Adobe scrambles to untangle itself from QuickTime after Apple throws it over a cliff

Cupertino's calamitous conduct drops users down security hole

Apple has finally informed its customers that it is no longer supporting QuickTime for Windows. Adobe, whose code is intertwined with QuickTime, is having to do a rapid reworking of its software to avoid putting users at risk.

Last week, Trend Micro went public with the news that Apple had dumped support QuickTime for Windows after launching it 20 years ago. Trend researchers found two critical holes in the QuickTime code – but Apple told them it was no longer supporting the software and thus wouldn't fix the bugs nor any others.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team promptly warned QuickTime users to uninstall the software because it's now a sitting duck for hackers to exploit. However, removing it is not going to be possible for some people. Adobe After Effects, for example, relies on QuickTime, and Adobe said other products were also affected.

"Adobe has worked extensively on removing dependencies on QuickTime in its professional video, audio and digital imaging applications and native decoding of many .mov formats is available today (including uncompressed, DV, IMX, MPEG2, XDCAM, h264, JPEG, DNxHD, DNxHR, AVCI and Cineform). Native export support is also possible for DV and Cineform in .mov wrappers," Adobe said.

"Unfortunately, there are some codecs which remain dependent on QuickTime being installed on Windows, most notably Apple ProRes. We know how common this format is in many workflows, and we continue to work hard to improve this situation, but have no estimated time frame for native decode currently."

Adobe said that the long-term goal was to make all of its software just use native code, rather than relying on external players like QuickTime, but that this wasn't possible at the moment. The Photoshop giant hasn't given a date for when this independence breakthrough will occur, probably because it's going to be a big undertaking.

In the meantime, Adobe's Windows customers now have little choice but to use QuickTime, despite it having two gaping holes in its security that allow full remote code execution if a malicious video is played. Adobe better move fast on this, and Apple customers might want to trust Cook & Co a little less to keep them safe. ®


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