Adobe Throws Weight Behind IAd Competitor

With Its Flash Technology Banned From Apple's IPad and IPhone, Adobe Tries a Work-around

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NEW YORK ( -- With Apple CEO Steve Jobs' dislike of its Flash technology, Adobe would appear to be locked out of three of the hottest mobile devices: the iPhone, iTouch and iPad.

Well, not quite. Hours before Mr. Jobs was to take the stage at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Adobe announced it has a plan to help advertisers using Flash, the dominant video technology on the web, get on Apple's devices anyway.

Adobe is partnering with mobile ad network Greystripe to produce ads in Apple's preferred video format, HTML5, as well as convert advertisers' Flash ads into Apple's proprietary iAd format, which promises ads as gaming and multimedia experiences on Apple mobile devices.

"What we've done is agree to work with Adobe to help promote the ad formats that Greystripe has already created," said Dane Holewinski, director of marketing for Greystripe.

The deal is the latest in a very public scuffle between Apple and Adobe. Mr. Jobs posted an open letter explaining Apple's stance on Flash, which is the most predominant technology used by advertisers on the web. In response, Adobe addressed Apple's rejection of its popular software in full-page ads entitled "We [heart] Apple."

Through the partnership, Adobe said it will be able to produce ads "comparable to Apple's recently introduced iAds unit," though authored with Flash tools and "priced at a fraction of the cost." This would allow marketers and agencies that have already produced ads in Flash to easily convert them into iAds.

Apple is aware that its position on Flash could cause advertisers problems and early on will be producing iAds for its biggest customers.

The deal also gives Greystripe, whose biggest competitors Admob and Quattro Wireless were picked up by Google and Apple, respectively, an important ally to help it stay relevant in the mobile ad market.

Right now, it's a marketing deal; Adobe funnels its many agency and publishing clients to Greystripe to solve their compatibility issues. But the companies are exploring a number of different options to extend the collaboration beyond marketing, said Mr. Holewinski.

Adobe has also worked with the publisher Conde Nast to develop a tool that plugs into the company's widely adopted design software, InDesign. The recent Wired magazine iPad app from the publisher was designed with Adobe. Adobe and Apple were not immediately available for comment.

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