An Update on Adobe's Investment Program

Over the past few weeks I received many questions about the $100 million investment program Adobe announced at MAX 2006 in Las Vegas. It has been about a year since the announcement, and many people have only heard about our investment and subsequent acquisition of Virtual Ubiquity, the makers of the Flex based online word processor Buzzword.

I did a little bit of research, and John Leckrone, who is in charge of the investment program at Adobe, pointed me towards a new site recently launched that contains specific information about the program, called Adobe Ventures. Virtual Ubiquity, while deservedly receiving a great deal of buzz recently, is only one of the numerous successful investments we have made over the past fifteen years. On this site, you can see a list of many of the companies that we have invested in as well as those who have made a variety of successful exits.

Adobe has invested in companies as diverse as Netscape, Seibel Systems, Vignette, EFI, and Shutterfly, as well as more recent startups such as MobiTV, Scrybe, and Bunchball. Those are just a few of the companies you may have heard of. I recommend that you check out this website and review the full portfolio. It is an impressive set of companies, and it was an eye opener to me that we had such a history of successful investments.

The real question you should be asking yourself is if your name is missing from this list. If you are interested in Adobe’s investment program, I encourage you to visit this site and submit a proposal using the link provided there.

Here is a list of some of the important links:

When will H.264 be in AIR?

There were a lot of announcements today about features that will be in the update to the Flash Player, code-named Moviestar. The most interesting of these features was H.264, but also included are AAC playback and many hardware acceleration optimizations for video rendering in general.

You may be wondering when you will be able to use these features in AIR. As Mike Downey mentioned in his keynote at the onAIR Bus Tour event in DC, we will be releasing a new beta of AIR at MAX which will contain all of these features announced today.

Update: Looks like I jumped the gun on this a little bit. The H.264 feature will not be in AIR until a post MAX release, but will definitely be in AIR 1.0.

Flash Player Supports H.264 and AAC

This is definitely a game changing announcement that we are making today. The Flash Player will now support the open H.264 video format. We have also added AAC audio support as well. This will be a huge boon for video producers who will be able to leverage existing content and workflows. It will also benefit users with better performing HD quality video playback (as well as full screen playback) using the latest hardware acceleration features added to the player.

If you want to geek out on all of the changes that have been made, check out Tinic Uro’s post on these announcements. One bug fix that was made as part of this update is that the Flash Player will now support any MP3 (and AAC) sampling rate. If you have ever run into the ‘chipmunk’ bug, you know what I am talking about. This has been a bug that I get asked about at just about every public event, which now you won’t have to worry about.

New AIR Pocketguide from O’Reilly on Amazon

The new AIR Pocketguide for JavaScript Developers that Mike Chambers, Kevin Hoyt, and I wrote is now available on Amazon. For some reason the cover isn’t shown on Amazon but I have attached it here. This book is in the same format as the Apollo for Adobe Flex Developers Pocket Guide that we released during the beta but focuses on developing AIR applications using JavaScript.

Amazon will not be the only way you can get your hands on the book. We will be making a PDF of the book available and you can also get a free printed copy by attending one of the free onAIR Bus Tour events around the country. Also, the contents of the book are released under a Creative Commons license.

New AIR Pocketguide from O'Reilly on Amazon

The new AIR Pocketguide for JavaScript Developers that Mike Chambers, Kevin Hoyt, and I wrote is now available on Amazon. For some reason the cover isn’t shown on Amazon but I have attached it here. This book is in the same format as the Apollo for Adobe Flex Developers Pocket Guide that we released during the beta but focuses on developing AIR applications using JavaScript.

Amazon will not be the only way you can get your hands on the book. We will be making a PDF of the book available and you can also get a free printed copy by attending one of the free onAIR Bus Tour events around the country. Also, the contents of the book are released under a Creative Commons license.

Video Demo: Adobe Media Player

Yesterday we announced the Adobe Media Player, previously codenamed Philo. I have attached below a video of the application in action. This video comes from the Web 2.0 Expo where Kevin Lynch was presenting (this video was taken by Josh Lowensohn of CNet’s Webware.com):

The Adobe Media Player serves the need of two groups: video consumers, and video distributors. For consumers of video it allows them to consume both local and remote video resources in a very rich application. They can aggregate RSS feeds that contain video assets which will be stored locally for offline use. Consumers can also import video that can be found on their local machine. We are also adding a social aspect to the application that will allow users to rate and comment on videos.

Video distributors and producers can publish RSS feeds that contain videos for consumption in the Adobe Media Player. They can include information about custom branding that they would like to appear in their feed to provide a unique user interface. There are also some reporting, advertising, and content protection features that will be available.

A beta of the Adobe Media Player should be available this summer.

Taking a Few Months Off from Adobe

I have to say that the last few years at Macromedia/Adobe have been not only amazing, but very enlightening. At the same time, it has been like a non-stop sprint starting on the Central team and ending with Developer Relations.

Before I embark on any other opportunities at Adobe though, I have decided to take a few months off. I just got back from WebDU in Sydney, and afterwards kicked off my leave by spending a week in New Zealand catching up with old friends there and just vacationing on the north island (see my photos.)

Now that I am back, I am going relax, catch up on spending time with my lovely wife, and also explore some of the amazing technologies that have been released over the past few months and that I enjoy working with.

It should be an exciting time. I will not be checking my Adobe email for the time being, so if you would like to contact me, please use the information on the contact page of this site. I will also try to keep you up to date with what I am working on using this blog.