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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thoughts on "Our thoughts on open markets"

Adobe loves Apple. Let's just get that out of the way for a moment-- ADOBE LOVES APPLE. Everyone got that? Sweet. Let's move on.

A lot has been made of this Adobe v. Apple conflama. As someone who, within the last half a year, has some experience on both ends of the spectrum, I have also had my opinions on all of this. Most of my views have been geared towards Flash developers whining about being closed out from Apple app development; views that have not changed one bit (I still think they need to get over it-- either learn C/Objective-C/C++/Javascript, or develop Android apps). As far as the technical details of the argument are concerned, there is a bunch of information on both sides of the argument that debunk and re-debunk, and slam, and kiss-ass. It's a "war"-- there are two sides that firmly agree with what they agree with, and disagree with others. And both companies have been going back and forth, both publicly and privately, to make their points. A few weeks ago, I wrote about what I thought about Steve Job's "Thoughts on Flash". Today, Adobe CEOs John Warnock and Chuck Genschke have released their own open letter called "Our thoughts on open markets".

In their letter, Adobe's CEO's make a point that, basically, Apple is trying to "control" the web. Sigh. I dunno if I see that. I mean, are they trying to control how apps are developed on their devices? Absolutely, for better or for worse. How does that translate into "controlling the web"? Jesus, Apple is only the #3 smartphone on the market-- taking a back seat to Android phones (here that, Flash devs? FRESH MEAT!!!). How does one company's device "control" the web? Desktop computers are still more prevalent than tablets or smartphones-- a number that is not likely to change for at least another decade (maybe a little less, who knows). In the next few years, there will be more Android phones, and Google will have released their tablet device, as well as all the other companies that will be introducing their products. Sure, Apple is popular now. But how long will that last? Even with their desk and laptop machines-- Apple's got cute commercials and cute ads and all that shite....but Windows-based machines still dominate the market. Apple is on top with its iPhone because they do it better than anyone else...AT THE MOMENT.

Remember a few years ago, when Adobe was trying to "rule web development" with their LiveMotion software? You know what happened when they lost to Macromedia? They bought it. So, Macromedia's Flash became Adobe's Flash. And Adobe still feels the same way-- they want to "rule web development". They sell a popular product that everyone likes-- why not? Are they "monopolizing" web development, simply because there are no other tools that match it for Rich Internet Applications on the desktop platform? No! They have a good product that people want to buy-- period.

So right now, Apple is very popular...and EVERYONE wants to knock them down. I didn't hear anyone complaining when the iPhone came out about how they were closing the web or monopolizing the market. Flash developers certainly weren't complaining, until they got their Flash-to-iPhone compiler shot down. Well, that's not entirely true-- some people were complaining about not being able to use Flash-based sites. Yet and still, the iPhone and iPad are selling well. In my opinion, they are selling well because of their apps. The experience offered by apps has opened up a door to new possibilities on the mobile platform.  You are not necessarily tethered to a 3G or Wi-Fi connection when you're using an app-- which would render web-based Flash applications useless anyway.

As I've mentioned in other articles before, I have made my living as a Flash Animator, and was a decent programmer in the first iteration of Action Script (I gave up after AS3 because I got sick of the shifting and changing). And now, I am trying my hand at app development on the iPhone and iPod Touch (and iPad). Bottom line-- at the end of the day, I am an artist using tools. That's it. Whatever those tools are, that will help me get my content delivered-- whether it's a game or a goofy novelty application or something more useful and productive-- all that matters is the app itself. Adobe will soon allow its Flash AIR apps to be ported onto Android phones...for me, that will be two places that I can deliver to. And I LOVE that idea!

In summation, to get back to Adobe's "no one company should control the web" argument...it is WAY to premature to make that claim. There are a lot of smart phones out there, and really only one usable tablet computer. That's right now, as of May 2010. What will May 2011 be like? Will Apple still be the "only game in town"? Will Adobe still be jealous of their success? Will Flash "script-chuckers" still be pissed off (haha)?  I've said it once, and I'll say it again-- the only ones giving Steve Jobs and Apple this kind of power is Adobe. Are they really telling lies about Flash? If they are, won't the market dictate this fact? Won't people simply stop buying Apple products? And if they do, where will they go? I think it would benefit Adobe and its developers to stop bitching, and start (and keep) creating! As you will see, time goes on...and things change. Question is, are you still going to be whining about what you didn't have back in early 2010? Or will you be on top by this time in 2011?

That's your choice.

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