Sunday, April 21, 2013

Is Adobe Ready For Primetime ?

All of us involved in the software industry: yes, folks, we've hyped a feature that doesn't yet exists. Usually it's because someone asked for it, because you realise that it's only a short step for your developers, and that there is revenue attached.

But hyping a whole product that doesn't exist is a different thing. So, can anyone show me a demo of Adobe Primetime ?

I'm a huge fan of Adobe, have used their products all my life: my current business depends on some of their products for some of its functionality.

And then they made the Hail Mary of product moves. They announced a product that can do everything - version video for all devices (including broadcast), insert the ads and provide conditional access across devices.

This all makes total sense: they certainly have many of these elements. They even have a nice video: http://www.adobe.com/solutions/primetime.html.

But what do they actually have ? A product in development ? Something I can sign up to in the cloud ? A downloadable for us to deploy on our CDN ? Even Adobe themselves seem to admit that customers such as Comcast and MLB are using 'elements' of the solution (read: the bits they have always used), not surprising since Comcast, for example, own theplatform, who provide a very similar integrated product set.

What they seem to have is a real product called Adobe Media Server 5 which is brilliant. it does allow you to stream to multiple devices reasonably seamlessly, provides some central analytics and some other great features. What it isn't is Adobe Primetime, which is what marketeers would call 'an initiative'.

This is the curse of shadoware - a product that is based on an existing product but does not really exist out of the spotlight.

Adobe is a company whose core interactive product, Flash/Flex has come to the end of its life (it was doomed after Steve Jobs gave it the kiss of death). As a result they're having to segue many products into a new environment whilst maintaining an old installed base and trying to 'leverage' it.

Flash will become HTML5, FLV has become MP4, HLS has trounced HDS. Don't worry if you don't know the acronyms, all you need to know is that Adobe is a company being deft as the ground collapses under its feet, but it is doing itself no favours by marketing products that don't really exist in a confused and crowded marketplace.