Earlier this year, Adobe dabbled in the Mac App Store. Yesterday, Adobe released Photoshop Elements 10 Editor and Premier Elements 10 Editor in Apple’s groundbreaking box-free, serial code-free, instant-delivery digital store.
It seems that it is now only a matter of time before all the Adobe programs become available through the Mac App Store. But, what does this mean? It means that while Adobe pretends to be progressive and inventive on its own terms – coming out with terrible new ways to use Flash – the company is still bending to Apple and the needs of Apple users (iOS apps, etc.).
The history between Apple and Adobe is an interesting one. Adobe’s venerable Photoshop was Mac-only until version 4.0 was also released in a Windows variety. Media professionals and graphic artists form the core customer base for both companies. You’d expect that the partnership between them would be strong, and that Adobe would have been among the first software makers to exploit the Mac App Store channel. It’s only speculation – though easy speculation — that Apple’s refusal to support Flash on its iOS devices, and the harsh criticisms Steve Jobs had for the Flash platform in recent years, fueled some less than clear thinking at 345 Park Avenue.
“What Adobe hopefully recognizes is that while their Creative Suite products are among the best in their categories, they are also expensive. Startups with less overhead can deliver direct to the end user through the Mac App Store, bypassing the difficulties and expenses of securing brick and mortar shelf space. Pixelmator is a perfect example: though it doesn’t have all of the features of Photoshop, it has a good many of them, and most of what the pro photographer needs — for $29 compared to Photoshop CS5’s $699 price tag. That’s a pretty massive difference. Then consider that Photoshop is one of Adobe’s “safer” apps in these competitive waters. Other parts of the Creative Suite are far more vulnerable. Dreamweaver, which became part of Adobe’s portfolio when it acquired Macromedia in 2005, has several rivals in the Mac App Store with all of its functionality (and in some cases, more functionality) at a fraction of Dreamweaver’s $399 retail.”
Adobe and other big name software makers (ahem, Redmond, you still awake up there?) would be well advised to take the Mac App Store seriously. Perhaps the most common argument against the Mac platform in the past was that there was not a lof of software available compared to array of titles for Windows. That’s changing. Apple has made it a lot easier to not only develop for Mac OS, but to distribute to the end user. “Big software” ignores this, and the ever-growing ecosystem of alternatives, at their own peril.