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A Google-Adobe friendship is nothing new

March 29, 2010 |  6:23 pm

Adobe Some are speculating that rumors of a new partnership between Google Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. is part of a sordid love triangle, wherein the two companies are banding together in defiance of Apple Inc. In fact, Google and Adobe go way back.

ZDNet is reporting that Google may announce as early as Tuesday a deal that will package Adobe's Flash plug-in with versions of the big G's Chrome Web browser. As much as we'd like to grab a bag of popcorn and frame this as part of the fiery Apple vs. Google public affair, Adobe and the search giant have had close ties for some time.

Google maintains an integral role in defining the HTML5 spec -- the next version for the programming language that determines what websites can display. HTML5's video tag is believed to be a challenger to Flash's dominance of online video.

However, Google is also a member of the Open Screen Project, an Adobe-led cooperation between major technology and media companies. The initiative promotes Flash as a cross-device platform for enabling rich Internet applications.

Not to mention that Google owns one of the biggest Flash-based content sites in YouTube. (Though, it is testing a version of the site powered by HTML5.)

Adobe has been vocal in its criticisms of Apple snubbing Flash on its iPhone and iPad platforms. Apple appears to be backing HTML5 -- by having its employees contribute to the spec, by enabling compatibility with it in its software (and not enabling Flash) and in unconfirmed rants from Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs.

But Google seems to have no pony in this race. Rather, it's betting on both.

"We are excited to join Adobe and other industry leaders in the Open Screen Project," said Sundar Pichai, Google vice president of product management, in a statement on the organization's website. "This initiative supports our common goal to move the Web forward as a platform and to spur innovation in the industry through technology such as Adobe Flash."

The conflict between Google and Apple probably isn't pervading every facet of the industry, as entertaining as that would be. After all, Jobs and Google CEO Eric Schmidt are still hanging out.

-- Mark Milian
twitter.com/markmilian

Photo: Adobe Systems headquarters in San Jose. Credit: Associated Press

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