Saturday, June 03, 2006

Microsoft offers to bundle the Flex Player in Vista

According to this market watcher, in an attempt to reach agreement in the dispute with Adobe over the inclusion of a PDF-writer in Office 2007, Microsoft has offered to bundle the Flash Player in Vista. If this is true (and if there are no other hidden conditions that Microsoft is not telling us about) then Adobe would be mad not to accept this offer. It might mean the loss of revenue short-term for Adobe but would create a much larger market opportunity for Adobe over time. The arrival of WPF/E is a serious threat to Flex as an applications development platform and, given how much of a market secret Flex is, something pretty fundamental has to change to ensure Flex 2 is more sucessful than the previous version. Adobe will need to have its smartest marketing minds working on a strategy to counter Microsoft's ability to manipulate the market going forward.

We can all read about Microsoft's view of the PDF dispute but Adobe people are being much more tight-lipped and after the recent strong-arming of the creative tallent at FlashObject, there must be questions about whether Adobe's legal department is working for the benefit of Adobe's shareholders or working on some other agenda. Who's in charge at Adobe?


John Dowdell said...

I don't have any information on Friday's campaign by Microsoft, but I do know that inclusion in the operating system hasn't been a significant factor, for other than street cred, for quite a few years now... the daily adoption rate of the Flash Player is far in excess of any browser adoption rate, much less of any OS adoption rate.


Bazard said...

No you are wrong, Adobe doesn't need Microsoft for that. Vista will come and so what? people will keep installing flash plugin otherwise they can't see properly websites. Then once it is installed it is auto updating on the next version. So no they don't need it to be integrated from the installation of Vista.
Second having th control of PDF is much more important as it is used in all the paper/documentation. You can't work without PDF files it is a fact. So Adobe should keep the control of PDF as SWF is insured to be played in Vista whatever happens

Anonymous said...

Actually Flash Player has been included in Windows for years. It would have been odd for them to remove it, since they've stated in court that they can never remove anything from the OS.

Ryan Stewart said...

Hey Graeme, I think you're wrong about WPF/E being a threat to Flex 2. WPF is the threat, but WPF/E is going to be a slimmed down version that isn't intended to support full, cross-platform, application development like Flex 2 does.

Graeme Harker said...

Ryan Moore makes a similar post on his blog.

I think one of the things that Flash evalgelists sometimes overlook is that a) in corporate enviroments users often don't have the freedom to "update the flash player" - they get what they're given. Developers in corporate environments are constrained to target the run-time frameworks that are installed on users' desktops and b) the days when Windows users all run with Admin privs all of the time are coming to an end even outside of corporate environments. In the "future state" world of Windows, if you're not bundled, you not there.

Mike Chambers explains Adobe's official position in his post in which his hostility to Microsoft is only thinly veiled. I suspect in reality Adobe's strategy is based on the ubiquity of PDF and I suppose it makes some sense. I guess in the future Adobe could bundle the Flash Player in with the PDF Reader (in the same way that Apple bundle QuickTime with iTunes) so that if you download and install one, you're obliged to download and install the other. This has a reasonable chance of ensuring that corporate desktops have a reasonably up-to-date Flash Player.

Perhaps the Flash guys at Adobe should ask the agency who prepare their ubiquity statistics to break the numbers down by corporate vs. non-corporate. I suspect they might get a shock and might be less bullish about Flash Player adoption rates.

Oh well, back to more more mundane topics like how to devise a strategy at the investment bank where I'm currently working to ensure that the corporate desktops have Flash Player 9 installed sometime int he next five hundred years.