Are Adobe and Apple officially at war now?

Seems that way to me. Mind you I just live in the valley, a humble peasant, watching the battle between these two towers. But if this latest news isn’t a giant cannonball aimed at the tower gate, I dunno what is.  If you haven’t yet read, Apple will apparently be banning any Flash CS5 published Apps submitted to them. Mind you, Adobe is days away from their CS5 Suite debut and that particular feature was looking to be the big one in Flash.  Among a bazillion other sites reporting this, here’s one good one that explains more than I will on the whole issue. I want to address this question from the article…

“The real question is, what sort of meeting did Apple staff have where they determined that it was a good idea – and a necessary idea – to block cross-compilation?”

My dad just asked me that yesterday too, why does Apple care?… Well remember that most Apps are developed on what… (queue Jeopardy music)…. a Mac. If they let Flash CS5 users on PC’s start developing Apps, submissions to the store would probably go up 400 or 500% and with more quantity, the quality would suffer. Imagine if every 4 out of 5 things you bought at a store (online or otherwise) sucked. Would you keep buying from that store? And Apple needs to be very careful now that the iPad is bringing in Apps that are selling for more. People don’t grind that teeth that much at losing a dollar to a sucky app, but if you pay $10 for something, and it crashes frequently or just isn’t that good, you’ll be ticked.

And of course, requiring developers to buy a Mac to develop for the App store is like, kinda good for business too isn’t it? Developers are a small pie slice obviously, they make up 1 in probably 10,000 Mac buyers, but they are also like the aces in blackjack. They have double value. You get a user, and you get a spreader. Maybe they are more like religious zealots than casino cards.  Whatever, someone follows me.

Now back to Adobe and Apple’s main battlefront. The iPhone and iPad not having the Flash plugin. Much of this I’ve said before, but I’ll say it again. This is an easy problem to solve for Adobe! Just make Flash publish to an HTML5 format as well as the Apple-hated swf format. Developers can then fancy up their embed code even more to choose between either format based on the device. Flash already publishes to exe, Mac Projector, PNG, JPG, GIF, GIF animation Quicktime, EPS, and some others I’m probably forgetting. Point is, Macromedia/Adobe developers have shown through the history of Flash that the program is great for developing stuff for MANY different formats and both companies have supported what the developers wanted to export to. And HTML5 will eventually be one of those must-have formats.

Keep in mind too, Adobe makes zero money off of the .swf format (as far as I know). There are no licensing fees that developers pay to publish to swf or to embed the swf format on their servers. We developers pay for the program only. So Adobe has no reason to fight for the survival of the SWF file. They do need to keep Flash (the authoring program) as hot as possible and to do that, it just needs to publish to HTML5. I can’t imagine that isn’t in the works yet, but it looks like the team thats working on the export-to-iPhone feature will have a new whiteboard of “to-do’s” soon.


20 thoughts on “Are Adobe and Apple officially at war now?

  1. OK this sucks of curse!

    I really don’t understand this strategy from apple, to do what ? Flash will stay no matter what they do…

    I was going to buy an apple next month but now I will not do that for sure…

    Apple sucks!

  2. Tylor says:

    Great article. Although I am a little confused what you mean by “export to HTML 5”. I work with both flash and regular ol’ HTML websites and I just can’t grasp how this would be possible. If you made a game, for example, Flash would have to export the images (individually cut), write all the HTML code, CSS, and covert all the Actionscript into something like JavaScript/jQuery or even php. It seems almost impssible. It deffinetly would be a cool feature though.

  3. Edwin Rios says:

    See but this is why iphone marketplace has the reviewing process before they allowed release to any apps anyway. Crap/Illegal/Exploiting/ Apps were denied upfront and never released to the app store. With the new hardware supported iexplorer and betaed flash hardware support its like they are trying to shun windows users as much as fraggin possible. To many egos on one internet I’m routing for Adobe though…

  4. Actually Tylor it would be a lot easier than you’d think. And in exactly the same way you describe. The Flash plugin is doing essentially what you just said now with a SWF. Looking through the library for images, etc. And for converting code, it seems hard, but imagine what Adobe just went through to make CS5 translate Actionscript 3 to an App format. I wish they had done the same thing to convert Actionscript 2 to Actionscript 3.

    And keep in mind, HTML5 is far from regular ol’ HTML. This video explains it really well…

    I was just on TweetDeck for a second, and my search column for Adobe OR Flash, had a lot of people calling for Flash to publish to HTML5. Seems the masses are calling for it.

    Tibi, I think Apple is going to be taking the brunt of the blame for speeding up developers using HTML5 (and in some cases, not using Flash) but the more I look into the format, I can understand why its being pushed. But again, it shouldn’t matter much to us die-hard Flash users in the end, because we are still the craftsman, “the creatives”. When I create a huge project in Flash, I don’t really care how it gets embedded for a browser to read. I just care that it gets published and seen by the masses. What I don’t want though, is to step back in time and start using still images instead of animation. But thats not what HTML5 is forcing us to do.

  5. Well, I think Apple has some legitimate “its business, not personal” reasons for doing this, and they also have some ego-reasons as well. Macs are still the minority when it comes to desktop computing. But overnight they are the majority when it comes to tablet computing (with a damn cool tablet too). So for now, Apple gets to say you have to play by our rules. Which is what Microsoft has been able to do for years too… Basically another awesome tablet needs to come out soon for Apple to lighten up on the control.

  6. Tylor Skory says:

    Thanks for the link Justin. Very informative. I would really like to see an implementation of the HTML 5 export. That would be pretty slick.

    I know for a lot of people, it seems like Apple is being really stringent but one thing I really like about the iPhone and iPad is that I have NEVER had any major problems with apps. In the end, apple is giving developers access to a huge audience. Developers will always complain, but in the end, they can either play apple’s games or move on.

  7. Oh Apple, you always know how to annoy us just enough to dislike you, yet stay faithful to your products… This really hurts though =/ And besides that, why does Apple deem it necessary to decide what we want on out phones for us? If I want to take my chances playing a Flash game I want to be able to, darn it! =K #venting #usinghashtagswhereimnotsupposedto


  8. John says:

    Say you created an app, could you have it downloadable from your site and not go through apple or does apple have the say on anything that is made for the iphone or ipad.
    What I’m thinking is if you can produce an app from flash, then other sites will pop up selling these apps that are created in flash. Then as time rolls on other software will be created to produce app’s.

  9. Yeah I don’t think they necessarily see Flash as unsafe, but in terms of games, its pretty obvious that they’d rather you buy games then just surf to one of a billion free flash games sites.

    I just paid for Pac-man, and we all know how many Flash versions of Pac-man there are out there. Same goes for all the classic games, which are pretty much all I care about playing on a mobile device.

  10. Tyler says:

    The really, truly frustrating thing about this is the impact it has on clients. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am a freelancer who owns my own business and the iPad, as awesome a device as it is, is already causing me all kinds of problems. Apple promoting it’s own ignorance of the web platform is really getting to me. I met with a client yesterday who is interested in doing some pretty fancy stuff with his business site. The ideal platform is flash, but because of the whole iPad Stave Jobs Adobe crap he wants it all in HTML 5 and CSS3. I spent the majority of the meeting trying to help him understand that these technologies aren’t ready for the prime time, that if it’s HTML 5 he ends up with only 2 browsers truly supporting his site, and on and on.

    In terms of development Adobe has built a really brilliant amount of support and their tools are great. I have nothing against HTML5 or CSS3, but the fact as a developer and business owner is that flash is hugely more efficient for me to CREATE than HTML5 and CSS3. Forget the fact that Flash is more efficient than HTML5 on every platform except Safari on the Mac, and focus simply on the dollars associated with development costs. Flash is less expensive and allows greater support for complex RIA’s than anything else out there.

    Sure, Adobe could bow to the apple god and make flash export HTML5 and CSS3, but, until they do and do it really well, flash is going to be a better option for the “real world” and not apple’s fantasy realm. And for that matter I am not sure I want them too, I don’t wish to continue dealing with an apple that thinks they can define the internet in whatever terms they like.

    Aside from all this, excepting apple’s walled garden Flash is more widely supported than almost any other technology on the net, hell it’s got a larger install base than the combined install base of the 5 most common web fonts, Arial, Helvetica, Georgia, Times New Roman, and Courier!

    Apple has become as big and bad as they always claim Microsoft to be, except they are far more arrogant than Microsoft has ever been.

    Apple’s attempted indoctrination of the public is starting to really affect my business as small business owners get absorbed in the wrong technologies or want things that simply aren’t in their needs. I don’t know what I am going to do if one more business owner tries to convince me that they have a “need” for an iPhone application, and they want to split the revenues with me when they hit the big time. (usually in situations where they have no idea of the market for their idea, or when they fail to realize that there may be another superior way to deliver the product than in the form of an app)

    Sorry for the long comment, I’m just frustrated because it was just much easier to deal with clients in the past when they respected an expert and didn’t come in with ideas seeded by a arrogant madman.

    One final little P.S. it seems that Google is preparing to jump on Adobe’s side in the battle with their recent decision to integrate the FVM with Chrome, and if they follow their plans to build a tablet that competes with the iPad this could be a huge blow for apple (since Google is easily twice the size and revenue of apple, plus has far more creative software engineers). They even already have flash very well integrated with android. I don’t know if anyone over at apple has tried browsing the web with their magical device but I spent some time with a loaner and realized just how unusable the internet can become without flash. If you get the chance just spend an hour or two browsing, the holes in the pages are enormous and could make for a great commercial comparing a chrome and iPhone OS tablet…

  11. Hey long comments are great, There is a TON of misinformation out there right now on the client side. And there’s no way I would recommend to someone that making an HTML5 site is a good idea right now. You can tell clients “hey if you want me to build you one , I will. But only 5% of your customers will be able to see it.”… IE on Windows doesnt support HtML5 right now, correct? That alone should make it a no brainer.

    But consider this a “good problem”. You’ve got clients that want two things , not one. A kick ass desktop site, and a functional mobile site. That’s two different things, and should be two paychecks. Who would a restaurant owner rather see walking into his business, a skinny guy or a fat guy? Every one of your clients just got fat and hungry. You should be telling these guys ” call me back when you’ve registered the .mobi version of your domain, then I’ll know you are ready to make this OTHER site”. It already sounds like you are schooling your clients well, but for others reading. I just hope you see the opportunity too. I know when you have 15 clients all freaking out at once thinking they need new sites, it seems like more of a headache than a golden egg. You could also quote them the cost to develop an iPhone friendly site, and attach traffic stats for the past year showing how many people from mobile devices visited them. That is of course if you don’t want to take their money. =)

    Remember too this is news now. But in a few months it will blow over, and clients will forget if HTML5 is the new version of HTML or the old version. Even Howard Sterns staff was on the air last week talking about flash and html5, so the mainstream is hearing stuff they needn’t think about.

    Now about your clients asking for splits on you developing their great ideas as iPhone or iPad apps, well we all know what to do with those emails… Straight to the trash! I would encourage every one to try and make an awesome app, but more as a personal project than something that will strike gold. Chances are that won’t happen. And to work for revenue split on someone elses idea probably comes down to you working 500 hours to split $20 a week in App Store sales.

  12. Things are getting really confusing now… I have no idea what to learn anymore …. Where is flash going it will be around in the years to come, I really don’t see how html5 can replace flash we are not talking about a video player here… I mean will I be able to do this with html5

  13. martin says:

    It’s pathetic Apple need to sort it out, they should be working together, who do apple think they are money grabbing ** power crazed doughnuts. I thought it was all about the customers obviously not with Apple, there are so many reasons to grumble about Apple.

  14. Adam says:

    I have no idea what to think really, personally I won’t be worrying too much – if I have to learn some new technology/software in the process then that can only be a good thing in the long run.

    I do, however, think that people here are understimating the power of HTML 5. Some of the google devs have just released a port of Quake 2 in HTML 5 (, something that is currently well beyond the power of Flash (I know that Quake has been ported to Flash but this is a big step up). I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to do most (if not all or more) of what you can do in the .swf file format with HTML 5.

    In the future, instead of Flash we could just be using a more sophisticated version of Dreamweaver (or a combination of the two).

  15. Adam says:

    Oh just in case anyone is wondering, initially I thought that Quake 2 in HTML 5 was an April Fool’s joke (if you check the date that the video was put up) but the code is still up there and people appear to have compiled it successfully: – there is a lot of work to be done on HTML 5 but it’s looking good.

  16. I’ve been a Mac user since 85 and my favorite software is made by Adobe. On the Flash front, I’ve recorded 1,000+ tuts for non-coders (I’m not in Justin’s league. I write for mere mortals.) 😉

    I state this because the whole Apple v Adobe debate is growing so heated it borders on politics in America; we’re becoming finger pointers rather than problem solvers. In the interest of full-discolsure, what’s written below was copied and pasted from here.

    I sincerely hope the companies kiss and make up because they’re a killer combo for creative folk!


    I’m guessing that Adobe, after some of their evangelists stop having hissy fits, will work to enable Flash to export HTML5 as well as SWF. I also imagine the folks at Adobe are working frantically to re-work parts of their presentation tomorrow. Should be interesting.

    Apple’s timing DOES seem calculated as it fell just before Adobe’s unveiling but consider the alternative… What if Apple waited until AFTER Adobe proclaimed to the world that Flash CS5 will work on iDevices? THAT would have been devastating!

    I do have trouble believing the two companies don’t communicate more.

    It should be noted that Apple has been unwavering in rejecting Flash on their iDevices since day one. I’m not a coder but I have been reading a lot about HTML5 v Flash lately and it seems Adobe has a way out if they want to play.

    Click then Command/Control-F (paste: Hamranhansenhansen in the search field) and read his comment. Interesting and seemingly rational reasoning.

    I’m looking forward to Monday! And beyond. 😛

  17. Shannon says:

    The CS5 export was the only way I was going to be able to create any iPhone apps. I simply can’t get my head around the dev process on the Mac with the iPhone SDK.

  18. Ah I hope this doesn’t mean adobe wont be creating their own apps – photoshop on ipad to make it an itablet is what i’m waiting for!

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