Adobe admits it's worried about iPhone, iPad

For the first time, Adobe admits to investors that if it can't find a way around its Flash issue with Apple, its business could be damaged.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Adobe might be putting a brave face on for its battle against Apple, but the company quietly admitted in its latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that if Apple continues to block Flash from both the iPhone and iPad, it could be facing some trouble.

"To the extent new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed," the company wrote in its Risk Factors section of the 10-Q filing. Bloomberg first reported news of the filing.

It should be noted that Risk Factors don't necessarily mean that Adobe's business is being hurt by any potential issue. The Risk Factors section of an SEC filing is meant to inform investors that there are certain market conditions that, depending on the outcome, could have a negative effect on a company's bottom line. Sometimes those risk factors are extremely specific and likely to happen, while other times, they can be very broad and unlikely to occur.

But Adobe's decision to add the iPhone and iPad to its risk factors is awfully telling. Steve Jobs has made it clear that his company is waging a war against Flash. And as Adobe points out, the more ubiquitous the iPhone and iPad become, the greater the chance that Flash will lose some of its market share online. That, it seems, is what's making Adobe run a little scared.

In a blog post written in January after Apple announced the iPad, Adobe made it clear that it wasn't happy that Apple had left Flash out of its tablet equation. Adobe group manager Adrian Ludwig said at the time that "there's something important missing from Apple's approach to connecting consumers to content" on the iPad.

"It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers," Ludwig wrote at the time.

Of course, Apple doesn't agree. During a question-and-answer session following the announcement of iPhone OS 4.0, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was asked if the software would support Flash. His answer was succinct and telling of his company's relationship with Adobe.

"Uh, no."

Further reading: Did Apple just exile Adobe from iPhone OS 4.0?