Adobe Launches “Freedom of Choice” Campaign in Response to Apple

The tech war is on between Apple and Adobe, and it’s starting to sound political. What’s fairly interesting is how Adobe’s been running “We [heart] Apple” as well as “We [heart] Choice” ads, suggesting that this tech war is all about word choice — or perhaps the word, “choice.”

The lack of Flash on Apple mobile devices has been a growing issue, especially since the release of the iPad. Apple’s omission left a lot of creatives, including photographers, scrambling to find a substitute for Flash-based sites.

A few weeks ago, Steve Jobs published his thoughts behind Apple’s movement away from Flash capabilities in mobile products.

Today, Adobe’s co-founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock  responded in an open letter that was published in newspaper ads and on its website, titling it “Our Thoughts on Open Markets.” The letter launched alongside a new section on Adobe’s site called “Freedom of Choice.”Adobe also published a page titled “The truth about Flash,” which responds point-by-point to most of Jobs’ arguments.

Jobs had ended his letter with a stab at Adobe, saying:

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Adobe responded:

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.

So far this seems to be a war of words; Apple and Adobe are fighting over ownership of what “open,” really means and what the future of the Internet (and your portfolio) will look like.

Let us know where you stand on the issue in the comments.

  • Zererico

    Adobe, you said you make people see 95% of the web sites thanks to your plugin.


  • Fajar

    You do have a choice don't you? You can still see the web without flash. Just not as 'complete'.

  • Max Hamby

    All you have to do is choose to uninstall the plug-in. Of course, you'll end up missing out on all of that content that has been published in Flash, but that's the consequences of your choice.

  • CadErik

    If all the apple apps were available on other platform then all the coolness of apple devices would be lost – you could buy any other cheaper device and get the same apps. This is why apple wants to lock developers to their platform and prevent cross platform tools such as flash.
    There is nothing wrong with HTML 5 but flash is way more mature and developer friendly.

  • barcoder

    Flash for Android tells us all we need to know about why Flash isn't on iPhone. Adobe's best hope is to get Flash stable and performing well in Android to prove to Apple that they have changed.

    Apple's a business. If a competitor has an advantage with a technology that is hurting Apple's bottom line, they will no doubt correct it.

    So far it hasn't. And so far Adobe hasn't proven that Flash is worthy. Maybe it will be with the upcoming Android.

  • Gojira

    From what I've seen, most Flash websites suck anyway and I find myself closing the tab more than not when I encounter them.

    There was a point in time we didn't have Flash on most websites and the Web did just fine, we can do without Flash anyway. Do you really need to have that menu in Flash? Or that banner? Nope, it's just that you think you do.

    Flash routinely puts my browser in full screen, it's a piece of crap. The problem is not Adobe, it's the “developers” that abuse Flash and use it for anything and everything and they should be stopped. Since Flash came it, the Web is a less friendly place.

    Perhaps some of you are not keeping up with news but Flash is one of the most insecure technologies on the Internet today. Adobe's text about this is misleading at best. They are releasing patches like crazy and if you're not diligent to patch all the time, you are exposing yourself to a variety of security holes. All because you want some interactive content in Flash? Is it really worth it?

    I wonder how many people would buy a car that has a terribly defective part that needs changing every few weeks and defend its place on the market “because we want choice”. I bet you'd buy something that doesn't fall apart every now and then and condemn the company that made the piece of garbage.

    Adobe states: “We believe open markets that allow developers, publishers, and consumers to make their own choices about how they create, distribute, and access content are essential to progress” yet they don't have any CS software for Linux for example.

    Apple should not have the right to say “We're not having Flash” on their platform, and that's only 1 technology, yet Adobe can go unscathed and say “We're not developing software for Linux users”. They don't believe in “choice”, they believe in “their choice” and that's a huge difference.

    I'm not saying they should develop for Linux, I'm saying they have the right to develop for whatever OS they choose and they should let others choose what they let on their OS.

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  • Henry 3 Dogg

    Adobe rewrite history</b?

    At the risk of damage to the copyright that they place on their arguement, I will quote the core.

    “….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….”

    This is simply rewriting history.

    When Adobe released PostScript they had to publish the specification. It's a page description language so it would have been dead in the water if application developers didn't know what to output to drive the printer. But Adobe kept back the Type 1 Font format that ensured that third party PostScript interpreters could not be fully compatible with Adobe ones.

    Adobe released PDF as a closed proprietary standard in 1993 and it remained closed for 15 years until 2005 by which time Adobe had such an entrenched position in its usage that the opening up only serves to broaden a market in which they have an indomitable monopoly.

    And now Flash has been about since 1996 and was closed in all or in part until 2009. Again, by this time Adobe had such an entrenched position in its usage that the opening up could only serve to broaden the value of Adobe indomitable monopoly.

  • Gojira

    Apple responds to Adobe (joke):

    Brilliant :D

  • Jonathan

    I have little if any use for Flash on the web. It's annoying, and rarely has anything of real value in its content. Sure, it's pretty and looks like video, but when I want information, I don't want to wait for the movie version to come out (or load). Flash is an over-rated resource and used far too often for things that shouldn't be done in Flash.

    And no, I don't use a Mac. PC + iPhone.

  • ginez_17


  • Andy

    Flash was a great technology in the 1990s but it’s past its eat-by date. Time for it to die. It was simply not designed to work on mobile devices and is an incredible CPU hog.

    What do you the consumer care about this? It means any Flash stuff on your phone eats up your battery charge like my dad at a buffet.

    The only reason why Adobe wants Flash to hang around is because it sells the tool set for making Flash. Well, Adobe, my old friends. Time to invest in HTML 5 and let Flash go to the grave.

    Stop being dicks.

  • matey182 .

    After forcing everyone onto their subscription license for the Creative Suite the last thing I would associate with Adobe is “choice”.