Why hasn’t Adobe, the software powerhouse that created PDF, Photoshop and other widely used computer programs, offered a more robust public relations defense against attacks from Apple? Does the company even care about its online reputation?
Some background: Along with introducing high-profile gadgets regularly, Apple also has a stellar niche practice in making common-place personal computer technologies obsolete. More accurately, Apple appears extremely clairvoyant in predicting the demise of various technologies, all by dropping those same technologies from new products. Remember floppy disks? Apple caused a massive uproar by eliminating floppy disk drives from its computers ten years ago. Critics claimed that people found disks “more convenient” to transfer files, instead of through email, a network etc. We know who won that fight. Apple also dropped dial-up modems from its computers in 2005, and even started ditching FireWire two years ago.
Now Apple has trained its sights on software and Adobe’s ubiquitous media product, Flash, by continuing to omit the Adobe product from all of Apple’s mobile gadgets, including the new iPad. Most computer users experience Flash when watching YouTube videos. Flash also powers many annoying elements online, like those Mafia Wars ads that pop up on Facebook.
In a dramatic display, Steve Jobs told a recent gathering of Apple employees that Adobe is “lazy,” that Apple won’t support Flash because it is buggy on Macs and that Flash is quickly becoming an obsolete standard.
Adobe has smartly stood up for its baby/product, but its stance also has been defensive and reactionary. Why don’t they have a more creative public relations response? Perhaps a “world without Flash” type of advocacy campaign, or something similar?
We’re only going to hear more about the absence of Flash when the iPad goes on sale. The product is sure to saturate the media with many “wow factor” stories on consumer delight. Adobe needs to have a strong public relations rebuttal that minimizes the impact of the iPad media rollout, otherwise Flash may quickly be a thing of the past.