As any software developer I enjoy working with cool components, and Flex is definitely cool. I also know that Adobe is not a philanthropy firm – they need to make money to stay in business.
Most of Adobe presenters never forget to remind that Flash is ubiquitous (I did not hear this word before applied to any software). There is another ubiquitous product – Microsoft Windows. From the business point of view, the difference between the two is that MS sells Windows, while Flash Player is free, which is great for everyone but Adobe.
There is another company, Sun Microsystems that has ubiquitous free software called Java. While Sun earns its revenues from installing Java in mobile devices, the rest of Java is primarily used to sell servers for free JVMs to run. This does not apply to Flex as Adobe does not sell hardware. It does sell professional services. So I assume Flex can bring more consulting gigs to Adobe, but lots of other independent vendors will compete in this space as well.
Almost forgot about yet another ubiquitous free software: Google search. But these guys sell advertisements.
What would you feel if a couple of guys took the free tool that you’ve created and in no time made $1.65B? Yes, it’s youtube. You do not have to answer. Adobe can be proud of Flash Player… Recently, four senior people including the primary co-creators and architects of Flash Player and ActionScript left Adobe and created Software As Art sturtup… Why? Adobe is a profitable company, Flex is cool, Flash Player 9 is hot, Apollo is coming soon. I can only guess that they also want to capitalize on these great free tools, and it’s easier to do outside of the firm. CFO of the company resigns. For the same reason?
Selling Flex Data Services licenses and professional services will bring in some cash, you can add some peanuts from Charting components, Flex Builder and training. Adobe has excellent software engineers in Flex team. But it’s an open market, and in a year or sooner, other firms will come up with open source or cheaper alternatives to FDS, charting or Flex IDE. What’s left? The mobile devices.
So does ubiquity spells cash? Flash Lite to the rescue!