NYT: Adobe and Microsoft discussed merger

Could we eventually see Microsoft Flash and Microsoft Photoshop? Believe it or not, Microsoft acquiring Adobe was among the topics discussed in a meeting between the two companies’ CEOs—at least according to the New York Times, which was tipped off by "employees and consultants" involved or familiar with the talks.

The meeting, which lasted more than an hour, covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could team up in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options.

The Times throws in an interesting detail. Quoting "another person with knowledge of the talks," it says Microsoft already approached Adobe about a merger "several years ago," but negotiations never became serious because of fears that antitrust regulators would get in the way. Microsoft gobbling up such a big player in the software industry would probably have raised red flags.

Today, however, the Times reckons Google and Apple make Microsoft look like less of an 800-lb gorilla. University of Chicago law professor Randal C. Picker chimed in to say "the technology landscape [is] drastically different now and . . . an acquisition or partnership of this nature would likely not be halted."

Comments closed
    • blastdoor
    • 9 years ago

    If this were to happen it would confirm Balmer’s incompetence and he would be out of a job within 2 years.

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 9 years ago

    Can’t see it happening personally. Both companies are far from perfect, but this merger might make sence? Afterall, Adobe’s CS5 and Office 2010 dont really overlap, so it could be a happy merging of the 2 – You know, take the best bits of Adobe’s Software (Photoshop, Premier and Illustrator) and sell them bundled up in Office 2011 🙂

    I guess the only real conflict of interest would be Flash Vs. Silverlight – One would have to go. Still dont get how a merger of the 2 would help with Mobile O/S development though.

      • Arag0n
      • 9 years ago

      Maybe adding flash-like development for Windows Phone 7, or adding the plugin for Silverlight as combo with Flash in order to replace flash in the mid term?

    • paulWTAMU
    • 9 years ago

    Maybe if they buy Adobe than can euthanize Flash humanely? Maybe with baseball bats and an Office-Space style smack down of whatever machines they develop it on?

    • Thrashdog
    • 9 years ago

    TFA says that the main thrust was countering Microsoft’s diminishing share of the smart-phone market, which would suggest that Flash is their main interest in Adobe. However, there could be other interesting by-products from such an (admittedly unholy) union. Adobe, after all, makes the gold standard in creative software, and Microsoft could really benefit from a serious challenger to Apple’s iLife bundle. Done well, stripped-down and simplified versions of things like Photoshop, Soundbooth, and Premiere could help improve the baseline user experience of Windows.

    Of course, since it’s Microsoft and Adobe we’re talking about, it’d be done abysmally. And frankly, I’m not sure if Premiere could suck any harder as it stands…

    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    l[

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      GM used to sell a lot more cars than everyone else.

    • Mr Bill
    • 9 years ago

    Would not be surprised. Microsoft is not known for OS writing skills but has a demonstrable track record of inextricably meshing applications with the windows applications interface.

    • DarkUltra
    • 9 years ago

    If Microsoft acquires Adobe, and makes sure bugs and releases are given less priority on other platforms, and Linux will never be considered, I guess this might be really bad. Microsoft have done bad things in the past, and I don’t trust them. They should only be making an OS, and making sure every programs run great on that OS. That means all API and extenstions and whatnot is available well documented for every developer.

    Yes they should not bundle any large programs with Windows, not even the browser. But a link to where you can download and install, or buy it when you buy the computer. that would be fair for everyone, and no standard pollution or other dirty tricks from Microsoft. And Windows would be a lot cheaper, and 3rd party programs have better quality, as a result.

    Maybe IE9 never will support Ogg Theora, vorbis and webm? Formats should be completely open and free, so if the owner go bankrupt, you can still play your media files in the future.
    §[< http://html5test.com/<]§

      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      Sure someone who posts on techreport would love a completely stripped down windows with only the essentials installed by default, but the vast majority of windows (and computers in general) users would look at that and say “WTF, doesnt even have internet, why the hell do i have to download everything after ive installed????”.
      Then they’d probably go buy a mac.

      • WaltC
      • 9 years ago

      /[

        • aatu
        • 9 years ago

        Just a few propaganda points I would like to point out:

        /[

    • jbraslins
    • 9 years ago

    Is zdw Cyril’s alter ego? Or maybe Fishmeal is.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    Different technology landscape? What about Silverlight?

    • Sargent Duck
    • 9 years ago

    Interesting. I can see Adobe’s products working well with Microsoft’s portfolio.

    And Microsoft has been over the past couple of years working on making their products less bloated, cleaner and better, something that Adobe products really need.

    I think this would be a win for Microsoft if they did buy Adobe. At the very least, a partnership would benefit both.

      • Skrying
      • 9 years ago

      They have competing products with Silverlight vs Flash and some of the programs in the Creative Suite go against those in the Expression Studio bundle. I just don’t see what this would do for Microsoft other than make them bigger… which I guess is a “goal” of all companies.

      They can’t really do much with growing Windows. I guess they could add Windows specific features to the CS programs but the install base is so big in Apple-land there that it would really anger a large portion of their customers, a vocal portion at that.

    • just brew it!
    • 9 years ago

    …so Apple is eating them alive in the mobile market, and the solution is to create a combined Microsoft/Adobe entity (Microdobe?) which is even more bloated, bureaucratic, and dinosaur-like than Microsoft is now? Sounds like a winning strategy to me…

      • samurai1999
      • 9 years ago

      Microsoft + Abobe = Microbe!

        • Wirko
        • 9 years ago

        Adobe + Microsoft = Adsoft!!

          • TaBoVilla
          • 9 years ago

          Microsoft x Adobe = Midocrobeft!

      • DancinJack
      • 9 years ago

      If this were to happen I’d be buying a lot more Apple products.

      Adobe + Microsoft = Crap.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      On the other hand, Microsoft has a chance at programming something that doesn’t totally suck.

    • samurai1999
    • 9 years ago

    They say ‘Apple’ but they really mean ‘Google’ ….

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      …No, they don’t. There’s a lot of tension between Apple and Adobe, and Adobe alone hasn’t enough power to stick it to them.

        • samurai1999
        • 9 years ago

        Yes, but Google is the one that MS is afraid of
        – Google is the one destroying MS’s business model in a way Linux never could.
        – Apple isn’t destroying that business model at all – Apple has a very traditional business model that MS can, and has been, living with for years…

        In the Phone space, Google just replaces MS with a better product at a lower cost.
        – whereas Apple competes with a better product at a higher cost…

        There might be some tension between Apple & Adobe over Flash, but they benefit each other with CS …

    • djgandy
    • 9 years ago

    Microsoft Photoshop?

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    Steve Ballmer probably just started hopping around, yelling, “WOOOO MONEY! KIN KIN KIN KIN!” Someone overheard, attempted to translate, and now we have this rumor about some sort of anti-Apple, phone-based alliance and a buyout. It was an hour long meeting, for crying out loud.

    • thesmileman
    • 9 years ago

    I would love to see all the comments if this was Apple trying to do a hostile takeover of Adobe. Now that would bring the Mac Fanboys out in droves.

    I am tired of all of this buy crap because it limits completion. Macromedia had probably one of the few decent competition for photoshop and illustrator (I know they weren’t as good but they were better than GIMP!) and Adobe had to buy them out then dissolve the software.

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    Now all MS needs to do is find a way to buy Java.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 9 years ago

      So they can dispose of it?

    • ludi
    • 9 years ago

    Doesn’t sound /[

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      They’re missing professional audio worktools as well, but Adobe is limited in that regard as far as I know.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 9 years ago

        Adobe Audition. Although it seems that it’s dying a slow death due to neglect.

        It would make MS a 1 stop shop for software similar to how Apple is.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 9 years ago

    MS buying Adobe? That’s hilarious.

      • EsotericLord
      • 9 years ago

      “…could also be because Macs don’t suck, so people on Mac actually use their computer and buy new software, whereas people on Windows tend to get the damn thing working and then not touch it for fear the whole thing will melt down…”

      Really? This dudes entire blog seems nothing but one big Apple ass-kissing festival.

      • sschaem
      • 9 years ago

      Thats a lame blog. Its foremost and first point is to note that in relative percentage their is more mac running Adobe software then windows…

      and one reasoning : “The strange sales proportions could also be because Macs don’t suck”

      Good god! The rest is even more garbage , implying that it was Adobe that called Ballmer to SF..

      What a waste this was.

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