updated 09:25 am EDT, Thu May 13, 2010
Adobe campaign markets Flash as freedom
Adobe today ramped up a Freedom of Choice ad campaign criticizing Apple for its attitude toward Flash. The ads claim that Adobe love Apple but quickly turn to claim that the iPhone maker is "taking away your freedom" by denying the ability to see Flash on its devices. Promos are appearing not only online but in a full-page ad for the Thursday issue of the Washington Post, all of which lead to a letter from Adobe's founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock.
In the letter, the two make the unusual argument that Apple is being closed by not implementing Flash in favor of the more universal HTML5. By doing so, Apple "could undermine this next chapter of the web" that focuses on mobile; its approach makes it harder for anyone to publish what they want and on any device, the founders said. Adobe has promised HTML5 creation tools but has long argued that Flash was better as it didn't require web coding skills today.
The two point to anyone having the option of making their own Flash players, although both don't talk about companies making their own Flash development tools. They referred to PostScript and PDF both having fully published specifications and that as many as 72 competitors to PostScript existed before Adobe won out. Adobe in its campaign page adds that it supports H.264 and HTML5 as well, but Geschke and Warnock argued that Apple should carry Flash as a matter of supporting choice.
"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 founders said. "Adobe's business philosophy is based on a premise that, in an open market, the best products will win in the end -- and the best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than your competitors."
The statements come in somewhat ironic form as the company is trying to dictate what Apple should support. Apple's Jobs has contended that Flash is still proprietary as the format is created by only one company; HTML5 is created by a 355-member web standards group, the W3C, that includes both Adobe and Apple. The executive has said that Apple deserves control over its own local code but that the web should be independent of plugins.
As HTML5 is designed to at least partly eliminate the need for Flash, Silverlight and other plugins, Adobe has been frequently criticized beyond Jobs' remarks for having a conflict of interest in which it wants to avoid HTML5 replacing Flash whenever possible.