Adobe Quietly Surrenders to Steve Jobs, Builds Flash Alternative

The company's new product, Edge, will work on iPhones and iPads

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Thanks to a new Flash alternative released Monday, Adobe software will finally be compatible with Apple's mobile devices. Adobe Edge is a new HTML5-powered design tool that the company says will complement its existing suite of web software, including the famously not iPhone-friendly Flash software. In its press release announcing the release, Adobe talks at length about the power of HTML5 and their continued contributions to building products that cater to the new web standard. But except for a tiny mention of compatibility with Apple's mobile operating system, they leave out the fact that they're doing exactly what Steve Jobs told them to do a little over a year ago.

HTML5 has been all the rage in the developer world for a while. Now seven years in the making, the web programming language was always meant to be a more powerful and more open web standard. Not many people outside of the coder community knew about HTML5 until April 2010 when Steve Jobs explained on Apple's website why his company's mobile devices didn't support Adobe's Flash animation software. Jobs links Flash to the "PC era," noting how the future mobile-centric world would be based on "low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards--all areas where Flash falls short." He continues with a pretty upfront recommendation to Adobe's executives: "New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."

Well, Adobe listened. Though they only offer three letters to acknowledge that their new software will work on iPhones and iPads--a quick mention of "iOS" in the list of compatible systems--the company's explanation for building the new design software sounds almost like an agreeing reply to Steve Jobs' blog post.

"Over the last year Adobe has delivered on several significant HTML5 milestones,” said Adobe vice president Paul Gubbay in a press release Monday announcing Adobe Edge's first public release. “Now, with Adobe Edge, we’re taking our HTML5 tooling to a whole new level and look forward to getting some really useful feedback from the community over the next few months, as we refine the product."

Edge is billed as another weapon in Adobe's design arsenal, one that doesn't quite replace Flash. So it would be premature to talk about the new product launch as a Flash-killer. Nevertheless, Fast Company's Kit Eaton says that Jobs "started a cold war with Adobe" by keeping Flash off of his mobile devices and, if anything, this latest release shows how he's winning. Gizmodo's Kat Hannaford concedes and calls Edge the beginning of the end for Flash. "[Edge] has great potential and it will take over Flash for simple to medium projects," says Hannaford. "However, I wouldn't be surprised if this kills Flash forever in the long run."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.