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Adobe Calls Out Apple With Ads In NY Times, WSJ 731

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-support-ad-wars dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Businessweek reports that Adobe has taken out newspaper advertisements in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times today and posted an open letter to call out the tablet-computer maker for stifling competition. 'We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs,' the letter states. 'No company — no matter how big or how creative — should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.' The letter is part of a widening rift between Apple and Adobe. Two weeks ago, Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs wrote a 29-paragraph public missive panning Adobe's Flash as having 'major technical drawbacks.' US antitrust enforcers also may investigate Apple following a complaint from Adobe, people familiar with the matter said this month. Adobe has also launched a banner ad campaign to let you know that they love Apple. The two-piece banner ads are composed of a 720x90-pixel 'We [heart] Apple' design, followed by a 300x250-pixel medium rectangle that reads: 'What we don't love is anybody taking away your freedom to choose what you create, how you create it, and what you experience on the web.'"
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Adobe Calls Out Apple With Ads In NY Times, WSJ

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  • by jx100 (453615) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:26PM (#32194774)

    Fantastic how they're crying for "openness" a mere day after they announce Selective Output Control DRM in Flash.

    http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2010/05/adobes-new-flash-drm-comes-with-selective-output-control.ars [arstechnica.com]

  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:28PM (#32194812) Journal
    And yes, I know that's not going to sit well with the /. crowd, but it remains a truism. If Apple allowed flash onto the iPhone right tomorrow
    • It would be just as buggy and crash-prone [zdnet.com] as it is right now on the Mac. Unless you believe the demo was one that "shouldn't have been shown", and that seeing a U-tube video made behind closed-doors with as many takes as it needs to get right is in any way comparable to running it on nearly every darn page on the web. For adverts.
    • Because it's on every darn page on the web - for adverts - it'd be running almost constantly as the user uses Safari; so the other down-side comes into play - it's a huge battery hog. Suddenly Apple's quotes of 10 hours battery life on the iPad are reduced to 5 hours (or whatever). Uninformed users (you know, the 99% majority out there) say Apple is lying about it's battery times. Now every manufacturer lies about it's battery times, right ? Oh, wait [anandtech.com], no [reuters.com] they don't. Apple's battery-life figures stand alone (as far as I can tell) as a reasonable guide to how long you'll get out of your machine. That's worth a lot, to Apple.

    I'm not going to pretend there aren't advantages to Apple in requiring people to use Apple's API to code on Apple's hardware (yeah, yeah, I know you bought it, I know it's *yours*, but you know what I mean). Of course there are. That doesn't invalidate the concerns above. I'm sure 'the Steve' sees it as a bonus.

    Knowing people who work at Apple, they're a focussed bunch. They care passionately about making things easy to use, and frankly about making the very best (whatever) possible. There's very little of the jaded cynicism I've found in other companies over the years - they're more willing to "++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start." than anywhere else I've ever seen, and I (personally) can easily see the above being sufficient reason to abandon Flash as a platform if they think it's beyond saving.

    Simon

  • Re:We Want to (Score:4, Informative)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:30PM (#32194842) Homepage Journal

    That's what jailbreaking is for.

  • Pot, kettle! (Score:1, Informative)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:31PM (#32194856)

    This whole argument is pot and kettle to the extreme.

    Adobe doesn't have any business telling Apple that they're acting too proprietary because they refuse to open up the Flash spec. Your device's participation in the Flashverse is dependent on whether Adobe thinks you're important enough to deserve a Flash plugin. Effectively they are holding the Web hostage.

    Apple doesn't have any business telling Adobe that they're acting too proprietary when you have to pass Checkpoint Charlie to execute so much as a single line of native code on iPhone OS, and even then you can't use a third-party compiler anymore.

    I respect that Adobe is trying to make a living, but Flash is probably the worst thing to happen to the Web since the early days of Java. It's slow, buggy, it crashes constantly, support is inconsistent, and its bread and butter (video embedding) has been eaten by a much better way of doing things (HTML5 + Theora/H.264).

    I respect that Apple is concerned about feature-completeness in the APIs, but seriously, there are plenty of good programmers out there dying to use Java and Python to write iPhone apps. I'm not one of them, but I know it must feel really obnoxious to be denied a viable programming language.

  • Re:Pot, kettle! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ash-Fox (726320) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:34PM (#32194914)

    Adobe doesn't have any business telling Apple that they're acting too proprietary because they refuse to open up the Flash spec.

    Flash spec [adobe.com]

    There you go. I guess they do have a right now, right?

  • by mldi (1598123) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:37PM (#32194968)
    This is more about development tools used, but yes, they are also complaining about the web thing, just not as loudly.
  • by Triv (181010) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:46PM (#32195156) Journal

    Imagine if, along with bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, Microsoft FORBID anyone from running any other browser on their OS at all, and required EVERY app to be approved by Microsoft before it could be allowed to run. Apple's doing EXACTLY THAT.

    ...except that Microsoft was convicted of leveraging their desktop OS monopoly into the web browser market - it was Microsoft's road or the high road for a lot of people.

    Apple doesn't have a monopoly in the smart phone market. Nobody's forcing you to buy an iPhone. If you don't like it (and you clearly don't) then buy any of the other smartphones on the market.

  • Re:Pot, kettle! (Score:5, Informative)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:53PM (#32195268)

    Not even close. The spec doesn't document Sorenson Spark or On2, so tons of SWFs that embed video are out. Until very recently you weren't even allowed to look at the spec unless you signed an agreement saying you wouldn't develop player software (only export filters), and it's still about as far from an implementation white paper as you can get.

    Moreover, Adobe controls the format, not an open standards body, so they're free to add new things and not tell other developers how to do them later on to give themselves an advantage (which they've done in the past with major releases like v9 and 10).

    If Flash were completely open, why isn't there a 100% compliant open-source player out there? Gnash is the closest but it has serious problems with later versions of the spec (probably due to underdocumentation).

    "But look! They released a spec! It must be an open standard!" Yeah, I've heard that before.

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:53PM (#32195270)

    THAT'S an asshole, anti-competitive move. Apple deserves to be smacked down for that.

    Who do they deserve to be smacked down by?
    The government?
    Well, in this country we still have a nice healthy hands-off attitude that allows private enterprises to compete against each other, without govmint smacking them down.

    Or do they deserve to be smacked down by the market place?
    The market place has spoken... millions of iPod Touches, iPhones, and iPads are sold to consumers who are willing to skip over Flash in order to have a useable device.

    Their nearest competition has a buy one, get one free business plan. We'll see how well that works out for their eco-system.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:58PM (#32195340) Homepage

    and the fact that it can't is solely due to Apple's need to make sure they get paid for every app their stupid devices can run.

    Except for the thousands of free (as in beer) ones. Oh, and the web apps. And the ones corporations can distribute internally with that special license thing. Except for those...

    I think you're missing the real reasons Apple restricts development on the iPhone to web apps and it's "walled garden". First, puts a severe limit on the number of viruses and exploits that can be installed on the phone. Second, it allows them a pretty significant level of control of the UI (since people mostly have to use their UI libraries). Third it allows them to go to the carriers and say "Look, we can prevent the things you don't want on your network."

    Making a few buck on App sales is at best a secondary consideration, as the extremely reasonable and inexpensive terms under which you can release free apps to the App Store show. $100 a year per developer probably doesn't even cover hosting costs for all the free apps out there. $200 year allows companies to set up their own app depositories that Apple hosts no matter how large or widely used.

    None of which is going to make you hate Apple any less, but at least hate them for the right reason. Selling apps is at best a 4th or 5th teir reason for the lock down on iPhones. You probably don't like the real reasons, either, but that's fine too.

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:3, Informative)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @12:59PM (#32195366)

    Great! So much for "a choice of platforms." Now it's "a choice of platforms that Adobe has deigned to support."

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@nOspaM.cornell.edu> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @01:18PM (#32195728) Homepage

    Or at least full and complete Flash documentation (Where is an official RTMPE specification, not the clean-room reverse engineered one that Adobe has sent DMCA takedown notices to anyone trying to implement said spec.), not a partial spec which is not sufficient to implement a fully compliant player.

    Oh yeah, and a promise not to sue those who add RTMPE support to third-party players would be nice too.

  • Re:Sweet! (Score:3, Informative)

    by saleenS281 (859657) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @01:20PM (#32195766) Homepage
    Irix is dead (literally EOL 4 years ago...).
    FreeBSD has flash support.
    Solaris has flash support.
    64bit Linux has flash support.


    Even HP won't try to sell you HPUX for anything but servers at this point, but if you really want it, you can get it [hp.com]. You're going to have to try harder than that.
  • Re:Right on Adobe! (Score:4, Informative)

    by zeroshade (1801584) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @01:20PM (#32195774)

    According to that article, Android, on all devices, is barely beating out iPhone OS on one device. iPhone OS is sold on three distinct devices (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad), of which the latter two were not included in the numbers. Android has a long way to go.

    Actually, the study involved smartphone market share in the US. The iPod touch and iPad are not smart phones, which explains why they weren't included. As far as Android having a long time to go, quadrupling market share in only 6 months is a damn long way it's already come. =)

  • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @01:32PM (#32195974)

    you can't run flash on a blackberry either. why is nobody attacking RIM for being non-competitive?

    Could you explain this then, please?

    http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4148785/adobe-ceo-on-creative-suite-5-and-apple [foxbusiness.com]
    http://na.blackberry.com/eng/developers/resources/adobe.jsp [blackberry.com]
    http://www.blackberrycool.com/2010/04/18/adobe-ceo-confirms-flash-10-1-on-blackberry-in-2nd-half-2010/ [blackberrycool.com]

  • Re:We Want to (Score:3, Informative)

    by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @01:41PM (#32196150)

    The cross scripting exploit was fixed ages ago, and it wasn't just flash that had that exploit - a lot of browsers did too.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @01:41PM (#32196152) Homepage Journal

    There are lots of things that you can do that don't make you a criminal, but do make you an asshat.

    I think Triv was trying to say that people need not complain about an asshat company. If you dislike an asshat company, you can just buy the competitor's product instead. For example, you can buy an Android phone and a T-Mobile SIM-only service plan.

  • Re:Right on Adobe! (Score:5, Informative)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @02:12PM (#32196788)

    Very true. Look at how Apple fleeces the iPhone users:

    1) Profit on selling the device itself (either unlocked to consumer or to AT&T)

    2) A nice MONTHLY cut of around $18 from AT&T from the subscribers min. of $70/month. (This is the real reason iPhone is exclusive to AT&T inspite of shitty service all around, notice how this isn't mentioned much here on /.?).

    3) A FORCED 30% cut of all third party software sales for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad.

    No wonder Apple is wallowing in money, they found an almost perfect way to part fools with their money.

  • Re:Right on Adobe! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wovel (964431) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @03:42PM (#32198546) Homepage

    There are 100 million Android devices? (Even if you ignore the fact that they do not support the same code..)/ I think you should brush up on the comprehension part of your reading..

  • Re:Right on Adobe! (Score:3, Informative)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @04:02PM (#32198924)

    And Apple is doing that out of the good of their heart for free app developers who should be forever indebted to Apple for not charging for their free apps.

    Not.

    They do that so that the iPhone becomes attractive to users(because of free apps available) so that the users can be charged as per my #1, #2 and #3 in my post above.

    So does Apple help them in any way monetarily for making their devices more attractive? No! They just fleece them too, leading to #4 to be added to my post above:

    4) Take $99 from every iPhone developer that submits to Apps store (even those who develop and distribute Apps for free, thus making the iDevices more attractive).

  • Re:Right on Adobe! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @04:14PM (#32199120)
    How much time does it take to port an iPhone app to Android as compared to writing an entirely new iPhone app? (I have no idea myself, having developed for neither platform.) The number of Android users is growing rapidly, and all the articles i've found so far saying that the difference is multiple orders of magnitude are from over six months ago. Being able to port a project several times faster, even an order of magnitude faster, than writing a new one from scratch isn't entirely unreasonable.

    Also the original poster seemed to be implying that individual Android owners buy less apps, which may have been just due to a poor choice of metaphors. Irrespective of the total size of the two markets, i'm not convinced that the average iPhone owner is either richer or more free with their money than the average Android owner, not based on the evidence of the respective app stores at any rate.
  • Re:Right on Adobe! (Score:2, Informative)

    by mystikkman (1487801) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:55PM (#32202124)

    Very true. Look at how Apple fleeces the iPhone users:

    1) Profit on selling the device itself (either unlocked to consumer or to AT&T)

    As opposed to HTC, Motorola, RIM, etc., who sell their products at a loss? How do you suppose they make money? Volume?

    For HTC, Motorola and RIM, #1 is the only way to make profit and they're still doing okay. Read the 'fleecing' part and the entire post before rushing to comment?

    2) A nice MONTHLY cut of around $18 from AT&T from the subscribers min. of $70/month. (This is the real reason iPhone is exclusive to AT&T inspite of shitty service all around, notice how this isn't mentioned much here on /.?).

    Unsure how this fleeces the users. AT&T pays this to keep exclusivity (assuming the contract is still the same). If they didn't pay this, it's highly unlikely they'd lower the rate for iPhone users by $18.

    Unsure indeed. So where are all those hundreds of millions coming from? Straight from AT&T's profits? Or from iPhone users?

    3) A FORCED 30% cut of all third party software sales for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad.

    No one is forced to do anything. Apple does take 30% for paid iPhone apps, but this pretty much covers the running of the store, including things like credit card transaction fees, bandwidth, servers, admins, and so on. Apple does not make a significant profit from the iTunes Store or the App Store. And again, hard to see how this fleeces the users.

    If the app store doesn't make a significant profit then why not open up software installing instead of wasting money on iron clad DRM and multiple TPMs? Atleast then they can't be blamed for blocking some apps or allowing others? Maybe others store can take less than 30% and include things like credit card transaction fees, bandwidth, servers, admins, and so on?

    No wonder Apple is wallowing in money, they found an almost perfect way to part fools with their money.

    Of course, because the only person who would buy an iPhone is a fool? Because AT&T are fools for paying for exclusivity? Because developers are fools for voluntarily paying for Apple to provide a service?

    There is a fool in this equation, all right, but from the sounds of it, it doesn't seem likely that you've sent any money to Apple.

    How many iPhone users know about how much of their money goes to Apple? They just pay AT&T and the software assuming that it's for phone service and for Apps. AT&T are not fools, they know people buy the iPhone just because others have it and it's shiny and suffer with it even at locations where AT&T service sucks balls and other cell providers' signals are great. The developers are not fools either, they just don't have many options right now because of Apple's monopoly on mobile software sales.

    Also, ad hominem much?

  • Grab for money? (Score:4, Informative)

    by scdeimos (632778) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:27PM (#32202820)

    Although I think Apple can truly be a-holes...

    'We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs,' the letter states.

    I can't play Flash in the Lynx browser. I can't play Flash on the Atari Lynx either, but that doesn't even have internet connectivity, let alone a web browser. Sorry Adobe, what's you point again?

    'No company — no matter how big or how creative — should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.'

    Adobe, just so we're clear on this, you are dumb-asses. Your own Flash 10.0 EULA [adobe.com] excludes Apple from including Flash on their iPod/iPhone/iPad platform:

    3.1 Adobe Runtime Restrictions. You will not use any Adobe Runtime on any non-PC device or with any embedded or device version of any operating system. For the avoidance of doubt, and by example only, you may not use an Adobe Runtime on any (a) mobile device, set top box (STB), handheld, phone, web pad, tablet and Tablet PC (other than with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and its successors), electronic billboard or other digital signage, Internet appliance or other Internet-connected device, PDA, medical device, ATM, telematic device, gaming machine, home automation system, kiosk, remote control device, or any other consumer electronics device, (b) operator-based mobile, cable, satellite, or television system or (c) other closed system device. For information on licensing Adobe Runtime for use on such systems please visit http://www.adobe.com/go/licensing [adobe.com].

    In other words, you're launching a public humiliation campaign against Apple in an effort to extort licensing fees from them. Way to go.

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