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The Stream of Changes Continue: Adobe Donates Flex to Apache

3 minute read
Josette Rigsby avatar

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Let’s hope they have an excellent change management team atAdobe. This month they have slashed750 full-time positions, killed the mobile version of Adobe Flash Player,acquired an Internet video advertising company and changedstrategic direction to focus on digital media and marketing, and it’s justthe middle of the month. Now, they’ve decided to donate the Adobe Flex SoftwareDevelopment Kit (SDK) and BlazeDS to the Apache Software Foundation.

Flash, Flex and Firing

Adobe’s announcement of their plans to donate:

  • Flex SDK -- a framework used to create Flashapplications
  • BlazeDS, -- acomponent used to push data in real-time to Flex and AIR applications
  • Several more minor development components likeFalcon, an ActionScript and MXML compiler

to Apache is the latest in a stringof major announcements this November.

Earlier in the month, the company announcedit was eliminating 750full-time positions primarily in North America andEurope as part ofits efforts to better focus on Digital Media and Marketing.Adobe’sPresident and CEO, Shantanu Narayen stated,

Our mission is to produce theworld's content and maximize theimpact of that content. Adobe is doubling downin the Digital Media andDigital Marketing categories, markets rich withopportunities forinnovation and growth.”

This isn’t just a Wall Street focused sound bite. It’s acompletechange in corporate direction, which will drive many technology changes. Adobe has made it clear it believes HTML5is the future. Although the company also indicated that Flex currently has clear benefits, themessage is clear -- this is the beginning of an orchestrated exit strategy.

Learning Opportunities

Adobe is trying to comfort the masses who currently useFlex. Theyselected the well-established and respected Apache Foundation to receive Flex. Adobe will continue to support the Flash Builder developmenttool.They are pointing out that Flex has actually been open source since2007.

Flash isn’t dead, but given Microsoft’s similar tiptoeing away fromSilverlight, it is clear that the boys think HTML5 willultimately be the browserdevelopment strategy of choice. Even if anopen Flex ecosystem forms, companieswith heavy investments in Flashare wondering who will provide professionalsupport in the long term.Commercial support firms may emerge as they havefor other opensource projects, but they may not since the sun may be settingon Flexand eventually Flash. Hey, didn’t that guy named Steve mention this once or twice?

Peering Into the Crystal Ball

If you are wondering what the hell is Adobe doing, you aren’t alone. Statements tied to financials indicate that this is the beginningofAdobe’s transition to a more modern media company with productsthat are moreprofitable than a flash player that must be customizedfor every mobile device.Adobe should be very, very careful. It mayhave a high tolerance for rapidchange, but many of its customers donot. I’m sure the market will show usshortly if it has the stomach toabsorb Adobe’s fast moves.