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Adobe shocks Apple, stops Premier & others development for Mac OS
News & Editorial Comment
By Keith Benicek, Managing Editor
July 7th, 2003

Adobe shocked the Macintosh world Monday by releasing a completely new Premier Pro application, and there will be no Mac OS version. This all-new version of Premier Pro was specifically designed for Microsoft’s Windows XP Pro OS and it marks an end to the long time support for this leading application for Macintosh. Premier has been immensely popular with Mac users and it still maintains a huge professional user following. I cut my video editing teeth on Premier on a Mac too years ago to even remember.

Adobe also added a new application for audio-editing called Audition, which was acquired from Syntrillium as Cool Edit Pro. It will also be Windows only, as well as the bundled package called Adobe Video Collection which includes Premier Pro, Audition, After Effects and Encore DVD authoring application.

Not completely left out, Adobe’s application for producing visual effects to video, After Effects will be updated for both Windows and Mac OS. But how long will Adobe keep After Effects support for Mac if Premier is gone? Long awaited, After Effects get a healthy dose of OpenGL support for video-programming, which allows video cards to do much of the hard work in processing visual effects 3D animation. This is crucial for today’s heavily 3D animated video production in TV and movies.

With the reported new features in Premier Pro, After Effects and Audition, Adobe is taking a big swipe at not only Final Cut Pro, but also the very serious high dollar markets of Broadcasters, Commercial Video producers and Moviemakers. This is a very good move for as much as we long time users of Premier on either Window or Macs, Premier 6.5 was getting a little stale compared to the competition. This should a few more ounces to those market share boxing gloves for Adobe.

Premiere Pro full version will retail at $699, those upgrading from Premiere LE will pay$399, and $199 for those upgrading from a previous version of Premiere. After Effects v 6.0 Pro will retail at $999 and After Effects v 6.0 Standard at $699. Upgrading is to range from $199 to $499. Audition full version retails at $299 and $99 for upgrades from a previous version of Cool Edit Pro. The new video products should available in late summer 2003.

If your spending your bosses money, you can pop for Adobe Video Collection Standard at $999, a bundle that includes Premier Pro, After Effects SE, Encore and Audition, or if you have a corporate budget like at CBS you can go Professional Bundle at $1,499, which adds Photoshop After Effects Pro.

But, what’s this mean for the Mac?
I’m afraid this means nothing good for the Apple corps. A number industry analysts, such as IDC feel that Apple is playing a “tricky” game of balancing their own incursion into its own software application development and still be able to encourage the third party app developers,

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especially the crucial big boys like Adobe and Microsoft. Whatever Apple’s reasons are, they are obviously driving once friendly developers away.

Avi Greengart, analyst at Jupiter Research said, “Apple is pursuing a strategy that locks out their third-party software vendors”, intentionally or not.

Microsoft dropped all further development and support of Internet Explorer, the clearly number one Internet Browser, for all versions of Mac OS. Apple’s new Open Source browser Safari is nice, but it’s still has a long way to go and there is great hole in being able to support all web pages, E-commerce and the ever popular MS dot NET secured sites.

Adobe cited “financial reasons” for dropping the Mac version of Premier and not developing Audition for the platform. "We were rewriting Premiere from scratch, and it would have taken a lot of work to have cross-platform support," said David Trescot, Adobe’s Digital Video Products Group Sr. Director in one interview with CNET. "If Apple's already doing an application, it makes the market for a third-party developer that much smaller," Trescot said. "I think you're going to find that more and more if Apple's in a software market, third-party vendors are going to skip it."

What was Apple response? Much like their arrogant response to MS pulling Explorer, Apple’s statement dismissively torte "With the announcement of the new Power Mac G5 and the innovations in Final Cut Pro 4, there has never been a better time for Premiere customers to make the switch."

Meanwhile, if you looked at the BBS posting from rabid Mac users on sites like Mac Central, they laugh at the situation as “no big deal”. One more rational Mac user posted that these “Apple corps Kool-Aid drinkers” . . . should think a bit more about what will happen when only Apple is providing the professional application tools that supports their now thin subsistence. Yes you better think about it, because it wasn’t too long ago that Apple’s dedicated developers dwindled to a mere handful and the platform nearly died again!

Between the lines folks,
As many market analysts are saying, Apple is pushing out long time developers, as it seeks to totally monopolize control of it’s own platform with it’s own competing applications. Apple claims that their own applications close integration with the OS will provide Mac users with a better “User Experience”. Remember, Apple has a huge advantage of knowing what the all too ever changing Mac OS X will require, long before they tell the developers of applications, especially competing one. Does this sound familiar? This is exactly what Microsoft was found guilty of in their monopoly case.

Adobe is completely right in their decision and I’m sure that they are also looking at the shrinking Apple market share, which is now below 2.6% total market share. While the whole computer market is growing at a rapid pass, Windows and Linux systems sales are growing faster that Mac sales are, which means a net market share loss. Why support a niche platform, especially one with your biggest competitor?

It won’t be smooth sailing for Adobe in the Windows market with powerhouse AVID, now with a more budget priced version called AVID Express. But the market is far bigger and there is much more opportunity to make money even with strong competition.

Better watch out how you feather your bed, Apple; as Roger Kay analyst for IDC said to CNET News "Older users that have been loyal to particular Mac applications have to think about what it is that's keeping them on that platform."



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