Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote an open letter this week about his gripes with Adobe’s Flash. In regards to advertising, I’m going to “touch” the icing on the cake… “the extensions.”
When Adobe’s horizontal extensions are stacked against Apple’s vertical extensions the two are not compatible. What does this mean? “Vertical” refers to each of the different variations of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and MacOS. “Horizontal” refers to all platforms. Adobe wants to push Flash on as many platforms as possible. Apple’s bleeding edge still far exceeds that of any competitor because it holds the position of top innovator.
Adobe doesn’t want to integrate Flash for one platform and not another. I just spoke about this in my last post “Musical Chairs: Competing Line Extensions.” Mr. Jobs is making the right choice by walking away from the table. If he were to continue on with Adobe, Apple’s vertical extensions would slump to a mediocre standard. If an enemy of my enemy is my friend, what does that make Adobe?
From the letter:
This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms…
…and Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.
The two brands once had a firm partnership but not anymore. Jobs to Adobe, “What have you done for me lately?” If I were an industry leader and had to choose between maintaining a strained relationship with a third party or compromising my own position, I’d drop Adobe in a flash.