Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Adobe - Apple Flame War

Jean-Louis Gassée explains why Apple is doing what they're doing.


> Who, in his right mind, expects Steve Jobs to let Adobe (and other) cross-platform application development tools control his (I mean the iPhone OS) future? Cross-platform tools dangle the old “write once, run everywhere” promise. But, by being cross-platform, they don’t use, they erase “uncommon” features. To Apple, this is anathema as it wants apps developers to use, to promote its differentiation. It’s that simple. Losing differentiation is death by low margins. It’s that simple. It’s business. Apple is right to keep control of its platform’s future.

I agree with the analysis as far as it goes. The real question is: Will they get away with it? In the short-term, I think yes. There's a gold rush and developers want to be a part of it. As the mobile computing market leader, Apple gets to call the shots. In essence, Jobs wants to keep the iPhone OS developers on the plantation. As long as developers take advantage of Apple-only technology, everyone will keep buying from Apple. Cupertino's underlying fear is that iPhone OS developers might become successful enough to establish their own brands, which would allow them to take customers to other mobile computing platforms with ports of hit applications on Android and other devices. At that point, consumers will be looking for the cheapest platform for those top apps, and commodity pricing is not Apple's game.

Apple's bet is that they can ride the wave long enough to grab a lot of money out of mobile computing before it becomes commoditized. Adobe wants to be the gatekeeper for fancy web apps. They won last decade's war, but they're in bad shape for the next one. Google wants to commoditize mobile computing -- history is on their side in the long run, but for the near term, it's Apple's game.

I also think that Jobs really isn't worried about developers abandoning the iPhone. He's confident that Apple can supply all the software he needs to succeed with the iPhone and iPad. (It's not necessary to beat everyone to be a big success.) He's thinking more like a game console vendor rather than a PC manufacturer. The game developers are used to jumping through hoops to deliver on a specific platform. They'll play by Apple's rules as long as there's money in it. It's nice to have the traditional software developers on the platform, but they're not driving this market.

Posted via email from miner49r

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