Microsoft, Adobe Talk Apple, Possible Merger: Report

 
 
By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-10-07
 
 
 

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen reportedly met at Adobe's headquarters to discuss the possibility of Microsoft acquiring Adobe, according to a new report in The New York Times.

The two companies' executives also discussed the best way to battle Apple in the mobile-devices market, according to unnamed sources paraphrased in an Oct. 7 posting on the Times' Bits blog.

Adobe found itself under fire earlier this year when Apple CEO Steve Jobs decried the performance of Flash, Adobe's software for displaying rich content on Websites, on mobile devices. Microsoft intends to battle the Apple iPhone with its upcoming Windows Phone 7, scheduled for launch Oct. 11. Therefore, both companies have ample motive for discussions over how to best antagonize their mutual rival in Cupertino.

"Adobe and Microsoft share millions of customers around the world, and the CEOs of the two companies do meet from time to time," an Adobe spokesperson reportedly told the Times. Although that spokesperson did not deny the meeting, they declined to comment on any possible topics of discussion between the firms.

After Jobs publicly aired his reasons for banning Flash from Apple's mobile devices, various competitors wasted no time touting Flash on their own products as a competitive differentiator. For months, those companies-which include Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion-have boasted of their smartphones' and tablets' ability to browse "the complete Web." However, the lack of Flash on Apple's mobile devices has not proven a sales-killer.

In addition to Windows Phone 7 smartphones, Microsoft is planning a series of Windows-powered tablets that will compete directly against the Apple iPad. Should Microsoft acquire Adobe, it would potentially allow the latter's software to be integrated more tightly with products such as those tablets and smartphones. Short of a merger, the two companies could certainly collaborate on how to best bring Adobe's software to mobile devices competing against Apple.

In May, Adobe offered eWEEK a beta version of Flash Player 10.1, designed to offer smartphones and other mobile devices the same Web browsing capabilities as desktops, complete with streaming video and Website animations. In interviews before that beta testing, Adobe executives told eWEEK that the porting of Flash 10.1 onto Android and other smartphone operating systems meant the brand was still relevant, despite Apple's then-public denouncement of it.


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