Adobe’s John Dowdell explains why the Motorola Xoom won’t ship with Flash

I don’t know Motorola’s schedule myself, but it’s usually better to wait for actual news than to get all excited about a partner’s little snippet.

The important thing is that humanity is now on the verge of universal connectivity through personal displays. The trend is for common high-performance among them — with hardware, OS, engines, distribution, and business models all evolving simultaneously to attain this. Hot “Brand X vs Brand Y’ debating may bring in click-revenue from early adopters, but is less important in the long run than how we’ll end up using these new communication abilities. That’s the real priority for attention now.

If I am understanding Dowdell’s point here, I believe what he means is:

I am as high as a kite.

Translating Adobe’s “Thoughts on Open Markets”

The genius of the Internet is its almost infinite openness to innovation. New hardware. New software. New applications. New ideas. They all get their chance.

If only you morons had adopted SVG.

As the founders of Adobe, we believe open markets are in the best interest of developers, content owners, and consumers. Freedom of choice on the web has unleashed an explosion of content and transformed how we work, learn, communicate, and, ultimately, express ourselves.

Flash is installed on around 98% of desktop and laptop computers in the world, and when we bought Macromedia it was a completely closed system. Go ahead and choose that instead of SVG, will you?

If the web fragments into closed systems, if companies put content and applications behind walls, 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.

Although we hasten to point out that the many ways Adobe supports DRM across our product line—encrypted Flash video, encrypted PDFs, and for that matter all our software registration—is all about encouraging creativity and innovation.

We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs. No company—no matter how big or how creative—should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.

Sure, there are vendor-neutral ways to deliver this right now that don’t require our technology. But we don’t get paid for those. Sure, we could make a design program that does most of what Flash does using Javascript. But let’s be honest—given how long it’s taking us to deliver an actual working version of Flash on any mobile device, we’ll all have our goddamn flying cars before that happens. So it’s in our best interest to keep you all pissed off at Apple.

When markets are open, anyone with a great idea has a chance to drive innovation and find new customers. Adobe’s business philosophy is based on a premise that, in an open market, the best products will win in the end—and the best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than your competitors.

When you think “innovation,” you think Adobe. And Flash. Right? But we complained to the FTC just in case.

That, certainly, was what we learned as we launched PostScript® and PDF, two early and powerful software solutions that work across platforms. We openly published the specifications for both, thus inviting both use and competition. In the early days, PostScript attracted 72 clone makers, but we held onto our market leadership by out-innovating the pack. More recently, we’ve done the same thing with Adobe® Flash® technology. We publish the specifications for Flash—meaning anyone can make their own Flash player. Yet, Adobe Flash technology remains the market leader because of the constant creativity and technical innovation of our employees.

See, we learned from PostScript® that it’s really easy to Out-Innovate® The Pack® when you’re the only contributor to your Openly-Published® Specification® and can ensure that you update all of your products before the spec itself is updated! You’ll notice we’re not talking about making Flash an ISO standard the way we did PDF. Of course, even then we left in a loophole: the ISO standard for PDF is equivalent to PDF 1.7, but it has “extensibility features” which we can go on to use to still “innovate.” We gave the creative employee who came up with that technical innovation a nice bonus, you betcha.

We believe that Apple, by taking the opposite approach, has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web—the chapter in which mobile devices outnumber computers, any individual can be a publisher, and content is accessed anywhere and at any time.

We would like to strongly encourage you all to keep confusing the Apple app store and the web, and to see it as a great contradiction between keeping the former locked down tighter than a chastity belt and advocating the latter be based on vendor-neutral standards. The more you believe that, to paraphrase the great Kris Kristofferson, “freedom’s just another word for Adobe being able to put Flash everywhere there’s money,” the more we love you.

In the end, we believe the question is really this: Who controls the World Wide Web? And we believe the answer is: nobody—and everybody, but certainly not a single company.

Although if you don’t mind, we’d like to keep as much control of it as possible.