Anyone who follows Apple news is well aware that the Cupertino company’s relationship with Adobe has been very rough as of late. For a long time Apple has refused to allow Flash on the iPhone, and, more recently, Apple amended its iPhone developer agreement to prevent cross-compilation of apps shortly before the release of Adobe Creative Suite 5 (CS5) which includes a feature to do just that.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Adobe co-founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock have written open letters to the world expressing their disagreement with each other’s viewpoints. So imagine my shock when I saw a promotional e-mail in my inbox yesterday from Apple titled “The all-new Adobe Creative Suite 5. Get yours today.”
This was crazy! How on earth could Apple, in the midst of a war of words and opinions with Adobe, invite all of its own e-mail subscribers to buy an Adobe product, especially CS5 — one of the software packages that Apple recently banned from being able to make iPhone apps?
Or maybe it wasn’t so crazy after all. Adobe CS5 isn’t cheap; Apple sells it starting at US$1,299.95 ($1,899.95 for the Premium version), so clearly Apple stands to make some money by advertising that the software is available in its stores. On the other hand, Apple has roughly $40 billion in cash, so while it might make a little money from selling CS5, the money in itself isn’t a logical reason to promote a company it’s battling openly.
Could Apple have been promoting CS5 as a gesture of peace towards Adobe? Maybe. But, more interestingly, did Apple’s legal department recommend promoting CS5 in hopes of warding off a lawsuit from Adobe? Presumably, Apple’s move could make it harder for Adobe to prove in court that Apple’s changes to its iPhone developer agreement negatively impacted Adobe CS5 sales, and it may also make it a little less easy to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Apple was specifically targeting or trying to cause harm to Adobe.
Might Adobe have paid Apple to promote CS5? If the promotional e-mail hadn’t been sent in the midst of a public battle between the two companies, this would be the most logical answer. But Apple promoting CS5 could weaken Adobe’s claims of damages against Apple if Adobe takes Apple to court. On the other hand, perhaps Adobe offered to drop a pending lawsuit if Apple promoted CS5.
Apple and Adobe were unavailable for comment at the time this story was published.
— Josh Long
Josh Long is the producer and host of MacTech Live, the official podcast of MacTech Magazine (https://www.mactech.com/live). Josh also writes about computer security at (http://security.thejoshmeister.com).