Adobe Vs. Apple War Generates Rage, Facebook Group

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It was inevitable. Adobe has an unofficial Facebook fan club: “I’m With Adobe,” an allusion to the viral “I’m With Coco” campaign for jilted ex-Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien. As of Saturday afternoon, the group (started by John Addis, a Web & Media Director at Rizzi Designs) has attracted more than 1,200 members in less than three days.

The group’s manifesto is:

The recent war between Adobe and Apple reached a breaking point on April 8, 2010, when Steve Jobs not only recommitted to never allowing Flash to run on the iPhone or iPad, but even banning Adobe’s new Flash-to-iPhone C compiler which was to go on sale Saturday, April 10.

There is no longer any debate as to who the “bad guy” is in this story — Apple has proven themselves to be anti-competition, anti-developer, and anti-consumer.

I stand with Adobe.

While you would expect a club like this to attract rabid Adobe supporters (and there is a lot of that), several members expressed their longstanding support for Adobe and Apple and the difficulty of reconciling their frustration with the new SDK agreement and their fierce loyalty to Apple. As one Facebook user put it :

How did we get to this point? The tension between Apple and Adobe has been simmering for quite a while, but the clear breaking point (as we all know) was the release of the new SDK agreement which essentially blocks Flash developers from the iPhone.

I tried to put together an (incomplete) collection of Adobe employee reactions— from the iPad release to Adobe’s “Viva La Resistance.” In my last post, “Adobe: Go Screw Yourself Apple,” some commenters pointed out that the title was unfair because it was the words of Adobe’s Platform Evangelist Lee Brimelow and not Adobe’s official position. True, Adobe CTO’s carefully worded (sadly, less colorful) blog was the “official” response, however, Brimelow’s post and comments by several of his Flash colleagues forms an interesting constellation that outlines a deep anger. Adobe is furious. Further, as we previously noted, Adobe did look at Brimelow’s blog and let him run with it anyway— only pushing him to extract one line and add a disclaimer (the disclaimer was added roughly one hour after he sent a Twitter link to his post).

First, before we look at the iPhone OS 4.0 fallout, let’s skip to somewhat happier times (to last weekend) when Adobe’s employees lined up at the Apple store to eagerly purchase Steve Jobs’ latest offering. Arno Gourdol, a member of the Adobe Air team, documents their morning: “After queuing for an hour at the flagship Apple Store in SF this morning, we finally got our hands on a stack of magical devices. We’ve spent the rest of the day having fun getting the first Adobe AIR apps running on the iPad….We have also been working on bringing up the first “HD” apps that take advantage of the gorgeous screen of the iPad.”

You can already feel the dark clouds forming. Fast forward to Thursday, developers find out that the SDK agreement will effectively ban Flash and other cross-platform development tools, like Unity, on the iPhone.


It Gets Ugly…

Thursday evening:
Adobe’s John Dowdell ruminates on issues of intolerance and the Seinfeld Soup Nazi:

Thursday 11:47pm:
Senior Research Scientist for Adobe, Dan Goldman, calls foul on Twitter. “No Flash in iPhone to save battery? OK, whatevs. No cross-compiling Flash apps to iPhone using Packager? That’s a mighty low blow.”

Friday 8:44am:
Dowdell’s done with thinly veiled analogies. “…If you’re looking for a more ethical company, Adobe is hiring:

Friday about 9pm:
Adobe’s Photoshop’s Principal Product Manager, John Nack, takes a jab at Apple in the comments section of his blog (his response is in italics):

Friday 12:47pm:
Lee Brimelow links to his now notorious: “Go Screw Yourself Apple,” post.

Friday 4:08pm:
Adobe CTO, Kevin Lynch, issues the company’s formal response.

Saturday around 7:00am
Adobe’s Sujit Reddy retweets a call to give up Macs, says he plans to do the same.

Saturday around 11:00 am:
Brimelow tweets a picture of his new Apple free set-up: “My new setup (http://tweetphoto.com/17920343). Asus U Series laptop, Windows 7, BackTrack 4 VM, and Alfa AWUS036H for wireless mischief.”

Anyone get the sense that this is just the beginning?

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