Adobe thinking different, countering Apple's hate with love

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In the court of public opinion, I doubt Adobe has much to worry about. They make products that are synonymous with image editing – after all nobody ever “MS Paints” Emma Watson’s head onto a nude body, they Photoshop it – and for the vast majority of users Flash or no Flash on a mobile device is immaterial. However, companies must fight and fight they must. Adobe’s latest salvo? A reminder to the world that they love openness and Apple through a new ad campaign and essays by Adobe founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock. Click here or the thumbnail below to see the ad.

The context of this is Steve Jobs’ rant against Flash in which he says:

I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true. Let me explain.

To this, Adobe retorts:

Openness is at Adobe’s core. Our first technology was an open standard that liberated publishing from proprietary printing systems, and soon afterward our PDF technology eliminated barriers to sharing documents across platforms.

Adobe® Flash® technology enables the delivery of content to hundreds of millions of people, regardless of platform or browser. In 2009, in partnership with Google, Research In Motion, and dozens of other companies, we formed the Open Screen Project, a coalition committed to making web experiences seamlessly available on any mobile device.

Why the kind words? Well, I’d love to be able to say that Adobe is really into openness, but they’re not. They’re into selling Adobe CS5 to creative types and creative types are flocking to OS X. But that’s not all – prepare your fanboi outrage in 3…2…1 – whither goes the iPhone, there goes the rest of the world. For the past three years or so handset manufacturers have been falling over themselves trying to offer an iPhone-like experience. This lemming-like behavior seems to have abated of late and with the rise of Android there’s a better chance they will take a breath and rethink their strategy. But with Apple’s high-profile launch of the iPad and the high-profile failure of Flash on multiple devices thus far – barring Flash Light appearances on some Android handsets – Apple has the upper hand.

Will Adobe pass through this difficult period? Sure. Adobe will rejigger it to make it more compelling and the folks who have been sticking by Flash since Shockwave will force their widgets and animated banners through on multiple platforms. After all, the majority of ads on the web are Flash, and ad buyers are currently scrambling to figure out this HTML5/CSS/H.264 stuff before their clients start asking about it – and even Steve Jobs doesn’t want to piss off ad buyers.

Methinks Adobe doth protest too much with this new campaign, but they see an opening. Steve Jobs and Apple have been so draconian and downright evil lately that just by putting a heart on their website, another company with a history of being equally draconic and evil can look downright folksy.

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