is the only consistent browser-based runtime for smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks, PCs and other Web connected devices.
With Flash Pro and the new Flash Catalyst it's possible to design cross platform web applications without writing code and the cross compile their creations to work on the appropriate operating system above. In plain English this means you can design sophisticated interactive multimedia applications and save them out in versions that will work on the iPad and iPhone ...as well as any other platforms they choose to run on.
We already know this idea doesn't play well on Infinity Loop in Cupertino: Apple have banned the iphone OS from playing nicely with other compilers. Adobe enabled the online advertising business to create TV standard advertising with Flash and browser plug ins. They are now launching Flash CS5 into hostile territory against Apple's new iAd mobile device advertising platform and Microsoft's Silverlight. In the separate enterprise rich internet application market Silverlight is SAP's chosen UI over Flash's Flex, another market Macromedia/Adobe built from the ground up.
The high strategic stakes are all the new mobile platforms and browsers and their associated code bases - ironically Adobe's CS5 is going up against the new HTML5 standard as that matures. This will impact everything from heavy weight enterprise data mashup UIs to mobile phone applications.
The other Adobe products in the suite are iterations of industry standard vector graphics, bitmap image manipulation or creation and very sophisticated video post production tools. While these are world class and the tools millions of creative professionals rely on daily, they are all used for crafting material that needs a channel or medium to play on. Print, TV and other traditional media aren't going away and nor is the Flash plugin, but the next generation is on the horizon and Adobe are tactically in it to win it.