First, let me start by saying that I am a BIG fan of Adobe and its products. This goal of this post is not of criticize Adobe but rather to try and help with its current road map by focusing on recent disasters in its marketing strategies.

Let me also add that I personally own 2 successful multimillion dollar Web companies, one an eCommerce online retailer and the other a software as a service web company (the latter is all based on Adobe Flex thus my concern). I will not post any personal links as the purpose of this post is not to promote my companies but rather to help steer Adobe in the right direction…. AGAIN!

  • The problem:

First let’s start with the spark that started it all. Adobe dropped support for Mobile due to iOS lack of support. Fine, no problem with that, however Adobe should have done it quietly. They should have stopped releasing builds and removing their focus off it internally.  Sure, people would have complained about it being buggy on mobile and not supported on certain chipsets; a much better approach compared to the current negative spin on Flash.

Next, let’s be honest. Adobe is waaaay too honest. Adobe keeps reaffirming that HTML5 is the future; fine, we all know that. But here is problem, HTML5 is not yet rich enough for Adobe to be able to produce real tools for… (i.e.: Adobe edge which produces horrible code base since JS is none compiled leaving the end user to be exposed to the mess it creates). They don’t have a solution currently for Flex and Flash migration since again HTML5 is simply a very primitive none OOP technology. And, by announcing that HTML5 is the future and repeating it over at the December 2011 conference; and sure they did say that Flex is the right solution for certain things, but that totally got swollen up by people only hearing “HTML5 is the future”. They even went as far as saying that “brand new Enterprise products starting today would most likely not use Adobe Flex”, BIG mistake.

So what do we have here, a situation where customers are walking away from Flash and Flex. This is (or will be)  hearting Adobe’s bottom line while Adobe still can’t capitalize on HTML5 as it’s still not ready.

What Adobe SHOULD have done, is put down HTML5 any chance it got, say it’s not consistent among browsers, runs none compiled code, way too slow and simply not feature rich. At the same time say that the future is captivated AIR for mobile and desktop and TVs, across all OS. And who cares if it’s not true and HTML5 is the future, “good guys finish last”. Adobe should have been more allusive and while internally testing HTML5 and beginning to brainstorm, to the public it should have been “HTML5 is not ready and we feel the future is Captivated AIR apps”. This would have kept companies buying into the Flash / Flex platform while making Adobe billions for the next few years UNTIL HTML5 is ready and Adobe can privately and secretly begin producing the migration tools.

  • The solution:

I believe it’s not too late. I believe Adobe can fix all this. They 1st of all need to change their public statements. They need to make a public post about how disappointed they are with HTML5 current progress and reaffirm their commitment to Flash. Bring back Flash to the mobile EVEN IF they don’t release any future versions (just the next one of Ice cream sandwich as they plan to anyways). Companies track back on their actions all the time (See Apple and their next 7” tablet). So Adobe can do the same, publicly bash HTML5 and bring Flash Player back to mobile; not because they want to, but because it will bring back the confidence on Flash and Adobe’s commitment thus producing sales on the Flash development tools for the next few years UNTIL HTML5 is ready. Adobe essentially has shot itself in the foot killing it’s own Flash tooling sales while not being able to do produce productive products YET for HTML5; they should have waited (way to honest of a company, learn something from Oracle or Apple).

Next, if Adobe is serious about gaming, they need to buy Unity 3D. Unity 3D is a pure gaming platform with GPU acceleration. Neither Flash Builder or Flash Professional has the right environment for 3D (even with stage 3D). Plus, Unity 3D is VERY popular, fast growing, highly viral so Adobe will be getting a big boost to it’s gaming platform.

And lastly, for the 100th time, Adobe MUST open source Flash / AIR runtime. What is this crap about not being able to do that cause of H.264 or other proprietary technologies? This is a do or die time for the rruntime. Convert to WebM, make a different version of Flash Player or anything you need to do. But by opening Flash to the Apache open source you will be able to gain the popularity AGAIN, Flash will become COOL again, possibly embrace HTML5 into a single code base and maybe, just maybe, be adopted by iOS as we all know how Apple LOVES to take open source and make it their own (i.e. BSD > OSX and KHTML > WebKit > Safari ).

So let’s to recap

  1. Adobe made a big mistake prematurely favoring HTML5 while it’s not ready. Thus, putting a negative spin on Flash / Flex which Is sure to heart sales BIG time and Adobe’s stock price (as slow sales follow). Adobe MUST still capitalize on flash dev tools for YEARS to come, UNTIL HTML5 is ready for adobe to produce tools for.
  2. Adobe made a big mistake dropping publicly support for Flash on mobile, it should have been done internally with no publicity… drop support internally slowly on certain devices.
  3. To fix the issue Adobe has to start bashing HTML5, saying it is disappointed of its performance lack of standard and slow progress. Bring Flash back to mobile (even if just to impress the crowd)
  4. Go into gaming as planned but acquire Unity 3D (no affiliation on my part).
  5. Focus on better performance on Captivated AIR for mobile… make it run Faaast… almost like native (it can be done) and push it push it push it  with marketing so people are aware how powerful the “develop in AIR and run everywhere” is, and it even rhymes. Right now if you google “cross mobile development” you will hardly even find Adobe AIR… come on!!! Adobe made an AMAZING job on iPad and Android dev tools. 1st class Debug, access to peripherals on mobile and more. Developers I speak to are unaware of it.
  6. And yes, Open source the runtime, this will reduce or even eliminate the need for HTML5 as Flash IS TODAY what HTML5 will be in 4-5 years from now, who even needs it if Flash is open to all…

Adobe, please comment below:

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