Adobe and Microsoft vs. Google and Apple?
United against Android and iOS
Surely the biggest topic of discussion at the Microsoft/Adobe meeting, however, was mobile. Microsoft has trailed behind its competitors in the mobile OS space, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and waning global leader Symbian. According to recent IDC estimates, Windows Mobile claims just 6.8 percent of the global smartphone market, and it's expected to remain in last place at least through 2014. Similarly, Apple's staunch refusal to allow Flash on iOS spells bad news for Adobe, particularly if Apple continues to gain share in the smartphone and tablet markets.
But if customers do want Flash content on their mobile devices, now is the chance for both companies to strike while the iron is hot. The ability to run Flash could be a strong differentiator for Windows Phone 7, which Microsoft launched at an event earlier this week. It could also save Adobe from slipping into irrelevance as mobile devices increasingly take over functions from desktop browsers.
To succeed at this, however, the two companies would first have to get Flash to perform well on a mobile device. Apple CEO Steve Jobs says Adobe's past attempts have been consistently lackluster, and early reviews of Flash running on Android handsets have been disappointing.
Still, the possibility of a close relationship between Adobe and Microsoft is definitely intriguing. Whether that relationship takes the form of a merger, a partnership, or some other collaboration, one thing is for sure: The battle lines for the next phase of Web and mobile development are being drawn, and the competition is about to get a lot more interesting.
This article, "Adobe and Microsoft vs. Google and Apple?," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Neil McAllister's Fatal Exception blog and follow the latest news in programming at InfoWorld.com.