I very much doubt that going into 2010, many people had Adobe vs. Apple pegged as the most colorful tech feud of the year. Microsoft vs. Google, sure, or even Apple vs. Google. Oracle vs. Salesforce? Why not. But the escalating war of words between Steve Jobs and Adobe over Flash has proven not only to be intellectually engaging, but also darn entertaining.
Today, Adobe stepped up the fight, as the company's co-founders, Chuck Geschke and John Warcock, posted an open letter that takes aim at Apple's locked-down mobile platform. By blocking Flash and controlling what iPhone and iPad users can see online, Apple "has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the Web," they argued.
In the latest move in the battle between Steve Jobs (err ... Apple) and Adobe Systems, Adobe announced today that it will cease development work on its Flash-to-iPhone conversion tool.
Steve Jobs doesn't like Flash, and his feud with Adobe has made more than a few recent headlines. Given that he's also no fan of Google these days, it's probably fitting that the search giant is integrating the Flash plug-in directly into its Chrome browser.
As Jobs will reportedly tell anyone willing to listen, Flash is a memory hog, it crashes browsers, and it has security issues. Apple's chief is throwing his weight behind HTML 5, and his refusal to support Flash on the iPad may or may not open the door for a tablet competitor like HP's forthcoming Slate, which will run the Adobe software.
Apple has racked up hundreds of thousands of iPad orders since the tablet computer went on pre-sale March 12, according to the Wall Street Journal. That's more or less in line with estimates from earlier this week, although some analysts had suggested that sales had slowed dramatically after a burst of 120,000 on day one.
As noted by Flurry earlier this week, it took Apple 74 days to sell 1 million iPhones. One of the Journal's sources said that the iPad could actually outperform the iPhone's first three months of sales. Considering the devices' difference in price, those kinds of numbers would certainly count as an early success.
Adobe certainly isn't regretting the success of its products, but along with the ubiquity of Acrobat Reader and Flash has come a drawback: hackers have painted a big target on the company's back.
On Tuesday, security vendor McAfee issued its 2010 predictions. Among them? Adobe offerings will become the most commonly targeted applications on PCs, surpassing Microsoft's Office suite. "Flash and Reader are among the most widely deployed applications in the world, which provides a higher return on investment to cybercriminals," notes the report.
With its agreement to acquire Web analytics powerhouse Omniture, Adobe Systems said Tuesday that it hopes to offer designers, developers and marketing staff an integrated workflow to "streamline the creation and delivery of relevant content and applications."
But analysts and the blogosphere are largely turning up their noses at Adobe's effort to expand into Web measurement tools. Here's the gist: they like Omniture and its software-as-a-service analytics software; they just don't like it as part of Adobe.