Adobe And Microsoft: Small Talk or Big Merger?
The word is out that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen recently held a secret meeting on Adobe’s campus. What was spoken inside the meeting room for over an hour isn’t known exactly. But plenty of folks think Adobe and Microsoft could be kicking around a potential merger to counter Apple. Or, is Microsoft simply ready to abandon its own Silverlight in favor of Adobe Flash? Here’s the speculation.
The New York Times gets the tip of the hat for breaking the story, as they apparently learned about the meetings from employees inside both Adobe and Microsoft. Apparently, the employees involved in setting up the meeting were told to keep completely quiet about it.
There’s no denying the meeting happened, but what the meeting was about is truly a mystery. Both Microsoft and Adobe declined to comment directly on it, but the New York Times was able to squeak out a comment from Adobe’s Holly Campbell, senior director of Adobe’s corporate communications:
“Adobe and Microsoft share millions of customers around the world and the C.E.O’s of the two companies do meet from time to time, however, we do not publicly comment on the timing or topics of their private meetings.”
The Times alleges that a person “familiar with the discussion” noted that the meeting focused on Apple, Steve Jobs and Flash, along with if Microsoft would acquire Adobe, or form a partnership alliance to fight against Apple. According to the Times, another person familiar with the situation claimed that Microsoft had looked to buy Adobe years ago, but at the time, the technology landscape saw Microsoft as too much of a monopoly, and the companies feared anti-trust litigation.
But with Google and Apple on the rise, Adobe and Microsoft have reason to unite.
It’ll be interesting to see what would happen between Microsoft and Adobe since they have competing technology dealing with web-content (Flash vs. Silverlight). Would Microsoft buying Adobe cause a merging of the technology, or would Microsoft divert resources to Flash instead? (Surely Microsoft knows Silverlight isn’t as popular.) But even that could be easily overlooked, if both companies have a goal to put Apple in check.
Despite my near-fanatical devotion to Apple, I look forward to what the Adobe and Microsoft plan on developing, because any pressure on Apple just makes Apple a better and more honest company. Whatever it is, this blogger has bets that it’s focused on the mobile area, especially with Windows 7 Phone on the horizon.
But more than that, it would be refreshing to actually have quality choices in the market, mobile or otherwise. Right now, I believe nothing ‘sexier’ on the market than Apple technology. Adoboe, to its credit, has some pizazz — which could give Microsoft a lift.
Anybody care to guess where Ballmer and Narayen plan to take the Microsoft-Adobe relationship?