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Apple vs Adobe

Apple and Adobe have been going head to head over mobile video. Kipp takes a moment to see what’s behind their big chill, and checks out the specs on the two hot names in tech today.

 

As one of the biggest hardware companies in the business, Apple has tremendous clout. Now, it has gone cold on a software developer Adobe. More specifically, it has gone cold on Adobe’s Web video software, Flash.-Apple rejects a Flash dominated future, and supports alternative Web options like the Web standard HTML5. Videos that use Flash will not play on Apple’s hugely popular mobile devices, like the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. The company has its reasons, but the upshot is a reduction in the online video capabilities of the end consumer.

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Adobe is the undisputed king of online video thanks to its Flash software; a reported three-quarters of Web videos use Flash. But the company has hit a stumbling block, and initially it would appear to be beyond its control. They didn’t ask for this battle – as a matter of fact, they’d have done just about anything to avoid it. Kipp finds it hard to lay blame at Adobe’s door.

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From Apple: Steve Job’s “Thoughts on Flash” make a convincing argument.

  1. Adobe’s Flash products are 100 percent proprietary. They are only available from Adobe. They are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.
  2. Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it.
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From Adobe: A defense of Flash, which fails to adequately address Jobs’ complaints.

  1. Flash Player is part of a rich ecosystem of both open and proprietary technologies.Anyone can use the specifications without requiring permission from Adobe. Third parties can and do build audio, video, and data services that compete with those from Adobe.
  2. Flash Player performs as well as, if not better than, comparable multimedia technologies.
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Steve Jobs, the magnetic CEO and co-founder of Apple, started in the business assembling boards in his garage and hawking them at local computer stores. Over the years, Apple’s clout and influence soared, as the company launched a series of hot products. Steve bought Pixar studios from George Lucas in 1986 and the studio went on to significant acclaim, with cinema hits like Finding Nemo and Toy Story. Pixar was sold to Disney in 2006 for a reported $7.4 billion in stock. Jobs net worth is estimated at more than $5 billion. Forbes ranked him #136 on the 2010 list of the world’s richest people

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Dr. Charles M. Geschke co-founded Adobe with John Warnock in 1982.  They named the start up after Adobe Creek, which ran behind Warnock’s home in Los Altos, California. Geschke compiled an impressive academic and professional CV before bringing Adobe to life. He holds a doctorate in computer science from Carnegie-Mellon University, along with degrees in both mathematics and classics from Xavier University. Geschke served as a senior scientist and researcher at Xerox PARC’s Computer Sciences Lab. He now serves on the boards of numerous educational and philanthropic organizations.

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Apple posted total first quarter revenue of $13.5 billion and net quarterly income of $50 million in 2010. The company closed the fiscal year 2009 with total revenues of around $15.7 billion, and net profit of $33 million.

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Adobe has come a long way from its initial public offering in 1986. A share cost just $0.17 back then; last year, they posted nearly $3 billion in fiscal revenues. And the first quarter 2010 isn’t off to a bad start either. Adobe posted first quarter total revenues of $858 million this year and a total net quarterly income of $127 million. This is a big about-face from the close of books last year, which saw the company realize net losses of $32 million, according to Forbes.

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The Forbes Global 2000 ranking groups the world’s biggest, most powerful publically listed companies, based on things like sales, profits, assets, and market value.

Apple came in at 75th in the world, this year, well up from the 113th slot in 2009. Apple shares have been on a wild ride in the last year, ranging in price from a low of just over $121, to a 52-week high of $272. Apple is currently trading at just over $252. Forbes ranked Apple tenth on the global list in terms of market value and 30th overall for profits.

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Meanwhile Adobe came in at 1069th in the world, sliding 40 slots from 1029 last year. But Adobe shares have been far less volatile, ranging in price from just under $26 a share to a 52-week high of around $38 a share. For that reason, Kipp will be investing the contents of its piggy bank with Adobe.

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iPods, iPhones, iPads: Apple products are all the rage, but they’re not just for geeks anymore. For business or or pleasure, the innovative iPad is on everyone’s wish list. Apple calls the ultra-light iPad that debuted in the US for just $499 “magical and revolutionary.” Consumers are invited to put the Web at their fingertips with its “big, beautiful Multi-Touch screen,” and 9.7 inch LED backlit display.

But apple’s allure once lay in the cult status of the brand; nowadays it has come to epitomize the main stream.

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Adobe has become a household name with “creative types,” and synonymous with creativity in Web design in particular. Adobe’s high-profile products include Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, and ColdFusion. In fact their new release, Creative Suite 5, includes a ton of state-of- the-art design software that they describe as “combining the real with the surreal.” (The ad graphics for the product are not to be missed, either.)  Kipp has a soft spot for a creative underdog.

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1 Comment

  1. replik8 on May 19, 2010 7:54 pm

    This is old news. Adobe has already announced they plan to support HTML 5 moving forward as part of their product suite. Also, Apple is blocking flash because it is proprietary? Well guess what… that is funny because authoring apps for apple using Objective C is also proprietary. The real reason why Apple is blocking flash is because they have their own secret “flash” player framework coming out called Gianduia that will rival both Adobe Flash and Microsoft Sliverlight. I think this is a bad move to not support flash on Apple’s part. They tout all of these security and performance issues as reasons why they don’t want to support it but the truth is they don’t want to work with Adobe and support it. It’s all about competition. I like Google’s approach….they plan to support everything…even though flash will one day be a legacy technology…at least Android users won’t have to suffer from a bad experience because flash isn’t supported. There are too many websites and applications out there built on flex and flash to say that we should just jump over to HTML5. Heck, it’s still in a draft state and won’t be a recommendation for at least 2 more years (2012).

     

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