Adobe: "Go Screw Yourself Apple"

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The claws are out. Adobe’s Platform Evangelist, Lee Brimelow retaliated today against Apple blocking Flash developers on the iPhone with a post on his Flash Blog.

Brimelow holds little back, lambasting the company for trying to exert a “tyrannical control over developers…more importantly, wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe.” He says any real developer could not support Apple’s moves in “good conscience.”

“Personally I will not be giving Apple another cent of my money until there is a leadership change over there. I’ve already moved most of my book, music, and video purchases to Amazon and I will continue to look elsewhere. Now, I want to be clear that I am not suggesting you do the same and I’m also not trying to organize some kind of boycott.”

Brimelow may not be explicitly calling for a boycott (although he is requesting a change in leadership— is he looking at you Jobs?).  But he is issuing a call to arms to developers. The lines are clear: you either stand with us or against us and if you’re against us (and complicit in Apple’s policies) then you’re not a real developer.

And if his sentiment wasn’t clear throughout the post, he caps it all off with: “Go Screw Yourself Apple.”

I don’t expect Apple to respond directly to Brimelow’s rant— it’s not Adobe’s official statement (however, Adobe has clearly seen the post and filtered it: the second paragraph notes “[Sentence regarding Apple’s intentions redacted at request from Adobe]”). Nevertheless, they are fighting words. The company must be furious that Apple is potentially locking it out of its products. The problem is there’s very little that Adobe can do besides stomp its feet. At the end of the day, Apple is not obligated to support Adobe’s developers.

The software developer, for its part, is coming to terms with what this all could mean for their bottom line. In a 10-Q filing (released today) Adobe says:

“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.”

UPDATE: They downplayed that “harm” in Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch’s formal response. Lynch says CS5 will thrive with or without Apple’s support. Loosely translated: guess what Apple, you don’t own innovation, watch your back.

“Yesterday Apple released some proposed changes to their SDK license restricting the technologies that developers can use, including Adobe software and others such as Unity and Titanium.

First of all, the ability to package an application for the iPhone or iPad is one feature in one product in Creative Suite. CS5 consists of 15 industry-leading applications, which contain hundreds of new capabilities and a ton of innovation. We intend to still deliver this capability in CS5 and it is up to Apple whether they choose to allow or disallow applications as their rules shift over time.

Secondly, multiscreen is growing beyond Apple’s devices. This year we will see a wide range of excellent smartphones, tablets, smartbooks, televisions and more coming to market and we are continuing to work with partners across this whole range to enable your content and applications to be viewed, interacted with and purchased.”

Full Text of Brimelow’s blog:

Apple Slaps Developers In The Face

By now you have surely heard about the new iPhone 4.0 SDK language that appears to make creating applications in any non-Apple-approved languages a violation of terms. Obviously Adobe is looking into this wording carefully so I will not comment any further until there is an official conclusion.

[Sentence regarding Apple’s intentions redacted at request from Adobe]. This has nothing to do whatsoever with bringing the Flash player to Apple’s devices. That is a separate discussion entirely. What they are saying is that they won’t allow applications onto their marketplace solely because of what language was originally used to create them. This is a frightening move that has no rational defense other than wanting tyrannical control over developers and more importantly, wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe. This does not just affect Adobe but also other technologies like Unity3D.

I am positive that there are a large number of Apple employees that strongly disagree with this latest move. Any real developer would not in good conscience be able to support this. The trouble is that we will never hear their discontent because Apple employees are forbidden from blogging, posting to social networks, or other things that we at companies with an open culture take for granted.

Adobe and Apple has had a long relationship and each has helped the other get where they are today. The fact that Apple would make such a hostile and despicable move like this clearly shows the difference between our two companies. All we want is to provide creative professionals an avenue to deploy their work to as many devices as possible. We are not looking to kill anything or anyone. This would be like us putting something in our SDK to make it impossible for 3rd-party editors like FDT to work with our platform. I can tell you that we wouldn’t even think or consider something like that.

Many of Adobe’s supporters have mentioned that we should discontinue the Creative Suite products on OS X as a form of retaliation. Again, this is something that Adobe would never consider in a million years. We are not looking to abuse our loyal users and make them pawns for the sake of trying to hurt another company. What is clear is that Apple most definitely would do that sort of thing as is evidenced by their recent behavior.

Personally I will not be giving Apple another cent of my money until there is a leadership change over there. I’ve already moved most of my book, music, and video purchases to Amazon and I will continue to look elsewhere. Now, I want to be clear that I am not suggesting you do the same and I’m also not trying to organize some kind of boycott. Me deciding not to give money to Apple is not going to do anything to their bottom line. But this is equivalent to me walking into Macy’s to buy a new wallet and the salesperson spits in my face. Chances are I won’t be buying my wallets at Macy’s anymore, no matter how much I like them.

Now let me put aside my role as an official representative of Adobe for a moment as I would look to make it clear what is going through my mind at the moment. Go screw yourself Apple.

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