Its no secret that, being in the business of developing software for creative professionals, Adobe has traditionally had a proportionately large chunk of Mac users. With Adobe acquiring Macromedia and going all out to extend its reach to web, desktop, mobile and beyond (hosted services seems to be their next big thing) it seems that the business relationship with Apple and others is not as straightforward as before. I think its fair to say that on a number of fronts Adobe is becoming serious competition to the established companies, just look at the potential of word processing with something like Buzzword -- despite its current limitations of being run in a browser (the desktop AIR version is coming soon) it is in my mind already the clear winner. Web development has always centered around user experience and bringing that skill set to the users machine is paving the way for an entirely new desktop experience.
While it might not always be heads-on competition like Silverlight vs Flash, I can see how it is a bit unsettling to find all these software giants suddenly going for the same market space. In one sense this competition is a good thing, on the other hand it does lead to some unfortunate situations where the lack of foresight and strategic relationships causes issues.
I think nobody expects Microsoft to take an effort to distribute the Flash Player or AIR with its operating system, but what about Apple -- what is happening there? Just a couple of recent examples.
- Universal binary of Creative Suite - Apple TV - YouTube H.264 content - iPhone - Flash support - Leopard - CS3/Flash Player/AIR issues
This all seems to come down to Apple keeping Adobe in the loop about their plans. Now Apple isn't the most open company and likes the "one more thing" shock approach but you'd expect them to have a interest in working closely with companies like Adobe.
The whole move to Intel processors for Apple must have been a few years in the making and as far as I understand Adobe only learned about this late in the Creative Suite development cycle. Does Apple do this with everyone? It doesn't look like it -- they successfully partnered with Google and got them to serve their YouTube video content as H.264 rather than the FLV format for Apple TV, the iPhone and iPod Touch.
I don't know what the whole momentum was here but only recently have we started hearing about the Moviestar Flash Player release supporting H.264, was this in the works or is it Adobe playing catch-up, who knows?
Then there's the Mac OSX 10.5 "Leopard" release, Adobe apparently did not receive a final copy of Leopard resulting in issues with some CS3 products, one major issue with the Flash Player that cripples a lot of Flash applications (FileReference upload - scheduled to be fixed in Moviestar) and reportedly also issues with AIR (not as huge a problem since its still in beta).
In my opinion this is extremely serious -- Flash Player has always been about 'not breaking the web' and making sure things stay compatible to the point where we now have two virtual machines in there. How can the lack of communication between Apple and Adobe cause a couple thousand people to deal with broken software? How could Adobe miss the opportunity of getting embedded Flash and/or Flash Lite players on Apple TV, iPhone, iPod Touch.
It doesn't make sense to me, nobody has anything to gain from broken software and you'd expect Apple and Adobe to stay on top of things and prevent these situations from happening. I can hardly imagine this attitude has anything to do with Aperture vs Lightroom and it is rather an organizational problem with getting the information out there than a structural failure of the two companies to work together.
There are opportunities for everyone and Adobe and Apple have everything to gain from a close strategic relationship.