Steve Jobs: Adobe CEO pays tribute to Apple’s co-founder


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Adobe, another Apple rival and former ally, has offered up a small tribute after those from Bill Gates, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Google.

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe’s president and CEO, wrote a post on his company’s blog calling Jobs ‘a unique visionary’ and stating that ‘his influence as a technology innovator will be sorely missed.’


‘This is a sad day for the entire industry, and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family,’ Narayen said.

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

The Adobe chief also shared a statement from its co-founders and co-chairmen, John Warnock and Chuck Geschke:

We met Steve Jobs about 3 months after we started Adobe. He called us and said: ‘I hear you guys are doing great things – can we meet?’ He came over to our tiny office in Mountain View and saw the early stages of PostScript. He got the concept immediately and we started about 5 months of negotiations over our first contract. Apple invested $2.5 million into Adobe and gave us an advance on royalties. This allowed us to help Apple build the first LaserWriter. Without Steve’s vision and incredible willingness to take risk, Adobe would not be what it is today. We owe an enormous debt to Steve and his vision. We have always had great admiration and respect for Steve. The world is a better place because of him, and his absence will leave a huge hole in the world of technology. We will miss him greatly.

The reaction to Steve Jobs’ death has been one more akin to the passing of a rock star or leading Hollywood actor than a corporate CEO. But while Jobs was a businessman known to dump products, features and technologies earlier than his competitors, often to the chagrin of collaborating companies, his influence in the tech industry was so massive that even those who have competed with him are eulogizing him.

Adobe and Apple’s most well-known spat is their disagreement over Flash, its future and its banishment from the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Apple’s rejection of Flash, which is used to add interactive elements to websites and play-back video, has led to Adobe’s introduction of products that allow developers to take what they’ve made in Flash and convert those items into i-device-compatible formats, such as Adobe Edge and Adobe Wallaby, which can be used to convert files into HTML5.


The highpoint of Apple and Adobe’s riff over Flash came with a blunt letter Jobs posted on Apple’s website called ‘Thoughts on Flash.’

In the April 2010 letter, Jobs criticized Flash and Adobe’s unwillingness to dump the technology, writing that ‘Flash was created during the PC era -- for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards -- all areas where Flash falls short.’

Still widely used today, Jobs said then that ‘Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 250,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.’

Jobs predicted in the letter that HTML5 would win out as the preferred standard technology to replace Flash on mobile devices and PCs, ending the note by writing: ‘Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.’

Adobe Edge and Wallaby haven’t yet been officially released, but are available to the public as a preview version of the software.



Full coverage: Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

Timeline: The life and work of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs’ family building memorial website

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles