There was quite a surprise today as Microsoft announced that Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division (MBD) will be retiring in September and the replacement is Stephen Elop, current COO of Juniper Networks and former CEO of Macromedia before it was acquired by Adobe:
While Adobe’s tiff with Microsoft over Adobe’s Portable Document Format has gotten a lot of press lately, Dan Frommer at Forbes describes another format battle between the two:
Lip-synching teens on YouTube. Last night’s episode of Lost on ABC’s Web site. Cooking tips from Emeril. At long last, Web video is finally taking off. Last year, Internet users streamed 18 billion videos, and everyone from the broadcast networks to camcorder-wielding high school kids wants a piece of the pie. But one of the biggest winners could be Adobe Systems, whose newly acquired animation and site-design software, Flash, has become the hottest tool for Web video.
When Adobe Chief Executive Bruce Chizen picked up Flash developer Macromedia for $3.4 billion in stock last year, its latest version–Flash 8–was just launching. The update pledged much-higher-quality video than previous editions, thanks to a new movie-compression method from a small company called On2. What followed was a deluge of interest, pushing Flash ahead of video-streaming pioneers RealNetworks and QuickTime-developer Apple Computer.
“Probably six months after that new [compression technology] came out, adoption started going through the roof,” says Chris Hock, group product manager of Adobe’s media platform. Microsoft’s Windows Media format still dominated the market with a 60% share of all video streams last year. But Flash has quickly jumped into second place with a 19% market share, up from nothing two years ago, and will grow substantially this year, according to Accustream research director Paul Palumbo.
Much more by following the link, but there’s a key reason for Flash’s success:
Simplicity is another boon for Adobe. Unlike competing offerings from Microsoft and RealNetworks, industry observers say, Flash is just Flash–no pop-up windows, music stores or other confusion. And as content companies aim to eventually make money from Web movies–IDC estimates revenue from online video will jump to $1.7 billion in 2010 from $230 million last year–marketers’ and developers’ familiarity with Flash is also a plus for Adobe–it’s already the standard for interactive Web advertisements.
Adobe is making money off tools and premium content server licenses while content-delivery specialists like Akamai love that video bandwidth usage.
Andrew Orlowski at The Register – Phone buy puts Adobe head-to-head with Microsoft:
Macromedia is to acquire Mobile Innovation, a privately-held design and integration house in the UK with around 50 staff, for an undisclosed sum.
What makes this deal noteworthy is that Mobile Innovation designs phones as well as user interfaces. It’s an integrator, and Tier One handset manufacturers devolve a lot of design decisions to MI. It’s similar to Apple’s relationship with Tony Fadell’s design shop – which created the iPod – only on a larger scale. MI declines to mention which companies it works with because of confidentiality agreements with phone OEMs, and an opaque web site gives little clues as to what it really does.
But it’s well known amongst industry insiders that Mobile Innovation was responsible for the Nokia 9300 Communicator design and other high-end Symbian smartphones, Nokia’s Series 90 user interface, and Hildon, the GUI for Nokia’s Linux tablet.
So what on earth is Adobe, which last week received DoJ clearance to acquire Macromedia, going to do with a smartphone design shop?
The answer is Flash, Millar told us today. Macromedia thinks Flash is going to be very, very big on non-PC devices and Millar agrees.
And it suggests that one of these epic battles that litter the computer industry is about to commence, with Adobe deadly serious about putting its platform software on every device that can possibly run it.
Hit the link for the details, but it would be more exciting if Macromedia hadn’t just done some odd tinkering with Flash player availability on Pocket PC’s.