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Does Adobe really need the iPhone? Not really

Apple CEO Steve Jobs dissed Adobe's Flash and you'd think it was the biggest story on the planet from the Techmeme drumbeat. But here's a news flash: Adobe will be fine with or without the iPhone, which is expected to hit 10 million units this year.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Apple CEO Steve Jobs dissed Adobe's Flash and you'd think it was the biggest story on the planet from the Techmeme drumbeat. But here's a news flash: Adobe will be fine with or without the iPhone, which is expected to hit 10 million units this year.

The quote heard around the (blogging) world (Techmeme) came when Jobs said Apple needs something better than the current Flash Player if it's going to be on the iPhone. Ouch. Obviously, these two strong partners aren't getting along so well these days.

As Charles Cooper notes, Adobe is biting its tongue as it should at this juncture. But honestly Adobe doesn't have to bow to Jobs' shenanigans. Here's why:

Adobe has developers on its side. It's a big mobile world out there and Flash is everywhere. While iPhone is popular it's still a bit player in the handset market. Sure Microsoft's Silverlight has some mojo, but Flash is still the leader.

Flash Lite is on 300 million handsets. Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said on Adobe's fourth quarter earnings conference call in December:

The adoption of Flash Lite on handsets if anything is accelerating and we are really pleased. We've said that we've crossed 300 million and we continue to see adoption by handset manufacturers worldwide, so very excited about the adoption we are seeing on handsets.

Apple will hit 10 million iPhone units in 2008. That's chump change--3 percent--relative to 300 million.

Apple and Adobe don't have to get along on every business. The business that matters for both parties is the Mactel-Creative Suite 3 pairing.

Bottom line: As long as Adobe and Apple compartmentalize their iPhone spat life will be fine.

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