Shut out of the iPhone/iPad ecosystem by Apple, Adobe declared that it would "try and make the best tools in the world for HTML5." Less than two weeks after that statement was made, Adobe appears to be attempting to follow through.
At the Google I/O conference, the company demonstrated its HTML5/CSS3 update pack for Dreamweaver CS5, the latest version of the Adobe Creative Suite's web development application.
The update pack contains functionality that Adobe showed off earlier in the year, but that the company originally said wouldn't be included in Dreamweaver CS5. Clearly, Adobe's decision to release this functionality is a direct response to Apple's move to block iPhone/iPad apps produced with Adobe's Packager for iPhone, which shipped with Flash CS5. The Packager for iPhone was one of the features Adobe had played up most in drumming up excitement for its latest version of the company's flagship software suite.
Needless to say, Adobe is fortunate in the sense that it had the ability to shift focus to HTML5 so quickly following Apple's action. As Stephen Shankland of CNet's News.com notes, "web standards are experiencing something of a renaissance" and HTML5 in particular is a big part of that. But it remains to be seen just how useful Adobe's HTML5 offerings will be in the immediate term. HTML5 is attracting a lot of attention, but it isn't fully baked yet. That, in my opinion, poses some risk, as Adobe might be jumping the gun. But this is a risk it has to take, especially given that HTML5 will have an impact on the use of Flash.
The lesson here for all companies is simple: having a Plan B is a really, really good idea. And even if you don't have a Plan B, being in a position to quickly come up with one is a close second to that. Being kicked to the curb by Steve Jobs was certainly not an ideal for Adobe, but by mustering up a Plan B, it's probably a bit less painful.