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Adobe Fights Back With a Whimper, Google With a Thud

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Last week Adobe made their first public stance in their war with Apple. They should have stayed silent.

For those who haven't been following the turf war that's been taking place it boils down to this: Steve Jobs refuses to place Flash on his iPad and iPod products and recently wrote an open letter explaining why he would continue to do so. In typical Jobs fashion, he was ahead of the media curve and stated his arguments convincingly, despite his hypocrisy.

So how does Adobe counter the man who defined the slick modern media campaign? With "We heart Apple" -- one of the most ill-conceived campaigns in recent memory. How could such smart, high paid people (Adobe and Goodby, Silverstein& Partners) make such bush league mistakes? First, the design of the banner and print ad campaign is a riff on the "I heart NY" campaign of, yes, 1977. Nothing says cutting edge technology to me like the '70s, after all it was the decade of the eight-track.

The campaign's next mistake was to counter with their own open letter from founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke. Ugggh, the open letter is so... Steve Jobs. Don't co-opt your enemies' tactics, and if you must, at least get specific. Jobs' letter clearly stated his reasons for rejecting Flash, including specific security and technological concerns. Adobe countered with platitudes about "creativity" and "open markets." "We love innovation" isn't enough to get the public in an uproar over Flash being shut out of one of the world's most popular mobile devices. It also didn't help that their letter was accompanied by a sepia-toned portrait which made them look more like the founders of, say, electricity.

Luckily for Adobe, they have a partner who is decidedly more quiet and carries a bigger stick - Google. It's expected that at this week's Google I/O conference that the Flash-compatible Android 2.2 OS will be released, thereby ending this badly scripted soap opera. It will soon be up to consumers to settle this argument.


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