Google and Adobe build alliance over Apple's snubbing

May 20, 2010: 7:41 PM ET

Throughout the last two days of Google I/O, just about every product and service that Google announced was a partnership with Adobe and another shot over Apple's bow.

Yesterday, Google announced its intentions with HTML5 and took a dig at Apple's later adoption of the HTML5 spec: "I think it was a late night Steve Jobs email or something," mused Google's Vic Gundotra. Adobe followed with a Dreamweaver and Flash export to HTML5 tools demonstration.

Google announced a new video format called VP8. Adobe announced support for it. (Apple, of course, is behind H.264.)

Google Mobile ads can use Flash for rich media. iAds was introduced by Apple to do the same on iPhoneOS.

Chrome Web Store comes with Adobe Flash DRM support. Direct jab at Apple's proprietary, curated App Store.

Today, there was non-stop Apple bashing with Android platform numbers weighed against Apple's iPhone sales. The big announcement? Google Android with Flash. (The iPad and iPhone lack it.) Google TV?  Flash-capable.  (AppleTV? Not-so-much.) You get the picture.

So is the Google Adobe relationship a result of the "enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend" syndrome, or is this just a case of two companies having a lot of synergies?

Both. However I think this bold relationship is going to be a short-term alliance based on a mutual opposition to Apple and a mutual need to differentiate in the short term. Here's why:

Google is interested in a free and open web based on open standards. They proved that with their HTML5 demos. Adobe builds HTML5 tools, but they really want to push their Air and Flash platforms, which give Adobe an advantage over other media creation tools.

Adobe can't make money on unwrapped VP8 which Google, Mozilla and Opera are pushing for the future of free web video.  But at the moment, Flash is the best way to get immersive, interactive video content on the web. As HTML5 video tools grow more robust however, Adobe's Flash and Air become more expendable.

Me? I give the relationship two years before things start falling apart.

Updated: Adobe-VP8 clarifications

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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