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April 22nd

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[11:52 AM]
Adobe, Observers Respond To Final Cut Punishment Rumor
Our story that Adobe may be punishing Apple for releasing Final Cut by withholding features on other Mac products like Acrobat garnered a lot of mail. We also asked Adobe to respond before we ran the story, but were not able to speak with Adobe personnel until yesterday. Most of the mail we received told us we were wrong on this rumor and we are relaying some of that mail here. We have a Mac Observer Spin after the letters.

First, the word from an Adobe Spokesperson:

We're committed to delivering full feature parity on both the Windows and Mac platform. Any omission is purely coincidental.

We talked to our customers on both platforms and found that Mac users were more concerned about the graphics market and features that lend itself to that area. On the Windows side, we found that features such as Digital Signatures were more important. Microsoft puts some features directly into the OS and that does make the Windows version easier to develop. Rather than hold back both releases, we released Acrobat 4.0 when we had the features that users were interested in.

A rumor like this is a serious issue to us because our partnerships seriously. We do not treat our customers like this.

Adobe Spokesperson

Adam Engst, noted Mac author and the publisher of TidBits, also wrote in to say we were wrong:

It's a nice conspiracy theory, but it's totally false. Unfortunately, my information is privileged, so I can't provide a source.

cheers... -Adam

Other letters supporting Adobe:

I highly refute this claim. I do not work at Adobe but I have contacts within Adobe. I have not had any inclination that Adobe would punish Apple. True, Final Cut is a direct threat to Premiere but, Adobe's revenues are 50% Macintosh. I don't think Adobe is willing to lose half of its revenues. Also, remember at Seybold, Adobe showcased K2 on new blue and white G3s.



Whoa Guys,

I love Apple and I love Adobe products. Lets leave the silly tit for tat stuff in the school yard. I create all the Parts and Service technical literature for Porsche Cars N.A. on a Mac, and the only Mac in a windows world here. I have managed to steer our company to Adobe Acrobat PDFs for electronic publications. I hope Adobe isn't holding back Acrobat 4.0 to me for that selfish reason.

As a Mac user, I can see a big advantage for the digital signatures, especially with the electronic order forms I create.

See ya,

Hans Reisel

Dear Mac Observer,

Sorry to disagree with your editorial, but it just doesn't ring true. Apple's actions are "stupid" yes, but Adobe (no saint itself) doesn't need to send this message to Apple.

If they were going to be pissed - it was over TrueType (as a PostScript killer).

Most important -- When Mac OS X ships -- what is the video editing software suite for that OS? Could Final Cut be ready YEARS before Premier makes the transition? Possibly. The engineers who went to Apple when they bought Final Cut, knew about Mac OS X far in advance.

Adobe on the other hand has been evangelized about Rhapsody, Copland, OpenDoc, Next -- etc. etc. Do you think they are going to port Premier over to Mac OS X before the installed base grows big enough to warrant the development costs? Do you think Adobe believes ANYTHING Apple says about Operating Systems after all the previous false starts? Might it be that they support what Apple has shipping and support what windows has shipping - as far as specific features?

Nope - the angry at Apple and seeking revenge doesn't ring true.

Finally --- Consider Apple's history as a marketer of SOFTWARE (vs. Hardware). 4th Dimension spun in and back out (with Guy Kawasaki) because Apple couldn't face competing in the database arena. More recently - Emailer (Kawasaki again) - from Fog City. It's now dead because Apple doesn't successfully market software very well. Filemaker Pro, they bought it, improved it, spun out Claris and eventually renamed the spin off Filemaker Inc. How about HyperCard? .....and on and on and on. QuickTime VR Authoring Studio. Does Apple market that in Camera Stores (as they should)? No. They don't market software effectively.

So WHY did Steve buy Final Cut? ---- That's a very good question.

Robert Barnes
Boulder, Colorado

This letter is typical of the ones we received from folks who are a little tense with Adobe:

Dear Observer,

When HP got mad at Apple over the OEM printer issue, HP didn't hurt apple by not releasing Mac compatible inkjets. They hurt the end user who suddenly had fewer choices. Epson stepped up and gave users a choice, users responded with cash in hand. HP may not have cared about the mac user base, but Epson didn't mind the extra revenue.

IF its true that Adobe is cutting features from Acrobat to "punish" Apple over final cut, they may suffer a similar backlash. If as your article states, that users are less than thrilled with Premiere, users could be trashing Premiere and waiting in line for Final Cut. Adobe would be better served by stepping up development and providing needed features and advances to Premiere to be better able to compete with Final Cut. Rather than punishing a potential competitor (holy microsoft Batman) and alienating a part of the user base (who if unhappy now, would switch to anything else available) they should improve Premiere.

Thanks for listening,
Rick Pinnock

The Mac Observer Spin: Ok, here is our honest assessment after receiving lots of feedback from lots of people. It is Adobe's job to tell the press that rumors like this are untrue. In this case, however, we believe them. It does indeed seem that they simply released what was ready.

Furthermore, we believe our source's original story that set our own report in motion. What this means is that there are people within Adobe who do not work in the PR department that are badmouthing Apple. While we still can not relay the story as it was told to us, it was very compelling. It could also be a simple case where a few Adobe people wanted to look big and shot their mouths off.

So what does this mean? Adobe is probably more committed to the Mac market now than at any time since they decided to port their graphics apps to Window's 95. After all, they are starting to see an increasing percentage of their revenue coming from Mac sales for the first time in years. But there is some anti-Mac bias running throughout some parts of the company, though not with any of the higher-ups we have directly spoken to in the last year.

But we do still think they are still tense over the release of Final Cut. :-)

Adobe - Apple

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