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Adobe Takes On Microsoft Role In E-book Market

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the behind-the-scenes dept.

Books 161

ericatcw writes "Barnes & Noble, Sony and other e-book vendors may have the manufacturing muscle, but the brains directing the challenge against Amazon.com's Kindle eBook Reader is Adobe Systems. Like Microsoft, Adobe has built a formidable ecosystem of partners to whom it supplies software such as its encryption/DRM-creating Adobe Content Server. Adobe paints Amazon as being like Apple: secretive and playing badly with others. Amazon argues it just ain't so, and takes a jab, along with other critics, at Adobe's alleged open-ness."

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161 comments

Wait... (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379064)

There's an e-book market?

Re:Wait... (2, Informative)

rocket97 (565016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379126)

Yes, actually the Kindle by Amazon is doing really well from what I have heard.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379296)

Why can't Adobe just go bankrupt already? No more Flash, no more Reader, those two insecure plugins would finally bite the fucking dust.

Re:Wait... (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379394)

No more Photoshop, no more Illustrator, no more After Effects...

You know, Adobe's apps make the graphic design/post production/digital art world go round, even if we regret that it is a single company doing it. Their high end professional applications are generally pretty good (yes , overpriced, and 'upgraded' too often with pointless features, but still). I'm not sure I'd like to see them go abandonware.

Re:Wait... (1)

LOLLinux (1682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379438)

(yes , overpriced, and 'upgraded' too often with pointless features, but still).

It's only "overpriced" if you're buying the full professional version for home use. Photoshop is a drop in the bucket in the total software costs for doing professional work. The amount you pay for just one license (assuming you don't do bulk, discounted licenses) barely amounts to 2 days pay for a professional.

Re:Wait... (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379664)

Well, there are an awful lot of struggling/semi-professional graphic designers/artists/freelancers out there. A long tail of people who I suspect make up a significant proportion of adobe's market, or potential market.

Obviously, I don't know this for sure. But when I worked in post-production I saw an endless stream of people who needed adobe products to ply their trade, who were lucky to make the cost of their software in a month. They were stuck in Adobe's (pointless) upgrade cycle because the studios they worked for upgraded, and they need to be interoperable.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379570)

No more Photoshop, no more Illustrator, no more After Effects...

You know, Adobe's apps make the graphic design/post production/digital art world go round, even if we regret that it is a single company doing it. Their high end professional applications are generally pretty good (yes , overpriced, and 'upgraded' too often with pointless features, but still). I'm not sure I'd like to see them go abandonware.

So what, you think that if Adobe went away the world would do without professional graphics design software? You really think other companies wouldn't rush in to fill the marketshare vacuum? You think this cannot possibly result in some real competition in this area? Really?? Maybe you can explain that because it makes no sense to me.

Re:Wait... (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379734)

No, I think we desperately need competition in the area. I have thousand of man-hours sunk into Adobe's formats, because there aren't realistic choices. It would be a massive headache to have to move to different formats in new applications that might not do a particularly good job of importing old abandonware files.

What we need is for competition to force Adobe into a position where they have to a agree to open standards for their file formats. That's what I want, not the bankruptcy of a company that I believe still makes some really good software.

Re:Wait... (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379978)

They had competition in Macromedia and bought them. Paintshop Pro (if it exists) was pretty good but not quite ready to compete, imo. I think everyone is afraid to take on the likes of PS because it would be quite a struggle.

Re:Wait... (1)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379416)

They will lose market share after HTML 5 becomes standard in all browsers. We'll be seeing <video></video> instead of the buggy, closed, linux un-friendly and sometimes unreliable Flash player.

Re:Wait... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379440)

all browsers... you know it'll probably take 10 years for IE6 to vanish completely... HTML 5 will be a decent wait.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379544)

ahhhhhh, don't confront them with the facts; it spoils the fun!

let them invest loads of time learning yet another version of html - (eg dhtml, ajax, vrml), only to find out that people don't need or want any more of this crap and they're out of luck.

Re:Wait... (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379834)

You're right that HTML5 won't be in all browsers for a damn long time, but there's a good chance lot of the trendier websites (youtube, facebook, etc.) will start ignoring IE6 pretty soon. I think it's fairly clear that what's it propping it up are corporate intranets, and a lot of sites may just give up in the browsing from work on IE6 market.

Small sites may take the leap as well. I'm thinking of stopping IE6 testing on my personal site... I'm sure a lot of other one-man shows are thinking a similar thing.

Re:Wait... (2, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379452)

Don't count on it. Like the poster above you said, Adobe has the design tools. Flash is just the presentation layer. Even with HTML5 video tags, the developer still needs to create that video some how. The odds are pretty good that Adobe will be involved some where in the creative process.

Re:Wait... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379616)

Maybe I'm missing something but you really don't need Adobe to output Ogg Theora and H.264 video files.

Re:Wait... (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379706)

That's true. There are other video content creation tools out there. I was just making the point that Adobe owns a large portion of the market, along with Apple and their Final Cut software. There are a lot of "content creation professionals" out there who don't know anything more than Adobe products, and those people will continue to use those products no matter what HTML5 brings to the table.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379426)

lol bankrupt - not much chance of that. do you get out much?

flash is here to stay, like it or not. the fact it pisses off some of the bellends on this site just makes it all the sweeter! =)

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379968)

What you've heard is what amazon has told you. Nobody else is talking about how successful their ebook reader is. And the first gen kindle was ugly as malda's ass after a gang-bang.

Re:Wait... (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379202)

As a long-time Palm PDA + Sunrise + Plucker user, I'm really getting a chuckle out of all this attention e-books are getting lately :-P

But I guess it's all about content distribution and control from the publishers... not a game I've really even been fond of playing, especially when it comes to entertainment. If I have enough of that kind of free time on my hands, I can spend it looking for legitimate free entertainment (or producing my own), thank you.

yes but only idiots pay amazon and kindle prices (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379424)

i have downloaded 100000 novels and have about 100GB of ebooks in pdf form and guess what they had encryption schema on them some and NOW THEY DON'T
howd that happen
them mystical computer gremlins removed it
WOOT

Re:Wait... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379474)

There's an e-book market?

There is, though perhaps not where you live (U.S.?). I buy non-DRM'd books for $1-2 each, usually 1-2 each week (now going through the back catalog), and read them on my PRS-505.

To be fair... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379082)

Adobe just provides a platform; it's up to the producers to decide what protection (if any) to place on the documents.

Re:To be fair... (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379354)

Adobe just provides a platform; it's up to the producers to decide what protection (if any) to place on the documents.

If you're the TSA, then you decide that using an Adobe pdf editor to redact your documents is a good, secure idea. No one could ever figure out how to take off those redactions [88.80.16.63] (from wikileaks). Oops.

The only thing that TSA manual is missing is a good procedure for properly redacting a document.

Re:To be fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379790)

Like a good megamerican, you seem to have your facts completely wrong. Those redactions weren't done with the redaction tool in Acrobat (which is one way that they SHOULD have been done). Instead, they were most likely done by drawing a black box over the original text within Word (nearly as bad as trying to change the background color to match the text color in Word). But let's not little things like facts keep the "megamerican" from understanding what he's talking about or who he's pointing his finger at.

Re:To be fair... (0, Flamebait)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379928)

Adobe just provides a platform; it's up to the producers to decide what protection (if any) to place on the documents.

Sort of true. But if you get in bed with Adobe because it has the best software for rendering professionally produced documents, then decide that you want some form of DRM for those documents, you're sort of stuck. Adobe might say "we have this method of doing DRM," and maybe it isn't exactly what you had in mind, but the reality is it's their way or the highway; you don't really get a vote. So you go along with it.

Re: Wait (4, Informative)

someyob (1062238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379106)

There certainly won't be a market until the prices of the readers come down. $300? You gotta be crazy. Even at $50 they would in any case likely never entice me completely away from the real thing.

Re: Wait (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379136)

Or till there's a cross platform standard format. If I have the option of using an e-book on my cell phone, laptop, desktop, pda etc without having to purchase a half dozen different versions I'm all for it. But buying a file that only works on one device seems like a bad idea.

Re: Wait (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379304)

ePub. It works on all of the above, and all ebook readers except the Kindle. (And is the one they are talking about in the article.) It's an open format, with DRM extensions. (Adobe, here, is the main seller of DRM-encoding software for it.)

a cross platform standard format (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379434)

There is. Epub is open and is supported by everyone except Amazon.

Re:a cross platform standard format (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379532)

PDF is pretty well supported by nearly everyone too. Even Amazon supports it (albeit with a PC-based converter in their case)

Re:a cross platform standard format (2, Informative)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379630)

PDF isn't an ebook format. It's an e-paper format. It gets used for ebooks fairly often, but it's not very good at it.

Re:a cross platform standard format (1)

gander666 (723553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379904)

Agreed. PDF just doesn't cut it as a format for eReaders. My Sony can display them, but native Word docs are handled better...

Re: Wait (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379176)

$300 for a device that's easier on the eyes than an LCD screen, and can store 1500 books? I think that's a perfectly reasonable price for what you get.

Re: Wait (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379276)

$300 for a device that's easier on the eyes than an LCD screen, and can store 1500 books? I think that's a perfectly reasonable price for what you get.

I would agree with you, except you still have to purchase all 1,500 books. And they are not discounted to reflect the savings of no physical production, shipping, storefront, etc.

Re: Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379356)

yeah... "purchase"... rrriiiiiiiiggghhht

Re: Wait (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379366)

Unless you read any public domain or creative commons books. I've read well over 100 public domain books on my iLiad so far. If I'd bought them all as penguin classics then it would have cost me more. I've also read a few textbooks and a huge number of papers on it. The clutter reduction from not having printed copies of them all lying around the place.

Re: Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379400)

Dude. Shelves.

Re: Wait (1)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379510)

Also, there are a lot of books that publishers give away to build readership. Amazon's Kindle store shows about 60-65 non-classic books being offered for free.

Re: Wait (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379540)

I would agree with you, except you still have to purchase all 1,500 books.

There is a LOT of free stuff available, especially older material. Get thee to mobiread.com. Much of what's there is Gutenberg reformatted, but there's still a lot of stuff. When you tire of that, get thee to archive.org, which lists 1.8 MILLION texts online. A lot of them are PDF. The Sony 505 handles the b/w pdf ok. Chokes on color PDF.

For newer stuff, get thee to fictionwise.com. I just bought one book at what I would call a ridiculous price, but the full purchase price was rebated into a micropay account which I can use to pay for other stuff. The $20 I paid for "I Am America" is going to wind up paying for monthly copies of Analog magazine.

Some of what fictionwise sells is in "multi-format". Wazzat? You can download your purchase in any or all of a large number of formats, including PDF or LRF or even Palm. Analog, for example. I have copies of one month on my Sony 505 in PDF and LRF format, and the same issue on my Palm. The palm doesn't have the pretty pictures, but it has the text.

That doesn't even begin to cover the large number of sites that have free pdf versions of stuff.

I think I've bought about ten things for my 505, half of which are the latest issues of Analog. Two books. Sony gave away 100 free books with the 505. And I'm up to almost 900 "books" (a few books are broken into upto 20 chapters, each of which counts as a "book" in the main page display, so I'm not at a real 900, but probably 600 is a good estimate). A lot of those are manuals for radios and electronic stuff, but I can never say "I have nothing to read" if my 505 is close by (and it always is).

Re: Wait (1)

gander666 (723553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379914)

Cool. Another Analog reader. I toyed with the e-subscription on my reader, but I just prefer the pulp rag when I read it... Maybe next year...

Re: Wait (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379986)

Imagine how much money libraries of the future could save, by sending you your book electronically. They would save a fortune in shipping books around between libraries, storing them, etc. I know, they would always have books for historical reasons, but if I could log onto my libraries web site, and request a book, and then instantly get it online, that would make me use it much more. (my current library does the first 2, and emails me when my book is in, but I still have to drive 7 miles down to the library, during their business hours, which are getting scarcer and scarcer..

Re: Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379478)

A $300 for a device that's easier on the eyes than an LCD screen, and can store 1500 books?

You could build some pretty nice shelves with $300 worth of lumber...
But the portability might suffer.

Re: Wait (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379494)

And it's more like $250 now, really. The prices are going down, slowly but surely (it used to be $350 for then-new eInk readers ~2 years ago).

Re: Wait (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379708)

Actually, one of the Sony reader models is $199, though with a slightly smaller screen than the kindle or nook.

Re: Wait (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379650)

first, it's not easier on the eyes, or lighter than a $5 paperback. second, how many people need 1500 books on hand? the vast majority of people actually read (cover-cover) one single book at a time. if it's reference material you want, it's easier and more current to google for the info, and you can do that from your smartphone that you are carrying anyway and the information will be more up to date.

Re: Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379846)

first, it's not easier on the eyes, or lighter than a $5 paperback. second, how many people need 1500 books on hand? the vast majority of people actually read (cover-cover) one single book at a time. if it's reference material you want, it's easier and more current to google for the info, and you can do that from your smartphone that you are carrying anyway and the information will be more up to date.

Yeah, becaussmartphone service prices are such a GREAT deal.

Re: Wait (1)

gander666 (723553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379964)

I travel. A lot. I am gone, out of the country, in places where I can't get english language books. I used to hit the used book store before a 3 week trip, and buy 10-12 books to read and discard. Now I use my Sony e-Reader, and my luggage is MUCH lighter and more portable. And if I find that I am not enjoying a book, I don't feel that I wasted space and time lugging it on a trip. I can just move onto something more enjoyable. e-Readers have greatly improved my life, and I can't imaging living without mine...

Re: Wait (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379994)

$300 for a device that's easier on the eyes than an LCD screen, and can store 1500 books? I think that's a perfectly reasonable price for what you get.

Personally I wouldn't pay $300 for the current available models, they are (in my opinion) not good enough; but I have no doubt that a few years down the line the quality of the readers will be such that I would have no doubt paying $300 or more; maybe even a lot more. For now I am content waiting for the technology and services to improve to what I would consider an acceptable level. I still remember my first mp3 player, and my first mobile phone; large, chunky, heavy, low battery time, poor UI, and generally stone age tools compared to their current equivalent. But while my player and phone provided functions I felt a genuine need for, an e-reader would have to be fairly good to get me away from books on paper. But as I said, only a matter of time; and I whole heartily support companies creating new readers to compete with what is available to date.

My greatest concern so far is the restrictions and regulations hindering the development of a proper online service for buying, accessing, and sorting through the e-books you have purchased. Personally I would love to see something as user friendly as Steam for buying and downloading your books, or subscribing to regular releases like magazines or comics. But as far as I know the various distribution deals, not to mention various nations regulation, makes the creation of this type of service, particularly for the European market, a pain in the nutsack.

Re: Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379234)

There certainly won't be a market until the prices of automobiles come down. $20000? You gotta be crazy. Even at $3000 they would in any case likely never entice me completely away from horses.

Fixed that for you.

Re: Wait (1)

rocket97 (565016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379256)

There certainly won't be a market until the prices of the readers come down. $300? You gotta be crazy. Even at $50 they would in any case likely never entice me completely away from the real thing.

Think of it as the MP3 player of the book world. I am sure the same thing was said when the first MP3 players came out.

Re: Wait (1)

JonStewartMill (1463117) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379408)

Except I don't think we're going to see people transferring their existing library of paper books to ebook format. If the only way I could get MP3s was to buy them, even if I already own the same music on CD -- especially if I already own it -- I might still be dubbing cassettes to play on my Walkman.

Re: Wait (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379552)

No "they|we" didn't. We already had to purchase expensive equipment to play music with, since CDs and tapes didn't play themselves. With books all you have to pay for is well, the book.

Re: Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379672)

No "they|we" didn't. We already had to purchase expensive equipment to play music with, since CDs and tapes didn't play themselves. With books all you have to pay for is well, the book.

Where did s/he say "they|we"? S/He was just making a statement that is very true. And with your logic, I guess you still get the newspaper delivered to you rather than reading it on your computer. I mean after all you only have to buy the newspaper and not get that "expensive equipment" to read it.

Re: Wait (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379264)

Meh, $300 isn't bad considering you get free wireless web browsing with the unit. If someone made one in color with a GPS and offered that kind of data plan, I might actually consider ditching my mobile phone company's wap browsing service.

Re: Wait (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379298)

While I agree with you, I think you're confusing the terms "market" and "desire on your own personal part".

Amazon has, several times, run out of stock on the Kindle in its various incarnations. Barnes and Noble's Nook is currently on backorder until mid-January. Both of these facts point to a good market for e-book readers.

However, like you, I don't see enough benefit from them. Yes, the form factor would be nice, but spending $250-$300 for the right to repurchase my library in a new format and cut me off from my primary book supply (library sales and used book sales)? Uhhhhh... no. Just no.

That doesn't mean there isn't a market for them, just that you and I are not part of it until:

1. Prices come down.
2. They come up with some way to resell books and/or transfer licenses legally for "loaning" and resale.
3. I can buy books from multiple sources and have them all work on one reader.

Re: Wait (0)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379352)

When I can stick a reader in my back pocket, toss it on the table, leave it out on the deck overnight and have it get soaked in dew, I'll buy one.

Until then it's an expensive toy.

It stores more than a book, but it's expensive and fragile and big.

How about $90 (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30380050)

How about $90?

Yeh, it doesn't have the fancy screen, it's a bit like a late '90s PDA with a bigger screen, but I read ebooks on a late '90s PDA with a 160x160 display for several years.

Amazon sucks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379174)

I used to work there in Kindle tech support, fired without cause as part of a witch hunt on a security breach.
I dont care how well the Kindle is doing, I wouldn't use one again if they gave it for free.

Re:Amazon sucks... (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379378)

And what are you saying to convince us to do the same? That Amazon is overzealous about security? I think a lot of people will take this as a plus.

Re:Amazon sucks... (3, Interesting)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379444)

fired without cause as part of a witch hunt on a security breach.

Unfortunately, this sentence nullifies your credibility. This is what sociopaths say when they're fired for everything. This is what all my ex-con buddies say when they can't hold down a job for more than 6 months. It's what 16 year olds say when they get fired for doing 10 minutes of work in an hour, because they were too busy texting their friends about the movie on Friday. This is what unclever people say when they tried to pull something clever, got caught, and refused to believe that someone could see through the cleverness of their crappy plans.

I'm not saying that you fit into these categories, or that you did something wrong. Rather, I'm saying, you are simply using the same wording that they ALL use, which immediately triggers off "BULLSHIT" alarms in anyone over the age of 18 who doesn't use this line -- so don't bother with ever using it. Remove that line and your post carries much greater impact.

Adobe makes MS look lean mean and nimble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379184)

Adobe generally has the biggest, bloated software of all of them. And they have a phoney upgrade cycle that adds the least value added in the new feature dept compared to everyone. And the stuff they acquire either is aborted or turned to shit. Like dreamweaver and their purchase of that great company that made the kollection toolkits. Only to kill it off.

I feel like Amazon has been pretty cool, but even if they were Hitler incarnate, Adobe would be Stalin. I wouldn't feel any better with the new boss.

Re:Adobe makes MS look lean mean and nimble (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379476)

Adobe generally has the biggest, bloated software of all of them. And they have a phoney upgrade cycle that adds the least value added in the new feature dept compared to everyone.

You've clearly never used AutoCAD or dealt with AutoDesk. Adobe can't hold a candle to that racket.

Re:Adobe makes MS look lean mean and nimble (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379898)

This guy couldn't be more right. There is no software company in the world that could be compared to the nightmare that is Autodesk.

AutoDesk are the only company I know that consistently ignores the pleas of its paying customers and actively taunts them.

Back when I used 3DS Max at work, there was a list of bugs and niggles longer than my arm. The next version came out, and as usual everyone was forced to upgrade for fear of being incompatible. Not a single bug that annoyed us had been fixed, the only fix we knew they made was something we'd never come across. The new version was worse than the previous for many reasons.

They ignore your feature requests and add features you'll never need. If you say you're switching to another product, they'll buy it and ruin it.

When they bought Maya, it was like the end of the world for 3D animators. The forums flamed like I've never seen them flame before. People who'd jumped the 3DS Max ship to Maya were inconsolable. A good percentage of Maya & Max users are now waiting for blender to build up enough missing features so they can at least switch at home.

War of the useless DRM, eh? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379210)

DRM for text is silly.

  1. The analog hole is really large for text.
  2. There will always be a way to download the files from the net, assuming that the laws don't become insanely draconian.
  3. The small size of the files makes hiding them with steganography easy, and therefore makes prosecution harder.

I might believe it if we were talking about text with a lot of extra goodies like hyperlinks.

Adobe (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379222)

If Adobe manages to do as well of a job with this latest enterprise as they've done with Flash CS4, then Amazon should be handed the entire market on a platter. Flash CS4 is the single most painful, unresponsive program I've ever had the displeasure of using, and I'm shocked how the same engineers that can produce a program as high-quality as Photoshop can't manage to catch repetitive 10-20 second UI freezes in Flash during testing.

Re:Adobe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379322)

I suspect Adobe is not changing the codebase for their applications much at all. It would not surprise me to find that nearly all the code is some tangled mess from the distant past which they keep hacking at until it works. Photoshop started out good, so it remains so. Flash started out... not so good, and remains so.

Some of their application clearly need to be re-written from the ground up. Flash should be first on the list.

Re:Adobe (2, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379392)

I agree. The first change they need to make is to allow Flash to work reliably over a LAN. For software whose purpose is to create internet content, it seems a little ridiculous that their official policy is to not support any type of LAN use in any context.

If anyone has Flash installed and wants to see what I'm talking about, open up Flash and use it to create or open a FLA file on a network share. With the file open, remove access to the network share. Now marvel as it's not possible to save the file anywhere, even on local storage. Even if the connection to the share gets re-established. This is how Flash has always worked, at least since I started using Flash 4, and that behavior remains in CS4 (Flash 10).

You're probably right about the codebase, but I would be equally surprised if they've owned the Flash property for this long without rewriting it, considering the glaring problems.

Re:Adobe (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379530)

There are so many little bugs in Adobe's products that have remained since I first used them, I think it's pretty obvious the codebase is stagnant.

If they rewrote a significant part of Flash, I can't believe they'd leave it in its Macromedia-ish state. Its animating tools should feel like a blend of Illustrator and After Effects, not the very strange mix of vector and bitmap behaviour it has now.

Re:Adobe (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379560)

"With the file open, remove access to the network share."

I know of very few programs that don't misbehave when you yank out a whole filesystem from underneath them.

Re:Adobe (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30380028)

Sure, but do you know of any other program that will not let you save an open file to local storage if that file was opened from a network share that no longer exists? We used to have DHCP leases expiring at some point in the middle of the day, so all the Flash developers would start screaming when their IP got renewed. No one else really had much of a problem when that happened, only the Flash guys. Even the most basic text editor I've got will let me save an open file anywhere I want, regardless of how I opened it or whether or not the original file or filesystem exists anymore.

Re:Adobe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379462)

Flash CS4 is the single most painful, unresponsive program I've ever had the displeasure of using

Flash movies are the single most painful, unresponsive programs I've ever had the displeasure of using and whoever creates them deserves to be punished.

I am sure Amazon is happy being compared to Apple (0)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379244)

Umm. Classy, reliable hardware, great user interface and security in exchange for somewhat higher prices. Or cheap devices, crafty software and "interoperability" like Microsoft's PlayForSure? I am sure Amazon would love to be compared to Apple and have Sony/B&N be compared to Dell and Microsoft. I don't think Kindle is up to the sniff yet though. Decent device, still not enough screen contrast and no backlight for occasional night reading, too easy to do unintended things with the buttons.

Got to Side with Amazon on this one (3, Insightful)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379330)

So Amazon thinks through a problem and designs an elegant solution, takes care of the software, hardware, and marketing.

Adobe just wants to inject their proprietary technology into a process and sit back and enjoy the royalties.

Screw Adobe. They don't even do any coding here in the US anymore.

Re:Got to Side with Amazon on this one (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379538)

So Amazon thinks through a problem and designs an elegant solution, takes care of the software, hardware, and marketing ...

... and vendor lock-in. Not really any different from Adobe's proprietary DRM.

That said, I would still pick Adobe in this fight, since their win means that I can buy a (DRM'd) ebook from any of a large list of online stores, use it on a large list of readers from different manufacturers, and switch from reader to reader and from store to store as I see fit. With Amazon, I'm locked into their store and their product line.

Being like Apple? Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379358)

Apple being "secretive and playing badly with others" is the main reason we have a mostly DRM-free music market these days.
We can only hope that Amazon will be so helpfully and successfully obstinate.

Re:Being like Apple? Good. (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379428)

Apple being "secretive and playing badly with others" is the main reason we have a mostly DRM-free music market these days. We can only hope that Amazon will be so helpfully and successfully obstinate.

Amazon's mp3 store really did the trick in moving the whole market (read: Apple) to DRM-free music.

Re:Being like Apple? Good. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379712)

It's only been a few years and people are already quoting incorrect information about this...

You think Amazon just decided unilaterally to sell non-DRM'ed music? You think Apple wanted DRM'ed music?

1. Apple asked the record companies to remove DRM. The companies refused.

2. The record companies were getting more and more afraid of Apple's hold on the market. That's why they gave Amazon the authorization to sell non-DRM'ed MP3 files (not to mention compatibility problems with the huge installed base of portable players if they had insisted on such a thing for MP3). The record companies wanted to break Apple's hold on the music download market by allowing Amazon to sell "better files".

3. After seeing that, Apple demanded to remove DRM from the music files too, but also asked to sell higher bitrates in the process, that's why it's now 256kbits AAC instead of 128kbps AAC.

4. All the iPods suddenly had half the storage space, tune-count wise. The iTunes files went back to being the superior files (MP3@128kbps vs AAC@256kbps). More profits for Apple for still having the best music files to sell and selling bigger iPods to customers.

Re:Being like Apple? Good. (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379826)

True, but people do forget that Apple wedged the door open: Theirs was the first non-uber-draconian DRM. (And could be broken, with Apple's own default install, right at launch.) At the time, it was a major step forward, and something only Apple could have pulled off.

Once they showed that the piracy boogyman wasn't as bad as was feared, and started showing exactly how much power even that little bit of DRM got Apple, then the music companies were willing to talk to others like Amazon about going without.

Re:Being like Apple? Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30379470)

Apple being "secretive and playing badly with others" is the main reason we have a mostly DRM-free music market these days.

So, Napster, bittorrent, and that ancient protocol that shall not be named, had nothing to do with it? Quite frankly, you are being ridiculous.

Poor Adobe... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379368)

No-one will ever let them play in the same playground. Maybe it has something to do with their j2ee'esq server apps (anyone who has ever configured them knows what I'm talking about) or the fact that their server software is REALLY expensive compared to what Amazon already rolled.

Re:Poor Adobe... (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379420)

I've used several of their video server apps, and besides trying to figure out which ones you need to accomplish a task (good luck), they are a mess to install and configure.

Other than Coldfusion, which works great, installs easy, runs in j2ee, but is treated as a "not developed here" solution.

How so ? (2, Interesting)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379388)

The story title reads: "Adobe Takes On Microsoft Role In E-book Market" yet the only reference I found on Microsoft, on both linked articles, is this:

Though Adobe may balk at the comparison, its role in the e-book market is similar to Microsoft's in the PC market: a builder of a semi-open ecosystem of partners to whom it sells publishing tools.

So, what does Microsoft have to do with both articles really ?

Re:How so ? (1)

babblefrog (1013127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379576)

Badly worded. It means that Adobe's role in the e-book space is similar to Microsoft's role in the PC space.

Adobe vs Apple (2, Interesting)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379390)

Adobe paints Amazon as being like Apple: secretive and playing badly with others.

Oh yeah, because Adobe Flash sure plays nice on Mac OS X. /sarcasm

Drm feh (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379404)

What's wrong with postscript? It was made to deal with text...

Re:Drm feh (2, Informative)

krmt (91422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379502)

Postscript (and by extension, PDF) doesn't reflow at all, which makes it a pain to use for different sized small screens like ebook readers.

Re:Drm feh (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30380058)

I could adjust the page size in a latex file and then run pdflatex. Aside from the difficulty of editing pdfs, is it easy to change the page size?

Re:Drm feh (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379550)

What's wrong with postscript? It was made to deal with text...

It was made to deal with preformatted and layed out text. It's not reflowable.

Its about the content, and the price (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379562)

Have you seen the prices for Sony Reader books? My wife wants a reader for Christmas, so she looked up some of the books she bought over the last year, and the ones she plans to buy in the next months or so. Amazon came in at about 2/3 the cost of Sony, and B&N doesn't have an ereader store (or an ereader that will ship before the biggest consumer day in the western world - nice job, guys). Since the readers are comparable in price and features, the Kindle - for all its flaws - wins out for someone who just wants to buy and read books.

Adobe better figure out a way to make the books on their platform, and the platform itself, cheaper. A lot cheaper. Otherwise they're going to be paired with also-rans to the market/mindshare leader, which is Kindle. Yeah, I'd say Apple is the right comparison. What's worse (for adobe) is that there really are no mainstream competitors for the iPod in the end-to-end usability pile. That's hard for me to say, since I'm not a fan of iPods, but it is still the truth.

Re:Its about the content, and the price (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379784)

Amazon came in at about 2/3 the cost of Sony, and B&N doesn't have an ereader store

They have an ereader app available for several platforms (including iPhone) and a ereader store, even though their dedicated ereader device is not yet shipping.

Re:Its about the content, and the price (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30379788)

or at least until the rumored Apple Tablet debuts (if ever, I'm still not holding my breath). Some say they are trying to turn it into an e-reader style tablet for publishers. My take is if I want a versatile ebook reader, I'll just buy a netbook for the same price as a kindle. Up yours Adobe and Amazon!
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