His product launches are nothing short of electrifying. His image as a controlling, calculating, yet creative CEO is well-documented. But Apple's
In the past, he's said of Google
When he talks about Adobe Systems
After surpassing Microsoft to become the second-largest U.S. company by market cap, and enjoying one wild success after another, Apple has few companies lining up to get in its way. But that may be about to change.
Stepping up to the plate
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen is a soft-spoken and deliberate-sounding man. When asked to respond to Jobs' recent comment that "Flash looks like a technology that has had its day," Narayen dismissed the Apple-Adobe feud as "irrelevant."
Flash Player software is installed on 98% of worldwide PCs, so it's not as if Narayen has too much to defend; the numbers speak for themselves. Nineteen out of 20 mobile handset makers have committed to building smartphones that support Flash, including Nokia
And Flash should be improving soon, as Adobe prepares to release Flash 10.1, a new and improved version that uses less battery power and is supposed to run fairly smoothly on the next generation of smartphones. This is good news for Adobe, of course, and it could quite possibly blunt calls for HTML5, the standard that Steve Jobs boasts will soon replace Flash.
An appropriate ally
Google TV, which was announced earlier this year, will be an interesting experiment in streaming video, with the potential to revolutionize how consumers view entertainment. Both Google TV and a forthcoming Google tablet will support Flash.
"We expect Flash to be part of all the devices that count," Narayen says. I'm not sure whether that's just his way of saying that Flash is where it needs to be, or whether it's a low blow to Apple, implying that Flash doesn't need the help of the iPhone or iPod to be a success. I suspect the latter; in my mind, Narayen -- a former Apple employee -- is basically telling Steve Jobs where he can go. (Not anywhere nice, mind you.)
The Foolish bottom line
The list of people and/or companies that Steve Jobs has offended is probably too long to fit in this article. Both his personal success and Apple's roster of achievements are undoubtedly intimidating, but Adobe seems unwilling to back down anytime too soon. Truth be told, this battle isn't even worth Adobe's time; its Creative Suite software, not Flash, is the company's real moneymaker. This past quarter, Adobe announced record revenue of $943 million, 34% beyond last year's sales numbers. Not bad for a company that's apparently "lazy."
What do you think about Adobe's Flash? Is Steve Jobs right to bash it, or is he just trying to make a typical media splash? Sound off in the comment section below!
Jordan DiPietro doesn't own any shares. Nokia is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Adobe Systems are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of Google. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.