When Adobe refused to develop video software for the Mac

Mon, May 17, 2010

Apple History, News

From a 2005 Fortune piece on Apple and the impetus for its development of Final Cut Pro and iMovie:

But a 1998 meeting in which Jobs asked Adobe Systems executives to develop a Mac version of their consumer video-editing program changed his mind. “They said flat-out no,” Jobs recalls. “We were shocked, because they had been a big supporter in the early days of the Mac. But we said, ‘Okay, if nobody wants to help us, we’re just going to have to do this ourselves.’ ”

So Apple plunged into the OS X applications business. It bought a languishing project from web software company Macromedia, and in less than a year turned out two programs that capitalized on the iMac’s ability to connect to digital camcorders: a video-editing program for professionals called Final Cut Pro and a simplified version for consumers called iMovie. Apple’s Applications Software Division, which sprang from the project to become what is now a 1,000-engineer-strong group, has been on a roll ever since.

And people wonder why Jobs’ “We can take on the world by ourselves” philosophy is unshakeable.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Mac Gadget Gal Says:

    My introduction to video editing on a Mac was Adobe Premiere 1.0 on a Mac LCII with a Video Spigot card. Back then it could grab *nearly 10 frames-per-second* at better-than-postage-stamp size 160×120 (ahem) resolution. WOW!

    In 1998, Jobs was already working on rolling out FireWire and prepping the DV iMac. Apparently Adobe just wasn’t interested in developing Premiere ELEMENTS for the Mac like it had for the Windows consumer market. The rest is iMovie history – as it and Final Cut – totally put the screws to Premiere’s dominance in video editing.

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