However, as we posted last week, given the legal terms Apple has imposed on developers, we have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple devices for both Flash Player and AIR. We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others.
Did I read that right? “Apple devices.” This is careful wording. They could have said “Apple mobile devices” or “touchscreen devices” but they didn’t. This appears to mean that they are stopping support for Flash and AIR on the Mac. This is a big punishment as they are an integral part of browsers and there are many developers using AIR for desktop applications (including TweetDeck; my usual twitter client).
Now I’m no expert in antitrust law … hang on a second, yes I am [old blogging disclaiming expertise habits creeping in], but this looks like foreclosure. Adobe, by their own admission, is a major part of the “full web” and installed on virtually every non-mobile browser. The idea that they would stop development for Apple mobile devices is natural given that Apple won’t let them on them. But to extend that type of plan to a historic product where Adobe arguably has a degree of market power is another matter entirely. What is more, it was exactly the sort of exercise of power that Steve Jobs was worried about when deciding not to support Flash on the iPhone and iPad. Adobe appear to have just proved his point.
Perhaps, of course, this is just poor wording and if Adobe clarify, I’ll update it here. It is also the case that given Apple’s computer market share, there may be lots of developers out there now worried about developing for Flash given its proprietary nature. So this might bite Adobe back commercially as well as legally.