Adobe Tags Google and Andy Rubin In to Wrestle Apple and Jobs


Well, this little “War” has just gotten a bit jucier. We already knew Google and Apple began butting heads a while ago (even if they claim they are still conducting business with each other just fine). We’ve been hearing about Apple’s qualms with Adobe for a few days, as well. Now, the gloves are off!

Adobe, not to be held back by recent claims that their platform is buggy, unstable, and a resource pig, just got some nice backing support by Google to continue their development on the (relatively open) Android platform. Our good friend Andy Rubin was quick to step in with his two cents – on Adobe’s official blog, no less – stating:

“Google is happy to be partnering with Adobe to bring the full web, great applications, and developer choice to the Android platform. Our engineering teams have been working closely to bring AIR and Flash Player to Google’s mobile operating system and devices. The Android platform is enjoying great adoption, and we expect our work with Adobe will help that growth continue.”

After Apple closed the steel doors to their silicon kingdom on Adobe (which was sternly stapled by the fact that Apple has completely dropped support for Flash development tools with their platform), they’ll undoubtedly be looking to Google, Chrome OS, and Android to slingshot them into the mobile game. This reiterates a question that I have not, until this day, been able to answer (without a snarky answer, at least): why is Apple so protective over their users?


It may be cliche of me to say this, but it seems like they just continually suggest that their users are not smart enough to make their own decisions. It’s nothing new that a powerhouse like Apple has a say in how the future of computing (mobile or otherwise) is shaped, but it becomes an area of concern when you stifle competition, innovation, and the “trust” of your once-exciting partnership.

What kind of image is Apple giving off to other big names that would like to target the iPhone and iPad platform when they blatantly show that they don’t care if precious development resources were thrown down the drain in one swift move?

That’s the one thing I believe Google has going for them in this race to the finish, and it’s the reason why no phone will make me drop Android: I simply don’t like it when people tell me what I can and can’t do when it comes to the stuff that I’ve paid for. What are you guys’ thoughts on this?

[via IntoMobile]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. How is Apple supposed to nickel and dime you out of all those 99 cent apps if you’re running free apps in Flash or on Air? Flash means a method of development and distribution other than Apple’s and they depend on a firm lockdown to get a cut of every app, game, or song you buy.

  2. I completely agree with you. If you already bought the device you should be able to do what ever you want with it. I can’t imagine Samsung telling me that i cannot connect my tv to my xbox and play. It is just plain dumb. I have and ipod touch that is jailbroken because it gave it more functionality than it had with Apples stock OS. If Apple continues this type of practice they will eventually end up with just their fanboys supporting their products. With all the recent developments that the Android OS has gone through i think for the first time in the past 3 years Apple is starting to feel that there is another OS out there that is really contending with their iphone OS. I think we are coming into a turning point were Android is catching Apple up and very likely have more fans.

  3. It sounds as if Apple is headed in the direction of Microsoft-build wealth and then buy out companies to keep your name and products on top. The problem is that Apple also is headed in the same direction with their phone platform: Winmobile. Winmobile started out as a great idea that eventually led to what microsoft was the best for the customer. Sad to see Apple taking that useless road.

  4. Apple makes money on both hardware and software and sales of apps. Sure they can push to keep profit margins high now and limit ways to create free content so as to ensure revenues through app store/i tunes/ etc… I understand that Apple has stock holders and needs to cater to them as well as their consumer, but don’t you think it is a little short sighted of them not to be more “open” not like Android of course but open in a sense of allowing flash. In the long run they are going to miss out on A LOT OF MARKET SHARE GROWTH and boy do I mean a lot. Once we go down that road. Clearly Android is going to be the biggest benefactor. What good was the profit margins when you missed out on the opportunity to be the industry leader in terms of market share? Its a problem when a company focuses too much resources on stockholders and loses sight of stake holders. Its like apple has yet to learn from their mistakes of the past. Upon entrance to this new mobile computing era they led/pioneered the way with their new designs and great 3rd party support. But what now? Now they are keeping developers out… alienating that which differentiated them in the market. That which allowed them to succeed. This is looking more and more like the battle between Apple and Windows a while ago and Android seems to be the new windows.

  5. I think it’s kind of ironic that Apple has shunned Adobe, largely because Flash is not very efficient (a valid complaint mind you)… Yet they’re pushing iAd with the OS4 platform. Have you seen that crap?

    It might run more efficient than Flash, but it has the potential to be every bit as annoying as the most annoying Flash ads you’ve ever experienced on your desktop… And to top it off they take a huge cut of the revenues from app developers (in return for giving them the right to use the ad platform).

    I think it’ll be interesting to see what Google’s equivalent will be, and you know there’ll be one coming… Google built a good chunk of their empire on advertisement, eventually they’ll have to tie that into Android. I’m pretty confident it won’t be anywhere as intrusive though. /shrug

  6. BTW the comments box butchers paragraph/line spacing, any way to fix that?

    Test test…

  7. I know I will step on toes but…..yes Apples users are that dumb in general and have to be told what’s best for them. Well maybe fanboys more than users. But look at the new iPhone leak. Scores of folk thought it sucked until it was proven to be genuine Apple. Then because it was authentic it became a work of art literally over a matter of hours. Look at how they are told a black slab of glass is beutiful then when they see the same thing elsewhere its bland (the Incredible). A lot of them are truly sheep and they show it all the time.

  8. “This reiterates a question that I have not, until this day, been able to answer (without a snarky answer, at least): why is Apple so protective over their users?

    It may be cliche of me to say this, but it seems like they just continually suggest that their users are not smart enough to make their own decisions.”

    I think you’re totally wrong about this. It isn’t about users, at least not in the way you think. It’s about development. Here’s how Ian Samuels put it:

    “The simple effect of the new SDK is to announce, loud and clear, that developers who want to write iPhone and iPad software have to do it the iPhone and iPad way. You are supposed to use Xcode and Objective C and Webkit, *just like Apple does*. You are supposed to use Cocoa Touch and borrow the user interface metaphors that Apple has helpfully illustrated in their own apps. If you do anything else, Apple is going to try and stop you. That means no cross-compiling other languages; no cross-platform frameworks like Qt; nothing. Stop trying to get out of writing real iPhone apps, Apple seems to be saying.”

    Ian goes on to say:

    “Similarly, life is probably easier as a *developer* if you can write your Flash app once and run it on the Web, on Android, on the iPhone, on the JooJoo. But life is easier as a *user* if everything on your iPhone works as you expect, using common interface metaphors that you’ve grown to understand.”

    You can read the rest here: http://iansamuel.com/essays/progress-of-the-platform/

    Again, the Adobe-Apple “war” isn’t about users making decisions, as you put it. It’s about how apps will look like and work. Apple is simply saying that if you’re going to make an iPhone app, you have to do it the way we do it.

    Maybe that’ll cause an exodus of developers from the iPhone platform; we’ll likely differ on that issue. The fact remains that there are exactly no Android phones that run Flash or AIR yet; if and when that happens, we’ll see how they compete against the iPhone.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve used both Android and iPhoneOS in the past (currently, I’m using the Palm Pre Plus). While I prefer the iPhoneOS, I think that having a robust competitive environment between it and Android is essential to end users having the best experience possible.

  9. If any of the apple products supported flash I might think about droping android but sense they don’t apple doesn’t stand a chance with me.

  10. To paraphrase Steve Jobs: “Folks who want CHOICE can buy an Android phone.”

  11. You need to get out of my head… There’s only room in here for one of us ;-) Well said I agree with every word you wrote.

  12. This is HUGE ! Another big shot of inspiration for Android developers, and a burgeoning marketplace for AIR developers. I’m so stoked !

  13. The simple truth is that we — any of us who post on sites like Phandroid — are not the average user.

    Sure, we techie sorts may know readily ‘well, that app runs slowly/doesn’t behave properly in multitasking/whatever because it was written in Flash and just compiled with a mobile application layer.’ But if you hand the average user that same app and they try to use it on their device and that app crashes, or doesn’t work properly with bits of their system, or otherwise acts oddly? They’re not going to blame Flash. They’re going to blame the phone. “This phone sucks,” they’ll say. “I can’t make this work.”

    I’m actually dead serious here. Think about the number of times you’ve dealt with a computer-challenged relative asking for help. Most won’t say ‘[this application] isn’t working,’ but ‘my computer isn’t working’ or ‘my internet isn’t working.’ The average consumer thinks of the boxes they use (television, computer, whatever) as appliances, and if something goes wrong, the appliance is broken.

    Now, Google doesn’t care. They’re building a platform for techies. It’s an unquestionably powerful platform — moreso than the iPhone — and easily customized. My Droid (with a really complex set of Locale rules, a customized Slidescreen Pro setup, etc.) is perfectly customized to my usage patterns, but even friends who are also used to Android have trouble using my phone because so much has been changed. It can definitely be confusing.

    Apple, conversely, is all about an integrated experience. And Apple doesn’t want to be beholden to Adobe updating /their/ tools when they update the OS APIs. That means restricting things somewhat, absolutely. On the other hand, if I hand my aunt or my dad or someone else who isn’t as technologically-minded my Droid and my iPhone, they can figure out how to use the iPhone, and the Droid just leaves them frustrated. (This, I grant, is partly due to my using Slidescreen, but the point still stands.)

    Google is targeting smartphone users; they’ve hit that market square on for those of us who used to use Windows Mobile phones, or Treos, or whatever. Apple is targeting /everyone else/, the people who used to have Motorola Razrs or other feature-phones. I’m not sure either approach is ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ they’re just different approaches to different market segments; you don’t market a car for the general public like a Camry or Accord the same way you would market a high-performance sports-car, even though both are automobiles.

  14. (Also, for the love of god PLEASE fix the linefeed issue in comment formatting. The way things work right now, any post longer than a two-or-three sentence blurb is nearly unreadable.)

  15. I don’t understand a lot of the support of Adobe on this. If an open source mentality, and open source ethics, are going to win the day, everyone’s going to have to be consistent about what that means.

    Flash is a proprietary, closed system. Just because it’s ubiquitous doesn’t change that fact — if anything, it makes it more dangerous. For all the negatives, Apple’s actions are helping to marginalize Flash technology; Google taking an opposite stance is basically endorsing it.

    It seems there could be a way to differentiate Android while not getting into bed with a company so dramatically opposed to Android’s ethos. Maybe VP8 will be that eventually, but Google’s recent actions seem a little hypocritical in the grand scheme of things.

  16. Apple offers both free apps and pay apps in the App Store, same as Android. Point of fact Apple pushed for web apps well before they even launched the app store. Their support of HTML5 (which Google also supports by the way) means that you can write web based apps that will run on any of Apple’s products AND you won’t have to go through the app approval process. If Flash is so important then tell me why Google switched YouTube over to Apple’s h.264 codec. If Flash is so important then why did hundreds of sites recode in order to be iPad compatible? And if Apple is missing out on market share growth then how do you explain the fact that the iPhone OS’ share is equal to that of all of it’s competitors combined? Apple sold nearly 9 million iPhones in the last quarter alone. Their profits were up 89%. Apple has over $40 billion in cash on hand. They could literally lose money on the iPhone for years and still be profitable.
    I was at AdobeMax back in ‘08 with my then new G1 in hand when Adobe showed off Flash on that selfsame device. I heard their promises of delivery and have been waiting ever since. I also work in the Film, TV, and ad industries and as a result I have used most of Adobe’s products on a Mac for years. I can tell you that Adobe has been far from kind to our community despite our loyalty to them for years. Every time Apple has upgraded OS X Adobe comes out and promises the moon only to fail to deliver. CS3 wasn’t upgraded to support Snow Leopard so I bought CS4 which wasn’t upgraded to support 64 bit so I’ll have to buy CS5. I have given that company close to $10k in the past half decade and they have failed to deliver obvious and necessary features time and time again. So I don’t put much stock in what Adobe says or promises and I can understand why Apple as a company may be a bit sore at them. But to the issue at hand. While it may at first blush seem like Apple is just being a dick to Adobe I do think they have a legitimate reason for banning apps developed using an intermediary application like those in CS5. Namely long term reliability of those apps on the platform. Every time Apple releases an API they make sure that their developers have it immediately. Apple announces the new features coming to the platform in the morning and has the development tools available for download that afternoon. I know this because I have seen iPhone app development firsthand when creating apps for ad clients. If you are developing your apps using an intermediary product that ports your Flash app over to the iPhone then you have to wait for Adobe to update that program and then recompile your app and hope that Adobe did their homework. As I said in my professional experience Adobe is very unreliable. It does hinder development of the platform if you have everybody using different systems to develop their apps instead of one approved and tested way. The iPhone does deliver a near seamless and very reliable user experience. That is simply fact. I have been with Android since ‘08 I have lived through the growing pains and often they have been painful. Most of my colleagues have iPhones and they have had a much easier go of it.

  17. Talking about CHOICE is funny both Google and Apple are big corporations trying to make money anyway they can thats why they are competing at every front it seems. Both have different ecosystems for their platforms one has more quality control than the other. Both companies are in support of HTML5, i think even adobe is supporting this web standard because they know its going to impact the web in a better way in the long run. It’s a matter of preference and apple is the company that has mainstreamed smartphones in a way to where your average consumer today wants something to surf the web and not just to make calls and text message.

  18. not that I know of Frank.


  19. nopelol

  20. @Phil,
    So I’m dumb huh? That’s news to me. Better tell that to the three feature films I’ve edited or the dozens of multimillion dollar ads I’ve produced, or the nationally syndicated TV shows I’ve worked on. All of this done with Apple systems and software. Tell you what I’ll give you my accountant’s number and you can call her up and have go over my balance sheets one more time because if I’m dumb that money must belong to someone else. The only dumb decision I’ve made was buying a G1 and saddling myself to this also ran mobile platform. So in that way I’m no dumber than you.

  21. Love adobe’s photoshop, hate all cell phones.

  22. @skilcraft
    I don’t know if you realize how rabid you sound.

  23. @Skillcraft- you can be the richest man in the world and still be dumb and for you to have anything bad to say about a platform that has apple on its toes is very foolish of you. And to clarify the G1 is a really good phone and in a lot of ways much better then the iphone. I say that isn’t bad for it being a 1st Gen android device.

  24. @skilcraft
    Phil’s statement was “yes Apples users are that dumb in general …”. According to you, you obviously fall far from the median, no harm done? :)
    From my personal experience of meeting dozens of people daily I must conclude “phil” is right. Most Apple (not only iPhone) users I met are not only NOT interested in learning the technology, they are proud of not being IT educated. AOL Generation?? :) Apple is a proud supplier of those proud users with such technologies that require no learning.
    I agree Android is not for everyone, due to lack documentation, customer support .. all the challenges that come with any Linux OS. And I’m happy it’s that way as it forces multiple companies, groups of independent developers from different countries to learn how to contribute, play in an open source world, which in my opinion, where every IT company (Apple or Google?) fishes for ideas, instead of locked up Apple sandbox which decides what is worthy of IT challenged users capable of leaving “it sucks” comments for the app that ‘Force close”d :)

  25. i hope Adobe and Google spank Apple in this techno-war. yes, i just posted this from my macbook pro. Apple is becoming a gestapo that hurts both developers and consumers. I’d rather do biz with the company that wants to make money AND serve its user base.

  26. @Skillcraft- It is unfortunate that the majority of us do not work on movies, sitcoms, or any other crap that you are so proud of. Hey are you going to be editing commercials on your phone? No..then shut the hell up

  27. I dont think Google loves flash as a web standard for videos. After all the rumour is they are going to opensource on2 vp8 codec shortly. Google is ok with flash as a gaming platform. Adobe should not be too excited with Google support. Google needs Adobe Flash to get more apps into android market and try to catch up with Apple appstore.

  28. @skillcraft,

    why dont you go and vomit your stuff on mac forums, there are enough drooling fanbois there. This is a site for android lovers, if you have nothing good to say about android, get out from here and spare us your drooling about apple.

  29. @observer, dumb is waisting time, aside from reading all this garbage posted, Skillcraft argument was dead on. For anyone not interested in how to keep your computer working or the inner workings of a computer is in your opinion “dumb”? I’m not from the AOL age, fortran, COBOL, BBS’s you may not know about this, I don’t know. If you choose a hobby or profession, your craft should be the most important thing, I should have to worry about opening my email or going to a web site. You might think people who click on a email they receive from a friend as “dumb”, but how much thought should you put into wondering is this email legitimated? I need AutoCad 2010 from a pc, that the only software we run from virtue pc’s.

    The Iphone, let me be clear, none of you would be talking about what android phone is going to be the next iphone killer if apple didn’t blow the roof off the mobile industry. It wouldn’t have happened. I don’t for the life of me understand why their is so much hate for a company that while they may charge a premium make great products. Look around the web at all the torture test the do on a apple product, and see if you can find one on a comparable product. No you can’t do everything on them, but then again why do you need to. The control the user experience,if you don’t like it don’t buy it…. Simple

    As for Adobe I have given an incredible amount of money to them, and time and time again they fail. When they purchased macromedia they got lazy,no competition, game over.

  30. A large part of our consumerist economy is driven by stupid people. Not saying all Apple consumers are stupid, but case in point, how many home consumers bought an iPad without knowing what it even is? How many graphics artists still claim that Photoshop runs faster on a Mac than PC, etc? How many applauded Jobs’ speech about Google being as evil as Stalin?

    Anyways, hoping that Apple will go the way of the Dodo (like I do) is pointless, as there will ALWAYS be a dedicated following, no matter how much Apple sucks and abuses their customers.

    As for this article, it’s spot-on.

  31. With Adobe’s announcement today that they will no longer continue development of flash for the iPhone, I sense the rudder of support tilting the Android direction. This bodes well for all of us dedicated to this open-source environment and only promises rapid technological leaps in the future.

  32. @GhostDog we hate apple, because Apple hates Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Intel, flash, netbooks, dell, HP, java, python, ruby, carriers, Sony, Nintendo etc. Apple hates everybody out there and thats why everybody hates them, it is mutual.

  33. The web thing is simple: Apple doesn’t want any competition. Sure, they have free apps in the iTunes store, but the fact you have to go there keeps you within the Apple loop. And pretty soon, most of those will be iAd supported apps, not strictly “free”.

    Flash isn’t going to deliver PSP-class mobile fast shoot’em-up games on the iPhone, online, in all likelihood. But it could deliver perfectly serviceable games at a slightly lower performance, and if you’re happy with a suite of free Flash games, you’re less likely to visit the Apps store. And Apple has no control over it. So they kill Flash, even though that makes all their users second-class web citizens. Flash is awfully common online, even just for web site UIs (check out ecost.com, for example).

    I think Apple’s nervous about AIR and other application framework is more considered. Technically speaking, they shouldn’t care how the app was written, just as long as it meets their application censors approval. Bad apps won’t sell, good ones will, independent of implementation details.

    But there are two things here. One is obvious: application frameworks do make it very easy to deliver an app on multiple platforms. So maybe a Flash/AIR app isn’t going to deliver a super videogame (maybe it will, but let’s just day). But it’s perfectly fine for 90% of the apps used on the iPhone, and no one would know it’s not totally native without looking at the code. And then it’s very easily going to show up on Android, on Blackberry, on Windows Phone perhaps. Apple doesn’t want this.

    Here’s the other guess, and it’s related. Apple’s claim was that application frameworks aren’t going to use new iPhoneOS features. Some of these, like opt-in multitasking, perhaps not. But I’ll wager that some are easily managed by the app framework itself. So rather than fiddle for an hour or two on every app you sell, you get Adobe’s new iPhoneOS 4.0 AIR tools, relink, and magically get some of the better new features. The complex ones.. well, most apps aren’t going to need them, anyway.

    This would really mess with Steve Jobs head, since it’ll suggest to developers that they’re actually better off, even as an iPhone developer, using someone’s cross platform framework (and if this particular guess isn’t true of Flash + AIR, I’ll bet it’s true of at least some of these app frameworks). So they’re now even more likely to develop for Android.

    And you know, friends and neighbors… Jobs is scared. He sees that green robot in his review mirror every day, gaining on him. And like it says, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear”.

  34. Before I get flamed for this, I want to make clear.. I Am NOT an Apple fan by any means, nor am I associated with any of the authors/sites referred below. ~ ~ So here goes… This seems to be the root of the conflict for Apple in regard to Flash on mobile devices. Not so much open or closed system issues, but Flash as used in current web pages does not work on touchscreens. ~ ~ A short quote, “Current Flash sites could never be made work well on any touchscreen device, and this cannot be solved by Apple, Adobe, or magical new hardware. That’s not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It’s because of the hover or mouseover problem.” ~ http://bit.ly/bII5sk.

  35. Skilcrap is actually quite wrong.

    Issues Adobe had with releases stemmed from Apple not wanting to work with them. Apple actually screwed quite a few developers with the whole SnowRetard platform. Apple consistently refuses to work with what it calls its competitors. Apple has its “Pro Apps” which competes directly w/Adobe’s suite. Apple never really got the bloated iTunez and Quicktime working properly in x64 Windows. Why? Because that’s the way they want it. “The big bag of hurt”, – Job$, Blu-Ray? A direct competitor to iTunez. Flash/Flex… competitor to iTunez. You get the picture?

    People say Microsoft doesn’t play nice. Apple is worse. The issue is, the media has affair with Apple, and Apple has given the media quite a lot of goodies in the process. It’s a win-win. That coupled with Apple’s brilliant marketing, that love affair is growing. You know people are snow-blind when Apple still hasn’t had a serious anti-trust lawsuit for its platform and DEFINITELY for iTunez. Most freshmen congressmen love taking on big corporations in an effort to bolster their career but not in Apple’s case (yet).

    They do in fact want to control the user experience, including the apps and OS consumers run. A lot of people don’t mind that sort of control and are unaware or don’t care. The rest of us do.

    As for the film industry, I work in it too. I use whatever’s in front of me on Mac/PC/Linux. I have peers who are complete fanboys of Apple products but many are like me and use whatever it takes to get the job done. At the end of the day, I know my lips are clean and not glazed with Job$ juice, like some fanboys.

  36. Too bad you can’t just run Adenoid on an iPhone. Oh, wait…

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