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Adobe site dings Apples

Adobe Systems says it's not trying to get customers to dump their Macs, despite a new Web page that shows its video-editing software runs faster on PCs.

An Adobe Systems executive denied that the company is advocating Windows PCs over Apple's Macintosh, despite a new page on Adobe's Web site that claims PCs run Adobe software faster.

Posted earlier this week, the page on Adobe's site points out test results published last year in Digital Producer, a magazine for video editors. The tests compare the performance of comparable high-end PC and Mac products--a Dell PC with a 3.06GHz Pentium processor versus a Mac G4 with dual 1.25GHz processors--on three Adobe applications.

The magazine found that the Dell PC rendered images significantly faster in each of the applications--Adobe's After Effects video-editing software, its Illustrator publishing program and its Photoshop image-editing software.

David Trescot, senior director of Adobe's digital video group, said the test results were published for the benefit of Adobe customers already using PCs.

"We get a lot of requests for performance data on the video side," Trescot said. "We thought we would post some of that information. It's not really about advocating one platform over another; it's about if you prefer a PC, here's information that might help you."

Apple Computer released a statement saying that the test results reported don't tell the whole story. "Apple stands by our claims that our latest Power Mac systems perform equal to or better than competing PC systems," an Apple representative said in the statement.

"The reported tests on Adobe's Web site showing slower performance of After Effects on a Mac than a PC is more an application test than a platform test...Other applications, such as Apple's Final Cut Express, run some of those same tests on a Mac faster than the results for After Effects on either a Mac or a PC. Apple and Adobe remain extremely close partners and have been working together to improve the performance of After Effects on the Mac," according to the statement.

Graphics professionals represent one of Apple's key customer segments, and Adobe products, such as Photoshop, are standard applications for many of those users. Yet Apple's relationship with Adobe has been clouded by questions in recent years, as Apple releases applications such as its Final Cut video-editing software that compete directly with Adobe products.

Adobe has skipped recent Macworld events and was slow in converting some applications to work with Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

OS X support has given Adobe a competitive edge in some markets, however, and the OS X version of Adobe's biggest franchise, Photoshop, appeared at the same time as the new Windows version.

According to Adobe's most recent quarterly report, Mac users account for 28 percent of the company's business, with Windows users accounting for the rest.

Trescot said Adobe's Apple support is as strong as ever. "Certainly we're very committed to the Mac," he said. "We've delivered more products than anybody for OS X."

Brooks Gray, an analyst for Technology Business Research, said Apple risks alienating software partners when it develops competing applications but added that that's a risk the company needs to take.

"I'm not viewing Apple's moves in a negative light at all," Gray said. "It could alienate Adobe enthusiasts, but I think in the long term, Apple management knows what it needs to do to build a solid application platform...When I look at Apple, I do believe that their own development of software has given them a rock-solid platform in terms of the reliability and functionality of their operating system."