Letter to Adobe: Kill the Apps

Cloud Computing for Creatives

I have followed Adobe since its beginning back in the early 1980s. The little company John Warnock and Chuck Geschke built from a tiny rented office near 101 in Mountain View almost 30 years ago has grown into a world leader valued at over $23 billion. Adobe’s culture embraces innovation, partnerships, support of standards, quality of life for employees, green initiatives, and corporate responsibility.

Creative Cloud Today

Adobe’s Creative Cloud has been a huge success. It’s a service that puts all Adobe’s products online, ready for immediate download and install to any computer you’re using; it includes web-based fonts, an online community, and a suite of new tools that help designers create and publish to different platforms. For $50 per month, you can download any app any time, and you get $20 gb storage to store your files, essentially replacing Dropbox. It’s a step up from sending out DVDs or charging for each program separately.

Cloud Computing, Defined

Many companies have put their traditional desktop apps on a set of servers connected to the Internet and called it cloud computing. But naming it cloud computing and adding cloudlike logos doesn’t make it cloud computing.

A New Adobe Platform

The Creative Cloud isn’t cloud computing, but I’m sure there are a handful of people at Adobe thinking about how to go from here to there. My goal in this section is to give people in all companies, and Adobe in particular, a vision that may help steer toward building a 21st century work model.

Adobe Anywhere

This past July, Adobe announced Adobe Anywhere, a new service aimed at managing enterprise video assets. The service lets you upload video once and share across many of Adobe’s apps, maintaining the integrity of the original footage and even doing the heavy rendering on the cloud. Think of it as DropBox for video, done right. Both these attributes — elasticity and single-source data — make Adobe Anywhere a true cloud platform. It’s only available for large companies, and it’s just a small part of the eventual work-flow platform I hope to see, but it’s a great start.

Accelerate the Revolution

The CoLab approach requires new namespaces, new kinds of searchability, new standards, new architectures, new programming languages, interaction models, and an active market of participants — all built around the always-on web. It will require a combination of proprietary technology and open standards like HTML 5. Anywhere is a small but positive step in the right direction, and there is much more to go. I’ve written all about this future in my book, Pull, and on my web site, ThePowerOfPull.com. There, you’ll find an 8-minute movie describing the personal data locker, which takes this concept several steps further.

Provocateur, professional heretic, slayer of myths, speaker of truthiness to powerfulness, and defender of the Oxford comma.

Provocateur, professional heretic, slayer of myths, speaker of truthiness to powerfulness, and defender of the Oxford comma.