Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Adobe set to unwittingly kill Flash?

From the AP article: Justice Wants Info on Adobe Acquisition

"Adobe wants to combine the Acrobat document-sharing program with Macromedia's Flash software for creating and viewing interactive content on Web sites."

If I'm reading this correctly and we can expect a bloated, sluggish application combining the Acrobat Reader and Flash (and of course the Yahoo Toolbar), I can imagine those Flash penetration figures plummeting like they went over Niagra Falls in a barrel.

Now, if the Acrobat Reader would just disappear from the web and we got a newly branded Adobe Flash Paper as the tool targeted for document presentation on the web, that would be interesting. The reader could be relegated to internal corprate usage and help maintain that Adobe image as an enterprise player.

We know that very similar documents can be prepared in either FlashPaper or PDF (thank you CF). Maybe Acrobat could be changed to allow the creation of both formats.

If on the other hand we get the first scenario, I think that will do some serious dammage to the newly coined "Flash Platform" before it really gets out of the gate (marketing wise, that is).

A lot of people think being big is a really good thing. It lets you compete with Microsoft. On the other hand, being big makes Microsoft want to compete with you.

I wouldn't be suprised if Bruce Chizen is the next Carly Fiorina. He'll be more than happy to take his multi-million dollar severance package and then take a position with Coke or Nike. The next ceo to take the helm will of course have to trim the fat (15,000 hp layoffs) and "reposition" the company.

It's a shame that more companies aren't run like SAS.

Sorry for the negativity, but I just have no confidence in Adobe's ability manage a campaign against Microsoft, develop good web technologies or keep their products affordable. I'll be very happy if I'm wrong.


  1. What do you mean by "run like SAS"?

    Also, your Flash header makes my CPU chug like a drunk.

  2. Sorry about the header, I'll see if I can make it a little more light-weight. I think the frame rate is kinda high. Imagine if it cranked up some background pdf engine as well.

    I've been working with the flash player 8 beta and it is noticably faster. Check it out here: http://www.macromedia.com/software/flashplayer/public_beta/

    As for SAS, the company doesn't have to worry about the stock market since they are not publicly traded. The CEO still writes code and he doesn't have to worry about quarterly performance. He can concentrate on the company's long term plans.

  3. One word. Say it with me...


  4. All we can do is make wild guesses right now, not really very educated ones, as far as to what they'll do with the softwares. I mean, its still shocking that its even happening, so who knows. But you are definitely right. If they screw with the ubiquity and user trust, the whole Flash Platform experience will become one big skip intro.

    However, we do have a while before they CAN screw with, and maelstrom should be getting dug in good by then. Blog entries like this one can serve as a clear warning. If Adobe cares at all whether the Flash Platform grows or dies, they will not bloat or sell out the player.

  5. From the AP article: Justice Wants Info on Adobe Acquisition: "Adobe wants to combine the Acrobat document-sharing program with Macromedia's Flash software for creating and viewing interactive content on Web sites."

    I'd really urge caution at reading any story from the commercial press as literal truth -- instead of taking the conclusions of a reporter, please test their judgments against any source evidence they cite, any alternative observations and hypotheses you might search...!

    (From what I've seen in the public record, I'd guess the reporter meant in the sense of "combining the power of" or "combining the business value of" rather than "combining the packages of", but that's just a guess of their meaning based on the skimpy sourcing they provide.)

    btw, if you do find that framerate makes a difference, then it would be great if you could publicize that a bit... I've been in a lot of framerate discussions on the lists, and not everyone has been convinced by the arguments "some of the audience may have slow machines" and "some of the audience may have multiple processes at once" to keep a film-like framerate. Thanks! 8)


  6. Hey there, nice site.

    I was kind of happy that Adobe and Flash merged as it would have made some things easier, but as combining reader and flash together? I don't think so. I doubt they can pull it off, and if they do, they really need to work hard to make it any good. And as for the prices?! That's one of the reasons why I mainly had Macromedia products.

  7. It's very possible that the line I picked out of the story is completely wrong. It seems like it was tacked on at the end without a lot of thought. It's not really a key part of the story. Although that line was not cited and the AP is known to make a stnank or two, they are a relatively credible news organization. If there is any truth to the line, I think it is important for us in the community to be a little vocal about it. Sometimes marketing departments in their quest for quota are willing to kill the goose that lays golden eggs.