The Best of Frenemies

A dozen legendary tech relationships that are...well, complicated.

By  |  Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 4:01 am

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8. Adobe and Apple

frenemies-photoshopFrenemies since: 1984, when Apple invested $2.5 million to buy 15% of Adobe during the development of the Apple LaserWriter Pro printer, which used Adobe’s PostScript technology.

Acts of friendship: PostScript was core to the desktop publishing revolution that may have kept the Mac platform from dying in the 1980s; applications like Photoshop (left, in its 1.0 version) kept the Mac relevant; Adobe apps such as the new Creative Suite CS4 remain hugely popular on OS X to this day.

Acts of enmity: On both the Mac and Windows, Apple’s TrueType font technology rendered Adobe’s once-essential Adobe Type Manager obsolete; Apple’s Final Cut Pro video editing software pushed Adobe’s formerly-dominant Premiere completely off the Mac platform for a spell; Adobe is working on a version of Flash for the iPhone, but Steve Jobs is not only not an enthusiastic supporter but is actively dissing the whole idea.

Current state of the frenemyship: Fairly tense, at least on the outside; behind the scenes, I couldn’t say. Ultimately, the two companies need each other.

(Photoshop 1.0 screen from Guidebook.)

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