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Microsoft talking to Adobe about teaming vs. Apple, merger?

updated 04:25 pm EDT, Thu October 7, 2010

Microsoft and Adobe in collaborative talks

Adobe and Microsoft have been talking about possibly collaborating against Apple or even a union between the two, sources said on Thursday. Their respective CEOs Shantanu Narayen and Steve Ballmer reportedly met for over an hour recently and discussed the possibility of teamwork to counter Apple's influence in the mobile world. Consultants and workers told the New York Times that they had gone so far as to float the option of Microsoft buying Adobe, although how serious this was isn't known.

Adobe senior corporate communications lead Holly Campbell would only say that Ballmer and Narayen "meet from time to time," but the two sides are believed to have been told to keep the existence and subject of the meeting a secret. Microsoft declined comment outright.

Microsoft had supposedly raised the possibility of buying Adobe multiple years ago, but the legal climate was such that it expected the Department of Justice to rule the deal anti-competitive. Apple's size, as well as Google's, would supposedly ease the situation. Critics have usually cast this into doubt as Apple still has a significant dependence on Adobe's Creative Suite apps and could see its share dwindle if artists and designers are forced to switch to Windows.

Adobe has lately seen restrictions loosen as Apple has loosened development tool limits to allow Flash CS5, but the company has been stung by Apple's refusal to implement Flash as a plugin for the browser or elsewhere in the OS. Apple chief Steve Jobs is well known for having decried Flash's poor mobile performance, its instability and its repeated delays, but Adobe has tried to cast Flash as a standard and accused Apple of rejecting a universal web even as it downplays non-proprietary standards like HTML5.

Flash should reach Windows Phone 7 as a stepping stone regardless of any extra Adobe and Microsoft teamwork, but it's not clear what more could be done besides browser and possibly app integration. Android is the only platform where full Flash 10.1 is available, while BlackBerry, Symbian and webOS are still considered distant.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I would go back to crayon and abacus

    If that unthinkable event were to happen.

  1. brainiac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wouldn't it be great...

    If Microsoft brought the ribbon UI to Photoshop!!!

  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A dangerous dance

    Careful Adobe, a substantial amount of your profit comes from Apple sales...

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Double Down

    Joining together in a last century downward spiral. With Apple's software suites and knowledgable users, everything that double down twins can do the Apple user can do better. Dumped both eight years ago. Meeting was just two old timers remembering how it was "In The Day."

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: merger


  1. tundaman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Double the pain

    Well... maybe they cannot bring Apple down, but they'll probably become the single biggest provider of so called "critical vulnerabilities" in the whole software business.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    With Shamu and Monkeyboy ...

    ... we got the start of a nice zoo.

    But if you thought Monkeyboy flung some of his big poo at the marketplace before, just wait until he gets ahold of some output from Shamu.

  1. chas_m



    Bad Idea

    Apple has more than enough talent on board to create pro-level alternatives to InDesign and Photoshop (at least) if necessary. Pages has replaced ID and Quark for 80% of the easier stuff I do, and third-party tools like Pixelmator could be bought and brought up to par with CMYK support if a large enough company bought them -- you know, a company with tons of cash and a reason. Like, say, Apple.

    In short, I know a lot of Mac users have a love/hate thing going on with Adobe, but I really like my CS3 suite and even though I'm sure Apple would eventually come up with something even better if they had to, I'm sure its a challenge the company isn't looking for.

    If Adobe wants to be bought, it should sell to Apple. If Adobe is just trying to scare/blackmail Apple, I got news for them: it won't work.

  1. Fonejacker

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad Idea


    totally agree. I am a bit surprised Apple haven't developed their own CS apps. I am hoping Apple have got these apps ready for this type of potential threat. Didn't Apple release Final Cut Pro for similar reasons, with Adobe's Premier app? I would dump Adobe's CS in a heart beat, if Apple had a really good equivalent CS range, but not forgetting this would be a major task, but doable over 5 years. Cheaper and better CS apps from Apple, bring it on. Ironically, I can see this working against Adobe, as I can't see Microcopy being allowed to buy Adobe anyway. If Apple launched a CS equivalent, Adobe would be in trouble, so come on Apple, bring out your version of how it should be done, iCreate possibly???

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Gimme a break!!

    What an incredible waste of time, money and effort on both these companies' part! Like stopping Creative Suite development for Macs is going to either help Adobe and/or hurt Apple...guys, this ain't 2000!! And what the heelll does Microsoft get from this but some sort of sour grapes satisfaction!

    Apple makes tons of money on iPhones, iPad, & iPods, not to mention most people on Macs don't need Photoshop or at least don't to need to update the version they have.

    This is just another example of the almost daily news we hear about the complete incompetence & short-sightedness of Steve Ballmer....the guy is a hack!


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