Competition heats up for Adobe Air – Is it real?
Posted by Alex Chriss on December 9, 2008
Appcelerator announced today that they raised $4.1MM in funding and are launching their direct competitor to Adobe Air, Appcelerator Titanium. I think this is tough market to try and beat Adobe in. Unless Adobe pulls the plug on Air (highly unlikely), they have four major advantages:
1) First-mover advantage – Adobe already has some adoption, and when the “big-boys” are the first mover, it’s a heck of an uphill battle for a startup to climb into contention.
2) Distribution: Titanium claims they can package the runtime environment with the app. That’s very cool but so can Air. And this game isn’t about packaging up installs on the first app – it’s about complete market penetration to create a seamless experience for the end-user. Adobe is darn good at desktop distribution (see Acrobat) and has pre-existing channels. As a developer, you really have to see a major advantage in Titanium to adopt.
3) Success-stories: Air hasn’t blown the market away, but some apps are starting to pick up steam. I use Tweetdeck every day now and we’re building a couple of Air apps for Intuit customers. It feels like there’s about to be an onslaught of high-quality AIR apps to hit the market, and that’s tough for a startup to face.
3) Viability: Giving developers a choice is great – but smart developers are wary of building on technology that could be gone in a year. $4.1mm lasts about a year, and I’m sure Adobe will tell you it takes a long time to build a strong and thriving developer community.
After attending Adobe Max and seeing the passion the Adobe developer community has, Appcelerator has a tough road ahead. They either need a couple of huge success stories or a big distribution partnership to become viable. That said, excessive hubris destroys all, and Adobe needs to extend their lead.