Apple and Adobe – Where did the love go?

Wed, Jun 24, 2009


MacRevu has an interesting article up discussing the seemingly divergent paths of Apple and Adobe as of late.  Apple and Adobe used to be as thick as thieves, but ever since Apple announced that it would be dropping the PowerPC in favor of Intel, things have been, oh I don’t know, a little rocky.  Throw in all the back and forth regarding flash on the iPhone, and it makes you wonder what the hell is going on.

It seems that these two companies are drifting apart but what was the catalyst for this change? Many think it was Apple’s release of Final Cut Pro and the direct threat it offered to Adobe’s own editing software Premiere. Others think it was simply a matter of shifting priorities as Apple’s market share dwindled and the majority of Adobe customers became Windows users. Was the lengthy delay in producing universal versions of Adobe’s apps a punitive measure against Apple? Was the reason it took so long because Apple didn’t offer the level of assistance it would have taken to move the project forward faster? Is Adobe drifting away from the Mac or is the Mac drifting away from Adobe?

Personally, I think it’s a little un-realistic to expect to huge companies like Apple and Adobe to always walk step in step with each other.  Their priorities and business objectives don’t always line up and are sometimes at odds with each other (i.e flash on the iPhone).  This became especially apparent when Apple starting selling record numbers of Macs.  With their user base growing in leaps and bounds, making sure that Adobe was kept “in the know” became less and less crucial.

Moreover, and somewhat touched upon by MacRevu, Apple and Adobe are also competitors.  FinalCut Pro and Aperture, for example, directly compete with successful Adobe products.  That being the case, a cozy relationship between Apple and Adobe might be a nice idea for the nostalgic Mac user, but as the rapper TI might say, those days are “dead and gone.”

Check out MacRevu’s full analysis on the topic over here.


7 Comments For This Post

  1. lrd Says:

    Adobe screwed Apple ( actually Steve Jobs) back in 1997 when they refused to port a critical piece of video editing software to the Mac; at a time when it perhaps a true friend, one that had benefited from the Mac for so many years, would have said yes. But business is business and they made the mistake of saying no to Steve Paul Jobs.

    Well, I don’t know much about Steve Jobs; but I can tell from looking in his eyes that he doesn’t forget a friend and he doesn’t forget when he’s been screwed.

    Come four to seven years later and the success of the iPOD, I knew it would be only a matter of time before Mr. Jobs would seek sweet revenge on his former partners. Adobe just happened to be the first in line. With Apple firmly focused on Apple standards; it would a cold day in hell before they support Adobe’s Flash format. Now, with the iPhone/iPOD touch dynamic duel exploding, you can bet that Apple’s not going to give Adobe the time of day. Quicktime once again is in the forefront and Mr. Jobs will do everything he can to keep it there.

    And one final note, bet your sweet cookies that Mr. Jobs wants to deliver that second blow to none other than Microsoft. Anyone who thinks he’s forgotten the legal battle over Windows, better think again.

  2. Don Says:

    The timeline just doesn’t work.

    Adobe had not been keeping the Mac version of Premier on par with that of the version on Windows. Apple had purchased the software that would become FCP from Macromedia. When it was released, it was easier to use that Premier, but much more expensive and designed to compete with Avid, not Adobe. Adobe dropped Premier for the Mac and Apple came up with a simplified version of FCP, Final Cut Express that DOES compete with Premier. The result was that Adobe brought Premier back to the Mac.

  3. richard Says:

    Coming from someone who just purchased CS4, I’d rather have purchased equivalent Apple software. Aside from Acrobat, I love the Macromedia software the best; which i upgraded from.

  4. Aaron Says:

    Actually, this on-again, off-again courtship/feud goes way back, to the release of System 7 and TrueType fonts. Adobe started as a font company, and the desktop publishing revolution was making them a mint (anyone remember paying $800 for Helvetica?). As DTP takes off, Adobe starts anticipating a significant boost in font sales as Apple wants the hi-res, original fonts included with Macs and LaserWriters. Adobe offers a slight discount, but not what Cuptertino is looking for. Instead, Apple (who had already created low-res knock-off versions of several Adobe families for use in the interface) and Microsoft teamed up to create a competitor to PostScript Type 1: TrueType. TT was going to be cross-platform, prepress friendly and a whole lot cheaper than PostScript, at least for those on the lower end of the market for fonts. Apple and Adobe were on the outs for a while, then when Windows 3.0 started looking like a real Mac OS competitor, they got back together, lest MS start doing to Adobe what they did to WordStar. Fast forward to the first version of Mac OS X Server (not Mac OS 10.0, but the pre-Aqua, server-only version), which included the NeXT graphic technology, Display PostScript. Once again, Adobe starts seeing license fees for each Mac sold as DPS is included in the workstation version. Instead, Apple rolls their own proprietary version of the newly-opened PDF standard. In a case of curious timing, Adobe cancels the OS X version of Adobe Type Manager, probably the single most common Adobe application after Acrobat Reader in the Mac population. Then we come to the Final Cut/Premiere and iPhoto/PS Elements spats.

    Wonder what’s next…

  5. rd Says:

    It was NeXT who actually asked Adobe to develop DPS. Adobe charged huge fee for it
    and it was the reason that yellow box didn’t get released either.
    So Steve Jobs was going to let Adobe control Apple like they did NeXT.
    Users wanted Fonts built-in, there is no way either Microsoft nor Apple would allow Adobe to leech of forever.
    Adobe also forced Apple to develop Carbon and postpone ascendency of Cocoa
    which could have happen 5 years earlier and in turn iPhone would have come out even earlier.
    With HTML5, flash is useless.

  6. robinson Says:

    Why the need for any profanity?

    “it makes you wonder what the hell is going on.”

    You could have written much more elegantly, and without crude hyperbole, “it makes you wonder what is going on.”

    Otherwise, a savvy commentary on the apparent Apple-Adobe rift.

  7. ronjamin Says:

    Adobe is a bloated, arrogant company who’s product line is suffering from stagnation. Just look at how they repackage their same products in 50 different ways….sort of reminds me of Microsoft’s Windows versions.

    Adobe, is too unwieldy. They make good products, but they can’t adapt to the market as fast as Apple. Their customer service is lacking.

    The bottom line is that Apple has reached a point where they have fantastic growth, yet they are MAINTAINING that special relationship that they have with the CUSTOMER. Apple consistently ranks number 1 with customer satisfaction. That is the key.

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