Is the Apple Store Blackballing Competitive Adobe Software?

I was in the Apple Store a few days ago and wanted to try out After Effects on the new Core i7 MacBook Pro; however, it was nowhere to be found.  I was almost certain that I’ve used After Effects on Macs in the Apple store before – but it wasn’t on a single computer there.

It turns out though, that there are a number of professional Adobe software applications that are entirely absent from the Apple Store – either as demos on the display Macs or as boxed software available for purchase.

I wouldn’t have given it much thought; however, there are a number of non-competitive, professional Adobe applications available for demo and purchase in the Apple Store.  There are several different options available in the design realm; however, there were no video editing programs from other publishers that might compete with Final Cut Pro.  In fact, even consumer programs like Adobe Premiere Elements, which competes with iMovie, were nowhere to be found.

Same thing is true with photography applications.  Plenty of Photoshop options, which aren’t really competitive to Apple’s Aperture and iPhoto apps – but no Lightroom, which is probably the most popular pro-photography application available . . . on PC or Mac.  Lightroom, of course, is a direct competitor to Aperture – and is regarded by most (but not all, so hold the hate mail) as a superior RAW image processing application.

On Apple’s website, I managed to find After Effects available, but that was it – no Premiere Pro, Soundbooth, Audition (available for Mac in CS 5.5), Premiere Elements, or Lightroom.  The only Adobe bundles that are available (either online or in the physical store) are Design Standard, Design Premium and Web Premium.  Adobe Production Premium, which includes photo and video editing apps as the core of the bundle appears to be completely unavailable through Apple.

So, yeah, Apple is cherry-picking which Adobe products to sell to its customers and is making sure that it keeps a competitive edge over Adobe on its own turf.  Is it a big deal?  Not so much as bundling might be, but it still has a bit of a stink to it.  Apple can do whatever it wants, and I’m probably not going to stop buying Apple computers anytime soon; however, it would be nice to let customers compare competing products if you really believe your stuff is superior.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that Apple has blackballed Abode, would it?



  1. Matt says

    Why should apple have to sell and push adobe products in their stores? Why feature lightroom when their product is aperture? I wouldn’t go into a Microsoft store (really I wouldn’t) and expect to find Corel Office or Open Office installed on their demo machines.

  2. Bill says

    Is this a criticism of Apple or just an observation of how companies do business? I’ve never heard of Adobe presenting Aperture to photgraphers! I think it is to Apple’s credit that they present non-competitive software from companies that are otherwise competitors. I just can’t see this as anything but good business by Apple. Besides, anyone sophisticated enough to use high-end software will already know of their options and where to go to find information about them.

    • says

      For me Bill, it’s a little of both – criticism and observation. I hope that’s apparent when you re-read my closing thoughts above.

      However, I don’t think the comparison of Adobe selling Aperture is quite fitting. Adobe really has no venue to present other software that it’s own. It’s a software company. Apple is both software and hardware.

      Additionally, as noted in the intro, I’m pretty sure that I’ve used After Effects on the Apple Store demo computers before. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed the lack of competitive Adobe software had I not been looking for it again.

      Your point about the sophisticated user-base is certainly valid and well made.

      Again, it’s probably not really a big deal, but it just seems a little stinky to me – particularly in light of Apple’s history of giving Adobe the shaft.

  3. Rand says

    It’s Apple’s store. They can sell what they want. I’m pretty sure anyone wanting those Adobe products has a good idea of where they can purchase them.

  4. Brian says

    I’ve been buying Adobe software and in the video production business for over 15 years. The video software packages from Adobe have not been available for purchase from Apple for at least the last 7 years. When I started at a new company we upgraded Adobe software and machines and that was the first time I noticed it. From Apple, you can get the Adobe design collection and web collection, but nothing for the video collection or the master collection.

    As for the AE demos: at my local Apple store I’ve become friendly with the business sales manager. If you schedule an appointment with them, they’ll generally let you install software on almost any of the demo machines to test out speed, capabilities, functionality, etc. I’ve done this on a few in the past before purchasing expensive hardware units. Adobe offers a download trial install of AE, so I’d recommend to download it at home, load it on a flash drive and see if you can arrange a similar trial if you’re interested in purchasing new hardware.

  5. Wayne says

    I wouldn’t even pretend to know any of the inner workings of any company, but could just a simple thing instead of conspiracies? Something like Adobe simply hasn’t conformed their software and the way they update their software, and more importantly, their DRM to Apple’s. If they don’t do that, or even submit it to Apple for posting, then Apple won’t put it on the App store. See, it might not have anything to do with Apple, but Adobe who is preventing it’s App Store release.

    It’s all speculation, and to even guess why or imply that there is nefarious dealings going on is a bit, if I may, unprofessional? Just something to ponder over the next time.