Thoughts on software and life.

Wednesday November 8

Adobe donates to Mozilla... Why?

I'm thrilled over the news that Adobe is open-sourcing its high-performance JavaScript VM and donating it to Mozilla. Still, I'm scratching my head a bit. What's in it for Adobe?

For many developers, the choice between Flash or HTML+Ajax is an either-or decision. By improving the performance of JavaScript in Firefox, they're giving us more reason to choose Ajax instead of Flash. That leaves me no choice but to assume that this is an anti-Microsoft strategy for Adobe.

Microsoft clearly intends to position its up-and-coming Windows Presentation Framework (WPF) as a replacement for both HTML and Flash. Not only would WPF take over inside the browser, but Microsoft is developing WPF tools for graphic designers (such as Expression and Sparkle) which would compete with many of Adobe's creative tools like GoLive, Illustrator, and even Photoshop.

Clearly, Adobe would prefer a future in which Flash and HTML+Ajax compete than one in which Microsoft nukes their entire business. If that's the case, I'd love to see Adobe donate some of its graphics brainpower to Mozilla as well, or WPF's special effects are going to make Firefox-rendered pages look pre-historic in a couple years.

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