Adobe throws a wobbler

How secret is a secret mailing list when those who make an objection get outed. I’m sure that’s not supposed to happen. This is not to say that we should pity Adobe. Far from it. They allegedly sabotaged the W3C Canvas API draft out of self interest. They may have shot themselves in the foot.

How serious is this? Well, Adobe wouldn’t block progress of browser based technology if they felt it posed a direct conflict or that they were unable to steer the group as to prevent them from conflicting with their interests. Ultimately I don’t think it will have much impact, other than strengthening the CANVAS implementers resolve.

I can imagine Adobe may feel backed in to a corner. They don’t make a browser but they just make software tools that create content for these browsers. Their main cash cow is, Flash and this is merely a plug-in for browsers. In effect they don’t control the platform. The VIDEO and CANVAS tags potentially compete well with Flash and it seems Adobe is having a bit of asthma attack.
Petulant companies aside, the real problem is getting the technology on all major browsers. That hasn’t happened and so CANVAS will remain a proprietary like technology that can’t get a gig on the open web. The iPhone and iPad do use CANVAS and Apple is likely hoping this is the wedge that will force adoption. Well, let’s not hold our breath shall we?

I actually suspect that Adobe has gone digging in their archives and come up with some patent conflict between CANVAS and Flash. That would allow them to make this move without getting to much egg on their face. If this is the case then a patent problem could kill off CANVAS for the web in general. It would be forced into proprietary oblivion. Just tell Mozilla about the patents and they would drop the API like a hot potato. That’s if their piety about video codecs is anything to go by. Apple on the other hand won’t even blink, they’ve got their own little ecosystem going. Google won’t really care and Microsoft may see and opening here and push for SVG. If anything SVG+HTML5 could pose a bigger problem for Adobe than anything else.

Update: Looks like sanity has returned and that it’s all been a storm in a tea cup. I also agree with the view on Ajaxian that Adobe is in fantastic position if indeed HTML5 and CANVAS takes off. Not holding my breath that CANVAS will go anywhere outside the Apple vertical.

Next entry: IE9. Get ready, it’s going to be huge.
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