The letter, which was published on the Adobe website as well as in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, details the views of Adobe co-founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock on open markets.
“The genius of the Internet is its almost infinite openness to innovation,” they wrote. “Freedom of choice on the web has unleashed an explosion of content and transformed how we work, learn, communicate, and, ultimately, express ourselves.”
They said that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs. More importantly they highlighted that no single company, no matter how powerful, should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.
They said that open markets drive innovation, something that can clearly be seen on the open source Android platform, which has recently been growing in leaps and bounds. They added that if companies nurture closed systems and put content and applications behind walls it will benefit some at the expense of many, and at the expense of creativity and progress.
They made clear that Adobe’s publication of the specifications of PostScript, PDF, and Flash allows anyone to make use of the code to make their own software that does the same thing. It allows anyone with a great idea to have a chance at making a business in the open market. It gives people options, even if they decide to stick with a favourite or familiar brand.
They said Apple, however, has taken the “opposite approach” and has “taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web”.
They signed off with a thought-raising question that Apple will find very stinging indeed: “Who controls the World Wide Web? And we believe the answer is: nobody — and everybody, but certainly not a single company.”
Steve Jobs might have thought he was being clever publishing his anti-Flash letter last month, but Adobe has done a much better job at getting the point across that Apple is trying to control the industry, closing doors instead of opening them, or only opening them when it knows it will be the sole beneficiary.
It’s hard not to agree with pretty much everything Geschke and Warnock have written in this somewhat philosophical letter. The internet and technology as a whole have grown through openess. Some of its best advances have been completely open source. To close everything off is to cripple technology and the progress we have made and can make in the future.
That is not a good world to be in.