Mac Scope

Treading the Line: Are Apple's Applications Helping or Hurting?

Stephen Van Esch - 2003.07.09

The sky is falling! Wonderfully negative reports regarding Adobe's decision to make the latest version of Premiere a Windows-only application might make people think that Apple is going the way of the dodo (for the umpteenth time).

To be absolutely fair, the article in Cnet, Adobe Pares Mac Support, was less sensational than the one pointed out by Mac Daily News ("Adobe latest to abandon software versions for the Mac"). Check out the Mac Daily News piece for the scoop on that one.

There are two possible reasons why Adobe isn't going to offer Mac versions of Encore and Premiere. One is, as the articles hint, that it's just not cost-effective to produce the software for the Mac. The other is that Apple's products are simply better, and Adobe can no longer compete against them.

While I could be a hopeless romantic and say that Apple's products are so superior that people are migrating to them in droves, it's more likely that the pie is simply too small for everyone to get a piece.

To be honest, I'd be more concerned about this if Premiere was the only top-end video application available for the Mac. It isn't. Users have alternatives.

Now there's no doubt that there are people out there who are aghast at the thought of losing Premiere, and they have three options. One is to move to another video editing application. The second is to move to Windows. Neither proposition is cheap, but I'd hazard to guess that Mac users will likely stay with the Mac rather than tossing out their hardware and software and starting from scratch.

The third option is to stick with the current version of Premiere.

In any event, shouldn't this be considered a good thing in some ways? Every cloud has a silver lining after all. Usually, when a major competitor steps out of the building, things improve for those who remain. People seem to like Microsoft's monopoly for some reason, after all.

While Adobe is a large enough company to pursue its profits elsewhere, I'm a little less benign about Apple's foray into software when it's the little guy who gets hit. Karelia software is a good example of this. Their Watson application was clobbered when Apple introduced Sherlock 3.

This type of cloning hurts the little guy who isn't as capable of weathering storms as large companies are. For example, many people are speculating that Keynote is only the first application in Apple's long-term bid to produce an alternative to Microsoft Office. Where will that leave apps like Mariner Write?

Just last week Casady & Greene closed their doors after 19 years in the Mac market. SoundJam, their MP3 player, was axed when the developer created iTunes for Apple. Conflict Catcher is only useful with the classic Mac OS. Spell Catcher X has to compete with OS X's built in spell checking facilities.

While some people will look upon Adobe's exit from the Mac video editing market as a serious problem, Adobe is simply making a business decision. This decision will likely have few serious repercussions on the Mac market.

Now, if they pulled Photoshop, that would be something to worry about.

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Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.

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