I’m sure I’m not the only child of the ’80s who watched Johnny Dangerously several (hundred) times as a kid. One of my favorite characters was Roman Moronie, whose command of the English language — well, more specifically, English profanities — was tenuous at best. I’m sure he would be highly offensive to a particular nationality or ethnic group, if it were possible to tell where he was actually from. (That mystery itself being a joke in the movie; at one point a newspaper headline reads: “Roman Moronie deported to Sweden — claims he’s not from there.”) Yes, I was a big fan of ’80s Michael Keaton movies that, in retrospect, are somewhat problematic. Johnny Dangerously, Mr. Mom. I think I partly liked him because I thought maybe he was related to the characters on Family Ties. OK, I was old enough to know better than that.
What does this have to do with Apple vs. Adobe, or anything for that matter? I’m not sure, but I do know that their battle has escalated to fargin’ war!
Steve Jobs fired the first metaphorical salvo last month with his Thoughts on Flash. I thought he nailed it, as expected. Of course Adobe can’t let him win, so yesterday Adobe retaliated with their “We [heart] Apple” / “We [heart] Choice” ad campaign and an open letter of their own.
The idea that Flash is somehow open — or that Apple is somehow trying to “close” the web — is both disingenuous and misguided. My natural inclination is to blather on ad nauseum about such things, but as I’m home with a sick kid today (which is to say, there’s enough nauseum in this house already), I’ll let some more pithy writers say it for me.
Adobe: not open, claim to be.
Apple: not open, don’t claim to be, contribute heavily to that which is truly open.
Update: Over on the Macworld website, the Macalope has some choice words on this topic. It’s worth reading in its entirety, but here’s my favorite bit, dissecting excerpts from the Adobe open letter:
If the web fragments into closed systems, if companies put content and applications behind walls…
You mean like the wall of a lousy runtime environment that would just as soon crash the Macalope’s browser as play back a Daily Show clip? The wall of a development environment controlled by one company that makes some pretty good coin off the deal?
Oh, no. That’s not the wall you were talking about. Sorry. Go on.
…some indeed may thrive — but their success will come at the expense of the very creativity and innovation that has made the Internet a revolutionary force.
The Internet is an open range where anyone can compete in any way they like. But Adobe didn’t make the Internet. In fact, they tried to wall off a section of it. Apple, on the other hand, made its own walled garden with a scenic view of the Internet.