Adobe PR had a lot of fanfare over what would appear to be a small item: Adobe Premier Pro, the top of the line video editor tool from Adobe, would be available on the Mac. What ?
I thought all Adobe software ran on the Mac. One of the attractions of the Macromedia buyout by Adobe was the fact that so much of Macromedias popular software like Freehand, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Contribute and particularly Flash all ran on the Mac. Since when had a major Adobe media product not run on the Mac ?
Since Apple and Adobe got into a spat over video software. Perhaps it was Apples abrupt change over from 68000 to PowerPC chips or then the even more abrupt switch from PowerPC to Intel chips. This is not trivial stuff for Adobe whose softwares performance depends on their graphic software like Photoshop and Premier Pro to be fast performers. Thus Adobe often has to go behind the scenes and optimize the performance for the specific chips it runs on. This ability to make their graphics software look identically the same yet outperform regardless of the chipset used is one of Adobes distinct competitive advantages. Apple was making that and the transitions to various versions of the OS hard to do so ….
“No no no – you got that wrong Jacques – the problem was that Apple in early 2000s decided to giveaway for free Final Cut (very good video software) and Garage Band (very good music making software). These cut at the Adobe Premiere and Audition franchises. Then Apple had the gall to issue Pro versions which they charged for – this was like reserving the multi-media creation market on Apple to themselves – Adobe, whose graphic software is a crucial part of the media savvy mystique of Apple computers, was not amused. They indicated their displeasure by no longer supporting Premiere on Mac and super-optimizing its performance on Windows.”
This is the line I got from on of my Mac friends. It sounds as credible as my conjecture. But now Apple and Adobe are kissing and making up. Why?
“More of the same” says my Mac friend. “Adobe is not enthusiastic with the disarray in Windows software. There is COM, .NET 1.x, .NET 2.x, and .NET 3.x all parts of which Adobe must target for while Microsoft blithely ignores its legions of Windows 9x, NT, Millenia and 2000 users with its products (example, Expression Suite runs best in Vista only right now). But the real hit is that Microsoft has painted big gaudy bulls eyes on every major Adobe product line – its Photoshop line-up, its Flash products, its Dreamweaver line of web tools, and its Acrobat PDF format with real products like Metro, Expression Suite and Atlas among others. Adobe is acutely aware of Microsofts Borg like capability of taking over markets – resistance is futile. They need Mac Leopard to be a big success and take away some Vista/Windows seats – this will spell relief.”
I did not demur, but cited the common PC + Mac Intel chipset making it simpler for Adobe to optimize raw hardware performance for both OS – and so why not spread the Premiere revenue opportunities to Mac as well. Also not having video software on the Mac was leaving a big gap in Adobes Mac media line up. And with Autodesk having such an impressive array of high end graphic tools with some Linux, some Mac and all Windows capabilities – Adobe could ill afford to leave the door open for Alias-lite or Discreet-Lite products suddenly appearing in Adobe media markets.
Given the big bucks my Mac friend has made on Apple stock, I am in no position to argue – AMD has done well but not that well. And there must be smatterings of truth in our conjectures. In the final analysis, I will let you, readers, be the judges of that.