Cringely on AIR

Robert X Cringely has written a nice piece on Adobe’s platform technologies: Flash, PDF, Flex, and AIR (formerly Apollo). I think this discussion of the value of invisibility at the beginning of the articule is particularly apt:

Al Mandel, who helped market the original LaserWriter at Apple and later had several high-level positions at AOL, used to say, “The step after ubiquity is invisibility,” by which he meant that once a technology had reached the point where everyone had it, then people simply forgot about it and from then on assumed it would be there. Invisibility is a good thing because it means there will always be a market for your product. Invisibility is a high-tech annuity. There are very few technologies, however, that make it all the way to invisibility and most of those when it comes to PCs are hardware technologies — DRAM, disk drives, Ethernet, MAYBE x86 processors. It is much more rare for software to become invisible. Microsoft Windows still hasn’t made it, though html and zip encoding have. In terms of software applications, I can think of only two that have reached the point of ubiquity and hence invisibility — Flash and PDF, both of which come from the same company, Adobe Systems, the promised subject of this week’s column. Being the owner of two invisible technologies makes Adobe more powerful than most of us can even imagine.

That said, I don’t think that “taking from Microsoft the market leadership in software” is the goal here. We are trying to build a successful developer platform, yes, but you don’t do that by looking through your rear view mirror. You do it by building a compelling solution to the problems developers are facing today.

And of course, if you’ve got the chops and you’d like to play a part in building such a platform, you should come talk to us about a job. According to Cringely’s survey, 80% of his audience agrees Adobe’s got better tech than Microsoft. 🙂

~ by Andrew Shebanow on 29Jun07.

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