Adobe Founders Respond to Apple

Adobe has just launched a brand new ad campaign called “We [heart] Choice” (see more info here) and published an open letter written by founders Geschke and Warnock, responding to Apple’s position against Flash and closed technologies.

You can check out the screenshots of the ad campaign (first seen on Engadget) and the letter after the break.

“The genius of the Internet is its almost infinite openness to innovation. New hardware. New software. New applications. New ideas. They all get their chance.

As the founders of Adobe, we believe open markets are in the best interest of developers, content owners, and consumers. Freedom of choice on the web has unleashed an explosion of content and transformed how we work, learn, communicate, and, ultimately, express ourselves.

If the web fragments into closed systems, if companies put content and applications behind walls, some indeed may thrive — but their success will come at the expense of the very creativity and innovation that has made the Internet a revolutionary force.

We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs. 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.

When markets are open, anyone with a great idea has a chance to drive innovation and find new customers. 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.

That, certainly, was what we learned as we launched PostScript® and PDF, two early and powerful software solutions that work across platforms. We openly published the specifications for both, thus inviting both use and competition. In the early days, PostScript attracted 72 clone makers, but we held onto our market leadership by out-innovating the pack. More recently, we’ve done the same thing with Adobe® Flash® technology. We publish the specifications for Flash — meaning anyone can make their own Flash player. Yet, Adobe Flash technology remains the market leader because of the constant creativity and technical innovation of our employees.

We believe that Apple, by taking the opposite approach, has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web — the chapter in which mobile devices outnumber computers, any individual can be a publisher, and content is accessed anywhere and at any time.

In the end, we believe the question is really this: Who controls the World Wide Web? And we believe the answer is: nobody — and everybody, but certainly not a single company.

Chuck Geschke, John Warnock


Chairmen, Adobe Board of Directors”

After reading the letter, I have to say that Adobe seems confused about Apple’s position against closed technologies. It’s not clear whether they’re trying to defend Flash as a web standard (which is clearly not open) or Flash as a tool to develop applications for the Apple’s App Store which - again - is clearly not open. Apple never stated that the App Store is an open platform. Apple, and only Apple, ultimately retain control over what’s good and what’s bad for their market.

The App Store is not an open market.

I think that Adobe founders wrote this letter to take a position in regards to the web itself as an open platform where nobody has control. One could argue that the W3C has control on standards and specifications, but we all should agree on the fact that, in the very end, the web is open. If you want to create a webpage with CSS2 and HTML4, you can.

What I don’t understand is why Adobe keeps telling us that Flash is an open technology built for an open market, which is obviously not true. HTML5 is open, Flash is not. What I do understand though, is that Adobe confuses “widely used” with “open” and is trying to convince people - mainly non-tech savvy people - that being Flash used by millions of people every day, supporting it is the right thing to do.

Flash is not open. The App Store is not open. HTML5 is open. And it is your right - it’s everyone’s right - to decide to exclude closed technologies from your device, browser and system.

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