More details on Steve Jobs’ irritation with Adobe

Fri, Feb 5, 2010


Steve Jobs made headlines last week when he reportedly referred to Adobe as lazy during a company townhall meeting about the iPad. Now, Hardmac reports, citing a source close to an Apple executive, some of the more precise details surrounding Jobs’ characterization of Adobe as lazy and why Apple and Adobe haven’t been seeing eye to eye as of late.

For starters, Adobe “completely missed the transition to Cocoa, and tried to extend the use of Carbon, causing problems for both users and Apple. They only now start to work within the programming environment, however, the first beta of the new Creative Suite 5 remain incomplete and unstable.”

Second, the source notes that Adobe has been “very slow to react” when Apple sends them bug reports pertaining to Flash on OS X. Apple reportedly sent Adobe a list of 410 bugs relating to Flash running on OS X, but Adobe has thus far only addressed 25 of them. Speaking further on Flash, Jobs was said to have stated:

Flash has become a collection of cobbled together technologies – a Kludge. It takes a huge amount of processing power and memory – it is too inefficient, and takes too long to learn.

Since its inception, the iPhone has been criticized for its lack of flash support, and most recently, those same complaints have surfaced in the wake of the newly announced iPad. For Apple, though, the decision to exclude flash from the iPhone OS was not a conscious decision to screw over Adobe, but “rather the consequence of the inability of Adobe to offer a mobile and power efficient bug-free Flash version.” Though we’re sure Apple’s appetite for controlling as much of the underlying technology in its products undoubtedly factors into their stance as well.

Apple is also none too pleased with the way Adobe implements their anti-piracy protection measures for their suite of software titles.

Apple is also upset about Adobe Software Activation, their anti-piracy protection. This system forces CS users to validate their license online. In order to prevent any bypassing by software-based debuggers, the ASA shunts the system in order to directly access the deepest layer of the CPU and the RAM, without considering the protection of such components built into Mac OS X. As a consequence it would increase the risk of crash and fragmentation, making Mac OS X unable to manage or better control them. So, every time the ASA is modified or updated as it has already been hacked a certain number of times, Adobe asks Apple to take measures on its system to let the ASA work efficiently, without creating too much instability

And finally, Apple is reportedly un-impressed with the current user interface designs of Adobe applications, and believe that they appear old and aren’t as user friendly as they could be.

Further reading:

Apple and Adobe: Who’s moving away from who


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Ken Berger Says:

    Adobe is resting on their strangle hold on creative design software. The industry needs someone to challenge Photoshop / Dreamweaver, the lack of competition in this area is what makes Adobe “lazy”.
    Photoshop is a great program, but the UI is moving in the wrong direction, and dreamweaver is the best example of “collection of cobbled together technologies – a Kludge”. I use it every day and curse it every day. Adobe seems more interested in forcing Dreamweaver users to to use Adobe’s other products / platforms that in providing a better workflow.

  2. Damon Says:

    Ugh, Adobe. They really deserve to have someone pull the rug out from under them. I use Photoshop and I have every day for years, but at this point, Adobe is just milking it. And Dreamweaver/Flash … don’t get me started. I’d say they really botched the Macromedia acquisition.

  3. Mike Says:

    Years ago I was thrilled to dump Quark for InDesign as I was fed up with Quark’s arrogance, laziness and greed. Ironically, Adobe has become the new Quark.

  4. blaisele Says:

    I use PS, Illustrator and InDesign every day, and usually have to force quit. PLEASE Apple expand your Pro Apps line to include publishing tools? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

  5. Joel Says:

    Adobe’s UI is excellent. Apple’s is clunky and impossible to use. I’m a big Apple fan, but cannot use their creative products. Very unintuitive.

  6. Kirk Says:

    Steve is exactly right on on these points (as well as Mike!). I really wish Apple would come up with the killer javascript, jquery or whatever package that would put the flash plugin to death already.

  7. Tony Says:

    I want to see Apple take on Adobe and release their own pro versions of PS, Illustrator, Indesign, Dreamweaver and Acrobat and perhaps call the suite iCreate.

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