Lee Brimelow is a platform evangelist at Adobe, and has raised a bit of a ruckus with a blog post that finished with a nice succinct "Screw You, Apple".
I like it.
Oh, I don't agree with it. Not one little bit. Even though I don't necessarily agree with all of the SDK Agreement changes Apple has made for 4.0, their actions clearly are not "unethical" as Lee alleges, and they are certainly no worse than Adobe telling Flash Developers they'd be able to develop for Apple's App Store without, you know, talking about it with Apple first. But I enjoyed reading the post, and understand where he's coming from. I think it's a good thing he said what he said and that he's as passionate as he is about the products he evangelizes.
This may surprise you, but I've been known to go off on a rant myself and have a couple of strong opinions on technology myself. In fact, somebody reminded me on twitter that I pretty much predicted exactly what Apple would do about Flash, if not the specifics of how they would do it. Took a little bit of heat at the time, too.
There's a lot of speculation that Lee should lose his job over this post. I think Adobe would be downright foolish to do that. It was a bit, well, ill-advised, perhaps, to make these statements on an official looking blog (yes, I know it's not actually official) because no matter how fervently he says his words were "not in an official capacity", the fact is, he is authorized to speak on behalf of Adobe as part of his job and probably should have chosen his words a tad more cautiously or chosen some other forum to vent. But, so what? A guy at Adobe whose job it is to evangelize Adobe's developer products doesn't like something done by a competitor that has a potentially huge impact on the users of those products? That shouldn't surprise anybody. He just said what a lot of people at Adobe were thinking. This isn't news. Of course he's pissed off. He should be! I would be too in his position. I assume he wouldn't be in that position if he didn't feel just as strongly about Flash/Flex/AIR as I do about Cocoa and Objective-C, and what Apple has done is, make no bones about it, bad for Flash/Flex/AIR developers.
Though I liked the post, since I don't agree with it, I feel compelled to address a couple of things he said.
First, there's a little bit of a persecution complex going on in the post. Apple's not on a "crusade" against Adobe. Apple's on a crusade for their own interests, just like Adobe is. I guarantee you that the decision-makers at Apple feel strongly that a huge influx of Flash-generated apps would be bad for the platform, and not without some justification. It's not that Apple doesn't like Adobe, it's that they honestly feel this is the best thing for their customers and their interests. Just like Adobe feels the best thing for their interests is to find a way to let Flash developers sell to iPhone users.
I think it's interesting how Lee then pulls the whole "Adobe and Apple have helped each other get where they are" schtick. Despite the fact that Mac products are what allowed Adobe to become a large, successful company, Adobe hasn't felt compelled to treat the Mac as a first class citizen in over a decade (though there are signs that may be changing). Where's 64-bit Photoshop? Where's a good Flash runtime that doesn't leak like a sieve or max out all processing cores for a relatively simple task? If you have used Adobe products on both Windows and the Mac, it's hard to buy into this whole Adobe-and-Apple-holding-hands-in-a-tree scenario he paints. Adobe only wants to hold hands again because Apple's been phenomenally successful in the emerging mobile market and they want a piece of the action.
The fact is, Adobe and Apple are both big corporations out for their own interests. They help each other out when it benefits them, but they don't hesitate to let go, or even give their former "friend" a good kick in the ass when that's what's in their best interests. Case in point, when Apple looked like it was dying, Adobe was rapidly rewriting all of their existing products with an eye toward being able to deliver Windows versions even though Photoshop and Pagemaker were, at the time, huge incentives for buying a Mac. If Adobe has been Apple's friend, they've sure been a fair weather one. But they're not friends. They're corporations, period, so rant all you want about Apple's actions, but don't act as if Adobe has been betrayed or wouldn't take exactly the same kinds of actions if they were in a similar situation.
I doubt Lee and I will ever see eye-to-eye on most technology issues. We're both too invested in opposing technologies. He won't give money to Apple, similarly, I feel the same way about Adobe. For a very long time, I was as big a fan of Adobe as I am of Apple, but now I'm not a fan and won't buy their products.
So I understand his anger, and don't think his "Go screw yourself Apple" is any worse than my occasional "Flash sucks" declarations.
But Adobe should've seen this coming and a lot of this anger should be directed at themselves rather than at Apple. They took a huge (I would argue foolish) risk and it didn't pan out. If a competitor writes a license to specifically disallow your products and then you look for and find a loophole in that license, then announce to the world that you're going to exploit that loophole, how can you possibly not foresee your competitor closing the loophole? Adobe was betting that Apple wouldn't block them if they made a public announcement at their big developer conference thinking, perhaps, that Apple wouldn't want the negative publicity. Adobe bet wrong.
The App Store is Apple's playground. Maybe they should be nice and let everyone play on their playground, but they don't have to, and the fact that you bought a shiny new ball to play with doesn't change that fact at all, Adobe.