Flash buggers

Though you might not think of it, Adobe are really one of the most important companies involved in tech. After all, their Flash plug-in helps run millions of websites, including (until recently) every YouTube video; their Air system runs lots of PC and Mac applications, and is going to be crucial to the workings of the new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet; and, of course, it makes a little-known piece of photo software called PhotoShop.

Nevertheless, it's been a bumpy year for Adobe - they've been bumped, in particular, from Apple products. The iPad launch in April drew attention to the fact that Apple don't allow Flash on iOS products, leaving blue squares where the videos should be on lots of websites on the iPhone and iPad; but, says Steve Jobs, leaving the devices with much better stability and battery life. Spurred by the shunning, lots of web developers have started moving their video and advanced graphics to work with HTML5, which is supported by Apple, and not Flash. In the long run HTML5 could make Flash pointless.

So how is all this affecting Adobe's business? Well, things certainly seem healthy - the company has just reported a bumper quarter year, its first to show over $1 billion of turnover. Nor are they churning out loss-making products to build volume, as some companies do - that $billion generated a whopping $248 billion in profits. We reckon whatever happens to Flash, as long as PhotoShop remains the program of choice for narrowing models' waists to unrealistic proportions, Adobe'll do just fine.

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