Conversation with Adobe evangelist

Funny enough I sat next to Adobe Evangelist Mike Downey last night. He just attended the Microsoft Mix conference. Did he have his tail between his legs? No, but he did admit to me that Microsoft is very committed to beating Adobe. He said Adobe has a few tricks of its own. Of course I captured part of our conversation, while sitting in the plane. Watch for more videos coming from SXSW later today (I’m supposed to meet up with Kyte in a little while where the CEO will show me its streaming video service). Qik just updated its Website, too. I love competition!

Is Steve Jobs lying about Flash not working on iPhone?

RUMOR ALERT — I have not substantiated this with anyone at either Adobe or Apple, so might turn out to be totally false:

Today I got a note from someone I know who works closely with Adobe and Apple. He saw my “Apple stabs Adobe in the Back” post and wanted to give me some details about what’s going on between Adobe and Apple. He says that he’s seen Flash running on an iPhone in a lab and that it’s been running for quite a while and that it’s not a technical issue that caused Steve Jobs to go public about not putting Adobe’s Flash on the iPhone. He wrote “Geez – my Chumby with half the CPU horsepower can run Flash8/AS2.”

So, what’s the reason, according to my source?

Adobe is playing hardball with Apple over their PDF renderer. “Adobe wants Apple to use the Adobe PDF renderer.” His thesis? Steve Jobs is playing hard to get to get Adobe to give up this demand.

Again, I have no idea if this is true or not. But tomorrow’s SDK announcement with Apple is going to be very interesting to listen to.

Apple stabs Adobe in the back

On a week when Microsoft landed a big deal to put Silverlight on Nokia phones, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, tells Adobe that there won’t be Flash on the iPhone.

This is a real bummer for Adobe and many users and developers, because most of the world’s casual games are written for Flash. Just go over to game site Kongregate. Or, look at the world’s video like that on YouTube (or any other video site like the Qik one that I use on my cell phone). Almost all of it is done in Flash. Now developers at those sites will need to find some other method to get those games and videos onto the iPhone.

This is a HUGE opening for Microsoft to take momentum and mind share away from Flash/Flex/AIR with its Silverlight set of technologies (which, based on my Twitter conversations, is winning developers over at a pretty good pace).

So, what is Steve thinking? He probably didn’t want to hand control of developers to another company, but Apple might also have had concerns about battery life or it just might not have been able to make Flash work well on the iPhone. I can’t believe that Apple couldn’t find a way to make these things work, though. Flash isn’t that heavyweight, it might have taken some committment on behalf of Apple to rewrite Flash to work and it sounds like Apple wants to go the way of SVG (it has long been rumored to be working on SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics, which is an open W3C standard) for the iPhone).

The inside story has yet to be told on this one. Not that Adobe is in a place to retaliate by only doing something like future versions of Photoshop or Illustrator on Windows or Linux (which would hurt Apple, but would hurt Adobe itself in its real war with Microsoft) but Adobe has got to be smarting from this decision this morning. After all it was Adobe that helped solidify the Macintosh’s role in the world with its desktop publishing, fonts, and Postscript technologies.

Does this put a death blow onto the Flash/Flex/AIR teams? No, but it certainly does cripple their chances against Microsoft’s Silverlight. I’ll be at Microsoft’s Mix conference later today to report on that angle.

UPDATE: Microsoft’s keynote this morning at its sold-out Mix conference will be webcast live, Neowin is reporting. I’m hearing there’s some news coming there, and also later in the afternoon.

The Offline Wars about to heat up?

Ryan Stewart (who works at Adobe) wonders if Microsoft is bringing an offline version of Silverlight out this week at Mix.

I’m hearing that Google is about to ship something major offline too.

So, for the next month we might hear “go offline” from all three camps (Adobe already shot their big guns in this war at last week’s “Engage” event).

Microsoft should have the best offline technology, because it’s king of applications on your desktop, but I think that answers the wrong question.

I’m trying to get everything I do online because I want freedom from my computer.

What do I mean about that?

Well, what if my computer gets stolen? I don’t want any data on it.

What happens if Linux comes out with a Macintosh killer? Or if I decide to get a Windows computer again (I’m currently using a Dell Tablet PC because they sent me one to try out) I want to just load one thing: Firefox and go to work. Right now I’m switching between my Dell and my Mac without any problems at all because almost everything I do now is in the browser.

The thing about Microsoft is that they’ll do some killer offline technology but it won’t work on the Symbian cell phone or iPhones that I’m currently using. It won’t work on Android, which is the Google cell phone OS that’s soon to make an impact on the market. It won’t work on Linux (which is getting a LOT better on the desktop, so I might try that again this year). And it won’t work well on Firefox or Opera or other new, non-IE browsers. (Channel 9 doesn’t work well with Silverlight on my new Dell when I use Firefox 3.0beta3, while Flash and AIR work just fine).

So, I guess the question is: can Microsoft keep the world as it is (IE, one that mostly runs on Windows and Office) or will the world follow bleeding-edge users like me into a more online world?

Live video from Adobe Engage event

Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe tells Kevin Lynch what's cool about AIR

I’ve been live streaming all morning from the Adobe Engage event. Here’s a schedule. This is an event that Adobe’s holding to launch new versions of Adobe AIR and Flex and to showcase some developers who’ve built stuff using those two technologies.

Adobe Engage Event Schedule

So, here’s the video from this morning’s stuff — if you have only time for one, watch the New York Times or the videos. They were the most impressive to me.

Adobe Executives. Shantanu Narayen, CEO (Qik video, part I, part II, part III); Kevin Lynch, CTO (Qik video, part I, part II). Sometimes the phone gets kicked off, sorry.

New York Times showing off their cool Shifd, which shipped just last night (Qik video, part I, part II)

Carnet Williams, Jason Ricci showing off Sprout, cool tool for building Flash/Flex sites (Qik video)

Russ Fleming, Matthew Maher showing off a cool new package tracker from FedEx (Qik video, Part I, part II)

Mitch Free showing off the sexiest enterprise app I’ve seen, (Qik video, part I, part II)

Chris Shipley and Kevin Lynch having a conversation (Chris runs the Demo conference) (Qik video).

More will be up after lunch at