I think you have the nub of it here. I first learned to loathe Adobe almost 20 years ago, with Acrobat for X11. Every other X11 program would spawn a new process and a new window when you typed "program ... &" in your xterm, but "acroread ... &" would talk to the One True Acroread Ur-process instead. This, of course, caused all sorts of unpleasant and non-standard behavior when opening and closing PDF files. Not to mention that the interface was a bloated nightmare compared to xdvi and ghostview.
Then they bought Macromedia and Flash, with its ability to create non-standard horrors on the web. It was like watching the formation of a black hole of abusive software, and I still wait for AOL and RealPlayer to be sucked in by Adobe's evil gravitational pull.