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The Pulpit
Pulpit Comments
May 02, 2008 -- Iron Man
Status: [CLOSED]

So where does Silverlight fit it?
Speaking of movies, I saw Iron Man at the April 24th premiere. I got Hayley Westenra's autograph!!!

Al Wilson | May 02, 2008 | 1:12PM

What about the Adobe Open Screen Project(?)
# Removing licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free.

Mark | May 02, 2008 | 1:14PM

Dominance of Internet video...

Hmmm... Monopolistic control of free stuff/services to avoid antitrust concerns. Then make arrangements with the content providers to increase their sales with fee based services on the content accessed by the free tools. How Machiavelian. How Googlonian.

Do no evil? Give away stuff for free? Then conquer the world.

D. B. | May 02, 2008 | 1:27PM

If I was selling the pro/apps, the ideal buyer would be AutoDesk. It fills a media niche, and Apple could convince AutoDesk to port its Architectural, Industrial Design, and Mechanical CAD packages to OSX, which would put pressure on PTC and SolidWorks.

Win/Win.

tmay | May 02, 2008 | 1:31PM

It makes a certain amount of sense except for one thing: Adobe has been going down hill for a while and Steve Jobs doesn't like to own junk. It used to be that RealPlayer was the application everyone installed that screwed up their computer. Now that nobody uses it any more Acrobat Reader has become that new app. It's junk. And given that Apple is more than capable of making something better why bother with Adobe? Unless it's just to destroy them.

dbrandon | May 02, 2008 | 1:41PM

Apple is NOT selling off ProApps.

Get your facts straight!

http://www.macnn.com/articles/08/05/01/1m.fcp.licenses.sold/

joe blow | May 02, 2008 | 1:41PM

Er...

Or maybe the idea that Apple is selling its pro apps is a total fabricated rumor, which the company has strenuously denied?

http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=21188

Apple buying Adobe makes incredibly little sense. They'd only hugely piss off Adobe customers if they nix Windows versions of Photoshop and the like, and nothing that Adobe has (even Flash) would Apple with iTunes or anything they're trying to do.

Apple has no relationship with Adobe w/r/t Flash or AIR because Flash & AIR compete with native iPhone apps. Of which the number, make no mistake, are about to explode.

lookmark | May 02, 2008 | 1:42PM

I think Apple's next purchase will be Microvision (www.microvision.com).

Dwayne | May 02, 2008 | 2:00PM

I think Apple's next purchase will be Microvision (www.microvision.com).

Dwayne | May 02, 2008 | 2:01PM

You're obviously not the only person who has compared Tony Stark/Iron Man to Steve Jobs.
Still believe Apple is pursueing Adobe? It's an interesting daydream. Yet, the costs of absorbing Adobe, integrating the two vastly different company cultures, chucking aside Final Cut, et al., just to gets its hands on Flash and Air, is more than a gamble, it's a costly Steve Ballmer like boneheaded move. It would be simpler just to purchase the intellectual properties it wants from Adobe, sell Final Cut, etc. to satisfy any rumblings from FTC, and get on with its agenda.

Kevin Kunreuther | May 02, 2008 | 2:12PM

Adobe has been going down hill for a while and Steve Jobs doesn't like to own junk.

I beg to differ. One of the cults-within-a-cult of Mac owners is the graphic artist enclave, Mac owners one and all. The graphic artists main software is typically Quark, and Adobe. With Flash on the consumer end and Exchange-Distiller on the custom apps end, a core group of Mac users is happy for Apple to buy Adobe, and remain Apple customers for life. And look at any corporate-facing or web-facing report generation - what's the most readily accessible document format?

It sure as shooting isn't Word: it's PDF.

Here's a thought experiment - purge all of the PDF readers and writers from your systems, personal and business, and see how things go.

GuyFromOhio | May 02, 2008 | 2:12PM

It makes no sense to buy Adobe. Sure, Premiere is a competitor to FCP but between Apple/Avid/Adobe the AAA of video editing you have a good, better and best selling strategy. Eliminating either one of the other two A's will not help Apple with all those wedding video people, they will flock to what they know and what they can afford. If you kill what they can afford they'll go cheaper not spend even more to do what they used to with their previous software or they won't upgrade at all.

As for Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver Apple makes baby iApp cousins to these shows that it is not critical to consumers to have the full power of Dreamweaver when iWeb will do. Also this then starts yet another Apple/Microsft war of Flash/Silverlight. Despite Apple's success with iTunes and iPods Microsoft will offer everything for free to kill Flash including some outright bribery to design houses to use it over Flash. Silverlight will also be pushed out with WinXP and Vista updates and will be forced down PC users throats whether or not they want it or not just to exponentially gain marketshare. Look at what happened with .Net/C# vs. Java.

Eric | May 02, 2008 | 2:13PM

Bob, didn't you say a while back that Intel and Apple were merging? Since that never happened, why should we believe this?

Jim Kyler | May 02, 2008 | 2:24PM

It makes no sense to buy Adobe. Sure, Premiere is a competitor to FCP but between Apple/Avid/Adobe the AAA of video editing you have a good, better and best selling strategy. Eliminating either one of the other two A's will not help Apple with all those wedding video people, they will flock to what they know and what they can afford. If you kill what they can afford they'll go cheaper not spend even more to do what they used to with their previous software or they won't upgrade at all.

As for Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver Apple makes baby iApp cousins to these shows that it is not critical to consumers to have the full power of Dreamweaver when iWeb will do. Also this then starts yet another Apple/Microsft war of Flash/Silverlight. Despite Apple's success with iTunes and iPods Microsoft will offer everything for free to kill Flash including some outright bribery to design houses to use it over Flash. Silverlight will also be pushed out with WinXP and Vista updates and will be forced down PC users throats whether or not they want it or not just to exponentially gain marketshare. Look at what happened with .Net/C# vs. Java.

Eric | May 02, 2008 | 2:24PM

I could see Apple buying Adobe for all of the reasons you stated, but equally I could see Apple ignoring Adobe and building their own goods to compete with Adobe products. As I've observed Steve Jobs and his leadership, it appears that he has little interest in acquired products that don't do several things. These are:
1. Exceed the state of what is currently available or at least competes highly with the dominant market leader and making them competitive immediately.

2. Make a statement with regard to Apple's own mission,

3. Engender the target market or general consumer (depending on amateur or pro apps.).

4. Make the Macintosh/iPhone/iPod experience better and elegant.

I'm not saying Apple won't buy Adobe, but in doing so, I could see a lot of hand picking going on through Adobe's portfolio of goods. The potential Adobe acquisition would certainly leave a lot of Adobe goods on the market for others to pick up. It would be merely a plumb picking exercise at best.

I also, don't see Apple selling off it's assets, that is just not very Jobsian. Steve loves everything what he constructs/acquires and makes his own. I do however, see him killing off an Apple product like the Newton before he'd be willing to sell it. But this all depends on his vision of where he's going and what he's getting into next.

Mtnmnn | May 02, 2008 | 2:32PM

Years ago I owned a mpeg2 accelerator. Now, I dont understand what impetus apple would have for putting a dedicated encoder/decoder onto their computers, but my former purchase makes me all the more certain there is no good reason for a dedicated video encoder.

Apple already uses discrete video cards in a sizable chunk of their lineup. You can already buy GPU powered H.264 encoders. Why would Apple spend $50 on a discrete encoder when the current system should be able to do the job? Sure you can get better performance from a dedicated encoder, I just dont see how Apple could leverage that. Internet video is pretty low on places to put your 720p video files, what are you proposing, Apples waiting around until streaming video is all HD then they drop a dedicated encoder into the frenzy craze?

rektide | May 02, 2008 | 2:33PM

Adobe has been really bad to it's Mac customers. It's hurt Apple a lot, so I think it would be understandable for Apple to crush Adobe and phase out the windoze versions. It would be doing the users a huge favor in the long run. :-)

Picky | May 02, 2008 | 2:56PM

Apple will never buy Adobe. Apple's version of all the Adobe stuff, such as PDF, are far better than Adobe's junk.

Brian | May 02, 2008 | 3:03PM

Bob's theory violates one of Bob's Laws of the Technology Industry: "There will never be a successful hostile takeover of a software company."

I've seen no indication that Chuch Geschke and friends are tired of Adobe or that they are seeking a partner, let alone a purchaser. For Apple to acquire Adobe then, it would have to be a hostile takeover. These always fail because the real asset in a software company is not the catalog of products it sells, but the talent who conceive and create the catalog. Take them over in a hostile manner and they simply walk out the door and set up shop somewhere else.

Unless Bob can convince me that Adobe wants to be bought, and that Adobe's talent wants to work for Apple, this will never work.

Michael | May 02, 2008 | 3:13PM

I can't see how there would be much of an anti-trust issue. You're really only talking about Premier and Lightbox v Final Cut and Aperture. When Adobe bought Macromedia there was a lot more overlap in web and print apps, and that still went through. Already there are competing technologies being introduced by Microsoft, with more on the horizon so it's not as if Apple would have a monopoly. I think Jobs needs to make it look like he is ready to buy Adobe whenever the mood strikes him, to ensure they never stop developing for the Mac platform on an equal footing. One slip, and they'll be bought.

Jonk | May 02, 2008 | 3:27PM

Yea Brian, Adobe produced bloatware galore, nothing of theirs when saved is not humongous, and Flash is total crap and useless when interact with Safari.

AdamC | May 02, 2008 | 3:33PM

I read the first two paragraphs, then skipped down to the last paragraph, then wondered why I even bothered to do that.

The Wired magazine article about the evil Steve Jobs is way more interesting than this snore fest.

zzzzZZZZZZZ | May 02, 2008 | 3:35PM

apple sold 1 million seats of final cut pro.

whats the revenue on that?
400 million, or is it the studio price, over 1 billion?

no revenue for Apple's apps?

I cringe.

Stiv Bator | May 02, 2008 | 3:40PM

As a user of Adobe products, I have been disappointed time and again by various incompatibilities and the fact that Adobe always seems to add features to the WIndows version first. We should not forget that Final Cut got its foothold because Adobe nearly abandoned Premiere for years with no significant updating.

I think Apple owning Adobe would improve Adobe.

I also think in the present political climate, no one is going to complain if Apple had a monopoly. No one said much when Adobe monopolized desktop publishing way back when.

Maybe you need to dig a little more into this. Apple would be better off buying the company and killing Premiere and keeping Final Cut, and as you say, owning the road anyway.

Jim Fearing | May 02, 2008 | 4:05PM

the proper thing would be to buy adobe and as part of the settlement, sell off the avid product to somebody like microsoft
who will kill it thru feature bloat.

mike | May 02, 2008 | 4:05PM

Why not buy Adobe and kill Premiere?

Truth | May 02, 2008 | 4:06PM

I don't think Apple needs Flash. The heart and mind of most web developers still resides with HTML/CSS/JavaScript, and Apple is doing everything it can to enhance WebKit, it's own HTML/CSS/JavaScript rendering engine to do most of the things they would need to do with Flash.

Safari now has it's own client side compiling engine as of the 3.0 release, which means once Firefox and IE catch up, HTML, JS, CSS will be just as fast of a solution as Flash.

The only thing holding them back is video, but that doesn't seem like an unsolvable problem, especially when Google is moving towards supporting Webkit(Android) more and more, which they start to look for solutions in the future for some of their major flash properties(Youtube).

Kyle | May 02, 2008 | 4:08PM

Bill Gates was the CEO of Microsoft since its founding. Jon Shirley was brought in from Tandy as President, a role he handed to the short-lived Mike Hallman.

Michael Harvey | May 02, 2008 | 4:14PM

Why would Steve Jobs telegraph his intentions by eliminating the Pro apps before he proceeds with the hypothetical takeover? It makes no sense to give a competitor a popular product.

He would be better off proceeding with the takeover (I doubt it would be hostile) and then killing (not selling) the less-popular Premiere. Adobe did that after the Macromedia purchase: they killed off Macromedia FreeHand instead of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe GoLive instead of Macromedia Dreamweaver; not to mention abandoning SVG.

As Bob said, Jobs thinks in terms of years, not quarters. The potential profit from dominating a market (video editing) would surely dwarf the money received from a sale.

Throw my voice in with those that think Apple should go after Autodesk: 3D rendering is the only part of the video pipeline that Apple does not currently do, and Maya on MacOS is a poor experience.

Rob Menke | May 02, 2008 | 4:28PM

Buying Adobe is a dumb idea. But buying Real would be a fantastic idea.

For $1b, you get $550m in sales, $450m in net cash and some very valuable assets that could all be converted over to QuickTime, iTunes, etc (bye, bye Real Player!). The announcement with Rob and Steve making up would be priceless.

pwb | May 02, 2008 | 4:33PM

I don't know if Cringely is right or not about Apple wanting to buy Adobe, but it may make sense on another level, especially as it relates to controlling Flash. Apple and Adobe have conflicting views on the role of the web browser and Flash (see this explanation: http://www.mogo-media.com/blogs/2008/03/06/browser-vs-content-aka-iphone-vs-flash/).

Basically, Apple believes in the browser and Adobe believes in the content. Apple wants you to get everything through the browser (preferably Safari). Adobe obviously wants a developer to be able to create best-in-class content that works and looks great — EVERYWHERE.

Gary | May 02, 2008 | 4:35PM

Why would Apple sell those apps, even if they purchased Adobe? Apple went through a good deal to assemble those apps including a recent acquisition just to add a feature to FCP (color). And to add a sharpness to my point they are the market leaders by leaps and bounds. From a business perspective the apps still drive hardware sales. Apple needs to stay in the app business in a big way, both giving it away and selling Pro apps. If they want to get rid of something get rid of Filemaker. I would argue it doesn't sell a single box. But I could be wrong.

EKH | May 02, 2008 | 5:03PM

Adobe pulled off the Macromedia merger to create a "best of" creative suite dropping the weak components. Consumers benefited. Conceivably, under benign stewardship, consolidation and integration between FCS and CS could benefit consumers. (Leopard itself however goes a long way at the system level to integrate and exchange media files between FCS, Aperture, iLife, and CS3 without exporting hassles.)

Jobs & crew might capture Adobe out of frustration with Adobe's vision and development. Out of a will to dictate the tempo and simplify trends in media development.

Apple is benefiting from the best code base in its OS and appreciates the principle in it's applications. Could Apple stomach Adobe's code base?

If Apple wished to take a stride in further eroding Microsoft influence with another application beach head like iTunes/Quicktime on Windows, Adobe is an obvious play. Pro users of CS on Windows have an ADOBE experience not an MS experience.

How much Apple software can be on Windows and sell more Macs instead of fewer Macs? That is the question.

Michael Burress | May 02, 2008 | 5:33PM

Perhaps Apple was only trying to find out who's interested in buying a video editing application. Then, if they do buy Adobe, they offer their prospective buyer Premiere and keep Final Cut for themselves.

Phil Holmer | May 02, 2008 | 5:33PM

Adobe pulled off the Macromedia merger to create a "best of" creative suite dropping the weak components. Consumers benefited. Conceivably, under benign stewardship, consolidation and integration between FCS and CS could benefit consumers. (Leopard itself however goes a long way at the system level to integrate and exchange media files between FCS, Aperture, iLife, and CS3 without exporting hassles.)

Jobs & crew might capture Adobe out of frustration with Adobe's vision and development. Out of a will to dictate the tempo and simplify trends in media development.

Apple is benefiting from the best code base in its OS and appreciates the principle in it's applications. Could Apple stomach Adobe's code base?

If Apple wished to take a stride in further eroding Microsoft influence with another application beach head like iTunes/Quicktime on Windows, Adobe is an obvious play. Pro users of CS on Windows have an ADOBE experience not an MS experience.

How much Apple software can be on Windows and sell more Macs instead of fewer Macs? That is the question.

Michael Burress | May 02, 2008 | 5:36PM

Perhaps Apple was only trying to find out who's interested in buying a video editing application. Then, if they do buy Adobe, they offer their prospective buyer Premiere and keep Final Cut for themselves.

Phil Holmer | May 02, 2008 | 5:36PM

"Adobe obviously wants a developer to be able to create best-in-class content that works and looks great — EVERYWHERE."

Who is this idiot! Must work for Adobe. The quality of Flash vrs. Quicktime is as obvious as B&W. Have you seen movie trailers in Flash? Seen the same trailers in QT? Seen any YouTube lately? Comments like those only go to show the ignorance of the author.

Tom Allen | May 02, 2008 | 5:37PM

"Adobe obviously wants a developer to be able to create best-in-class content that works and looks great — EVERYWHERE."

Who is this idiot! Must work for Adobe. The quality of Flash vrs. Quicktime is as obvious as B&W. Have you seen movie trailers in Flash? Seen the same trailers in QT? Seen any YouTube lately? Comments like those only go to show the ignorance of the author.

Tom Allen | May 02, 2008 | 5:39PM

Adobe pulled off the Macromedia merger to create a "best of" creative suite dropping the weak components. Consumers benefited. Conceivably, under benign stewardship, consolidation and integration between FCS and CS could benefit consumers. (Leopard itself however goes a long way at the system level to integrate and exchange media files between FCS, Aperture, iLife, and CS3 without exporting hassles.)

Jobs & crew might capture Adobe out of frustration with Adobe's vision and development. Out of a will to dictate the tempo and simplify trends in media development.

Apple is benefiting from the best code base in its OS and appreciates the principle in it's applications. Could Apple stomach Adobe's code base?

If Apple wished to take a stride in further eroding Microsoft influence with another application beach head like iTunes/Quicktime on Windows, Adobe is an obvious play. Pro users of CS on Windows have an ADOBE experience not an MS experience.

How much Apple software can be on Windows and sell more Macs instead of fewer Macs? That is the question.

Michael Burress | May 02, 2008 | 5:40PM

There's another problem with this idea - Apple's iLife apps depend on the development of the pro apps and vice versa.

Garageband runs on the same underlying code base as Logic (with a different UI and smaller feature set of course). The new iMovie was developed by someone on the Final Cut team - there's probably common code there too (they must use the same underlying data format - you can now export from iMovie to Final cut, which you couldn't do before). There's also quite a bit of cross-pollination between iPhoto and Aperture (with Aperture picking up features first put into iPhoto).

Also, I fail to see the antitrust problem with Logic for example - sure, Adobe has a sound editing app, but why would apple want that instead of Logic, when Garageband and Logic run much of the same code.

Another thing is that Apple develops stuff in the pro apps and then moves it into the APIs - like Core animation I believe was first developed for the pro apps. Core animation is now central to the iPhone, the mac, etc.

Yet another thing - the Adobe apps are cross-platform code bases. They are not tailored to apple hardware. Witness the issue with 64 bit photoshop. Why would apple trade its own internal apps for less apple-like apps from Adobe. Makes no sense.

cesjr | May 02, 2008 | 5:40PM

"Adobe obviously wants a developer to be able to create best-in-class content that works and looks great — EVERYWHERE."

Who is this idiot! Must work for Adobe. The quality of Flash vrs. Quicktime is as obvious as B&W. Have you seen movie trailers in Flash? Seen the same trailers in QT? Seen any YouTube lately? Comments like those only go to show the ignorance of the author.

Tom Allen | May 02, 2008 | 5:41PM

"Adobe obviously wants a developer to be able to create best-in-class content that works and looks great — EVERYWHERE."

Who is this idiot! Must work for Adobe. The quality of Flash vrs. Quicktime is as obvious as B&W. Have you seen movie trailers in Flash? Seen the same trailers in QT? Seen any YouTube lately? Comments like those only go to show the ignorance of the author.

Tom Allen | May 02, 2008 | 5:42PM

Holy smokes, this one is dumber than Mary Jo Foley's rant about Mark Hamburg leaving Adobe and going to Microsoft to help them write graphics applications. All facts known prove that to be a stupendously ignorant thing to say.

But this one even tops that. If Apple had been shopping their pro Applications around at NAB, we would have heard long before this.

This one's even over the top for Cringley.

eric | May 02, 2008 | 6:09PM

There is value in Apple buying Adobe.

Adobe has a HUGE library of Intelectual Property which includes all of Macromedia's IP too !! Remember DisplayPostscript ?!? NeXT had to pay a licencing fee for it. If there are other technologies that Apple had desired but couldn't use b/c of cost, they would now own it.

The highly skilled programmers in Adobe would also be very highly desired by Apple if acquired.

Apple WANTS to kill Flash. This is obvious as we can see Jobs comments about Flash being slow and Apple influencing Google to change YouTube to H264.

Apple WANTS developers and users focused on Quicktime and iPhone (phones and software development). Flash and Air get in the way of this and the iPhone is where the REAL MONEY is. Killing Flash would also make other web-enabled phones MUCH less interesting

Even if Apple were to sell off ALL of their Pro apps (sounds crazy to me), they will have an whole new lineup of Adobe and Macromedia apps to REDESIGN and sell just like they've already done with their Pro apps. No software Apple could buy from anyone today would be up to their standards. They WOULD redesign it.

This would also allow Apple to issue a blow to Windows by killing off the Windows versions of the Adobe apps. Sure, Windows users would be freaking out. Jobs reaction; Buy a Mac!! As well, Mac design houses would be rejoycing in the streets as the life expectancy of PC based design houses would be VERY short. This would also force corporate Media departments to move to Macs if they were PC based. A gental corporate reaquantence with Macs?? Maybe.

I'm sure there are more advantages than just this, but those are the high-lights as I see them.

Thoughts??

TheJ | May 02, 2008 | 6:16PM

You aren't thinking big enough.
I see two paths here and Jobs may be thinking of both;
If you are selling off applications, then it may be that Jobs is thinking of selling the Mac OS X as a head-to-head option against Windows (finally). It would create some consternation in peripherals, but perhaps jobs sees that through the 'I' devices out there, people are comfortable enough with Apple. This would, paradoxically, promote MORE sales of their hardware to the enterprise, as Businesses are more comfortable with multiple sources of hardware -- but the Apple stuff is actually a decent deal on premium systems. Microsoft can only lose ground here.

The other thing goes with my theory that the iPhone is going to be the next platform. A Linux device from WalMart, can do a fine job of getting you on the web and doing word processing. The real money left in this market. But, as the iPhone soon gains video conferencing abilities (as is rumored in the Australian iPhone), and more hardware improvements aimed at Gaming,... everyone is going to be moving to high-end phones that replace most of the functions of their computers. Other than typing a lot -- the next gen iPhone could likely do it all and well enough to replace a computer for all of the multimedia and communications needs.

The Cell Phone business of Apple may well exceed the computer business for Apple. Selling off the video and multimedia production applications, could get rid of a distraction for Apple that merely helps it sell hardware and doesn't really make a profit on its own. As long as a good developer takes up apps like FCP and Aperture, Apple will still get the benefits and integration.

The time for Apple to buy Adobe is becoming less of a factor,.. the bigger "fish" will be caught in the emerging Computer+Phone market.

Mark | May 02, 2008 | 6:17PM

@ Tom Allen,

The quality has no bearing on the quality that Flash or QT can offer. The fact that YouTube videos are streamed in lower res does not mean Flash can't handle streaming high res video.

PS: Learn how to post just once, not 4x.

Solipsism | May 02, 2008 | 6:17PM

@pwb: Real is worthless. I haven't installed Real player in about 4 years, and rarely come across any Real video any more.

Tom | May 02, 2008 | 6:32PM

Bob, Apple has no intent to buy Adobe. Steve is simply ignoring Adobe to make them look less relevant. You can't snub flash on the iPhone and then attend their mobile event possibly showing interest. This is Jobs we're talking about. While he's smart he's also stubborn. He simply does not see the value in Adobe's products.

I'm sure Apple has a reason for selling the applications but it's not to position themselves to buy Adobe. It may be that just as Apple dropped the "Computer" word from their brand name, Jobs may be losing interest in the desktop. Maybe the apps just don't fit in with corporate strategy? Although I'll admit the Adobe conspiracy theory sounds more glamorous.

Scott | May 02, 2008 | 6:39PM

What I think needs to be thought through is how Much Apple can make based upon what Apple would be buying. Buying Adobe would get them world class Flash, After Effects, and PhotoShop. How much could they make from that? The other applications are like Illustrator and Dreamweaver, are good for a smaller number of professionals that aren't going to give you a huge amount of bucks. There are enough alternative applications, for the amateur web designer.

After Effects may get its teeth kicked in of Motion gains 3D objects. It isn't 100% as powerful as AE -- but the "real time" feedback and the quick "almost as good" effects make it very useful in the Wedding Photographer space already. Apple wants the larger numbers for more computers -- not to pigeon hole in the rarefied elite of graphics.

I've been developing in a nice application called "Quartz Composer." If that gets working on the iPhone -- then you've got a great environment for developers to make real-time special effects and data displays, that can interact with user and web input that makes Flash look like grandma's multimedia. The iPhone is going to get a lot more powerful in graphics capabilities and may end up selling more units than computers. When games and presentations end up on a phone -- the road warrior businessman is going to be using Keynote more than PowerPoint -- you heard it here first.

Buying Adobe or Autodesk can get you some fine applications to dominate graphics in the OLD paradigm. But if you are looking 10 years ahead like Jobs, you are looking at Portable computing, presentation and entertainment. That means a super phone.

The AppleTV and iPhone and iTunes are set to dominate distribution of Internet video and music (OK, already there with music). Apple, as a business, shouldn't be distracted by making a few dimes when they can be making the big bucks. Adobe and Microsoft are going to want to run on Apple's platform -- THAT is why Apple showed no interest in porting Flash to the iPhone and why Adobe is making Flash an open standard. Apple is going to have their own best-of-class development environment for the next major platform everyone is using.

Mark | May 02, 2008 | 6:41PM

As a user I would love this as Apple would fix the Adobe code and make it much more usable. Adobe seems to go out of their way to irritate Mac users by not following UI guidelines on the Mac.

From a business sense it is unlikely to happen. Adobe's price is pretty high for Apple to pay. Also, there is not much there that Apple would want. Sure, they might want to kill Flash but is that worth 20 or 30 billion dollars? Apple might want to own PS and ID as an insurance policy, but I doubt they want to be in that business. As mentioned above, an area that might be attractive to Apple is Adobe's patents and IP.

Apple might work out a deal to purchase Adobe, pick out the patents it wants to keep, kill off Flash, then sell off the remnants to someone or simply set it up as an independent company and take it public after a few years. Even that sounds far fetched.

John | May 02, 2008 | 6:50PM

Robert,

I don't care about Steve Jobs and neither do many of your readers. Slow news day? You (and perhaps PBS) should review what you're doing here.

Where the hell are my power efficient drives?

Opt out | May 02, 2008 | 7:37PM

Some other points for you to consider:

Now We Know Why Apple Rejected Flash

And:

Now We Know Why Apple Bought A Chipmaker

You also keep neglecting that if Apple acquires Adobe, it becomes the #1 force in ebooks too:

Does Apple Want To Be King Of Ebooks?

Mike Cane | May 02, 2008 | 7:51PM

GuyfromOhio writes: The graphic artists main software is typically Quark, and Adobe.

Quark? Seriously? Maybe 5-10 years ago, but not today.

In any case, graphic designers never used Quark much in the first place - it is for publishing and layout, not graphic design. Graphic design is the domain of Illustrator, the now-defunct Freehand, Photoshop and various 3D tools.

Bucky Slingshot | May 02, 2008 | 8:19PM

This is good food for thought. You're right about Steve's thinking in terms of decades. The year (decade) of the laptop. This is your best, yet.

David E. Goolsby | May 02, 2008 | 8:30PM

If anything SJ hates Adobe too much to pay a premium for it. ADobe has no real growth left. All the designer apps are being commoditized - sure, there's always a market for PS but it'll just be specialized. Not even counting their own free PS-lite online, there are 5 other worthy choices.

Honestly,what's the market for Illustrator?

Web design? Real programmers are coding now and Dreamweaver is easy to reproduce.

Flash - while it's a standard now, hardly anyone likes it - what other web programming feature alsways to feature a "HTML option' so users aren't annoyed? Plus - 'not invented here.' Besides, while lots of Apple stuff wasn't invented there, it's too well unknown unlike Shake or FCP. And now Flash with DRM - how exactly is that different than QT?

No, sorry - while Apple might be tiring of the pro apps, I just don't see them buying Adobe for $40 billion when for $500M in R&D, they can come up with a QT version of Flash and the rest, ilife already covers 80% of what most users want and the rest of their apps are on a death knell or slow growth.

jbelkin | May 02, 2008 | 8:45PM

I agree with jbelkin. SJ hates Adobe. That's why Apple does have it's own apps to compete. While I would like to see Apple control Flash, I just don't see them buying Adobe at all. In fact, Adobe is now the MS of the new century. The sooner their bloated software can be replaced with smaller, leaner apps the better. I've been MS free on the Mac for over a decade. I can't wait to be Adobe free as well. There are small lean apps out there that are slowly giving us Adobe functionality through the use of Core Image in OS X. Apple doesn't need Adobe.

Steve K. | May 02, 2008 | 9:12PM

The blog-post linked to regarding apple's acquisition of the chip maker is so full of wild-conjecture, it should put a master like yourself to shame.

Simon | May 02, 2008 | 9:41PM

I don't care about Adobe, I'd just like Apple to revive a couple of decent systems that Jobs killed off as part of the backroom deals with Adobe and MS that helped him take over Apple. Towit: bring back QuickDraw GX or some moral equivalent (PDF and OpoenType suck) and OpenDoc (there's nothing remotely like it even now).

Lawson English | May 02, 2008 | 10:19PM

I don't care about Adobe, I'd just like Apple to revive a couple of decent systems that Jobs killed off as part of the backroom deals with Adobe and MS that helped him take over Apple. Towit: bring back QuickDraw GX or some moral equivalent (PDF and OpoenType suck) and OpenDoc (there's nothing remotely like it even now).

Lawson English | May 02, 2008 | 10:19PM

Lawson,

That horse is dead. You can quit beating it now.

-jcr

John C. Randolph | May 02, 2008 | 10:28PM

Let me point out a couple of reasons to retire that stupid "Apple should buy Adobe" canard that you pundits keep regurgitating.

First, merging with Adobe would cost Apple a fortune in management time, above and beyond Adobe's market cap (about $21 billion). So, for 21 billion bucks they can get what?

Postscript or PDF? No need: Quartz 2D already does a better job of rendering 2D graphics, and it's a hell of a lot faster than Adobe's implementation.

Photoshop? Nope, if Apple wanted to be in that business, all they'd need to do is make a version of Shake that operates on a single frame at a time.

Premier? Get serious.

InDesign? It's better than Quark, but that's damning with faint praise, frankly.

The Fonts business? Maybe worth half a billion or so.

Adobe management? Nope.

Adobe developers? There are a handful of top-flight engineers there, but it doesn't take $21 billion to hire ten people away from Adobe.

Of course, the biggest headache that Apple would have to deal with if they bought Adobe is fixing Adobe's corporate culture.

If you think Apple was arrogant before their near-death experience in the late 1990's, you ain't seen nothing. Adobe's first customer made them extremely rich, and they ended up believing that they could do no wrong.

-jcr

John C. Randolph | May 02, 2008 | 10:43PM

What about the new MS apps that appear designed to compete with both Adobe and iLife?:

The Expression family will consist of three programs: Expression Graphic Designer, Expression Interactive Designer and Expression Web Designer. The first app is a bitmap and vector editor, the second is for creating applications and the third for creating websites.

That might be part of Apple's decision calculus.

EGrise | May 02, 2008 | 11:19PM

This theory is so silly in so many ways, this isn't worth mentioning but:

Bob, you do realize that Avid could be had for 800 mill instead of Adobe at 21.5 BILLION, right? Just a thought.

Tim F. | May 02, 2008 | 11:44PM

To: EGrise

Expression was originally on the Mac. There was even an OS X version before MS swooped in on it. I think I even still have a copy of it somewhere. It was pretty cool. Almost like a sort of Painter but with vectors. Unfortunately it's MS only now. I doubt there's much of the original left in it by now.

Steve K. | May 02, 2008 | 11:51PM

I was skeptical until you started talking about Flash. I think Job has a distaste for Flash, he might even hate it. It's not yet enabled on the iPhone, and personally I am grateful--saves me the effort of trying to disable those inhumanely obnoxious ads. I don't mind ads per se, but I am trying to read, dammit. Anyway, Flash is pretty much ubiquitous for better or worse. I think it grates against Jobs aesthetic sensibilities that the video quality of most Flash video is so so poor, ie ugly. BTW, how the heck did Flash become such a major, maybe dominant video format? I think Jobs would acquire Adobe if only to get Apple's hands on controlling Flash, improving it, etc.

el gallo | May 03, 2008 | 12:00AM

You're probably right about Adobe, but there are even other reasons to consider for the purchase.

Apple needs to strategically simplify its platform support. It has effectively axed the API known as Carbon, which Adobe uses extensively with Photoshop and other flagship products. Adobe directly stated that Photoshop will not have a 64-bit version because of this.

If the Mac loses a next-generation Photoshop, the platform will suffer. Apple can avoid this by buying Adobe and modernizing their entire suite of apps.

Kevin Grant | May 03, 2008 | 12:40AM

This whole conjecture stems from one question: Why is Apple trying to sell Final Cut Pro? Apple doesn't need the money. Selling Final Cut Pro just sells the app and a contract saying that Apple'll never go into pro video editing. So unless Apple fires their FCP engineers, Apple's going to have a lot of video-editing programmers twiddling their dumbs. There's a lot of theories here. But these two questions are confirmed truth.

I happen to think that they want to use those programmers to come up with their own version of Silverlight/Flash. If they have FCP, Aperture AND AppleFlash, Adobe is going to freak.
if FCP is someone else's puppy, it means Apple has no interest in competing directly with Adobe.

oiram | May 03, 2008 | 1:43AM

Bob, I don't know why you insist on even talking about Adobe as a prospect. Adobe has tremendous technical ability, as you have rightly said in the past, but it's an old world company and should be allowed to stand on its own.

Apple might as well be EA - it would buy, and ruin, an independent company. The useful parts of Adobe, to Apple, are Flash and Air. To buy Adobe, Apple gets far more than that, and plenty it doesn't need.

Jobs learned a lot in the 80s, but he's no corporate raider.

gfair | May 03, 2008 | 4:49AM

Wouldn't Flash + QuickTime also raise antitrust issues?

brendan | May 03, 2008 | 5:06AM

Wouldn't Flash + QuickTime also raise antitrust issues?

brendan | May 03, 2008 | 5:08AM

1 Million seats of Final Cut Studio at the retail price may represent an influx of cash but does not by default mean profit. Do we forget that Apple purchased Silicon Coler, retooled and re-branded that colorist software and shipped it FOR FREE in Studio. "Non profit?" yep, no question about it. Just ask Avid who would likely call Final Cut Studio FREE WARE.

BigV | May 03, 2008 | 6:55AM

You've convinced me, especially as Adobe's market cap is just 20B$. Apple might even offer cash for it.

I'd cast Charlie Chaplin as Steve Jobs. Looks like a fool, but owns the studio and runs it well.

Andy Hickmott | May 03, 2008 | 7:59AM

Bob, if the pro-app rumor does turn out to be totally false, started by some desperate competitor at NAB, I think you'll have to follow up, and fess up.

That's the part that makes no sense -- Apple's MacPro's have huge margins. Selling off the pro apps risks losing big time if the buyer ends up killing, scuttling or overpricing them, intentionally or not. And the pro-app users a very important, even glamorous piece of mindshare for Apple to have, guaranteed to stick with Apple in any future bad time. Terrible idea, just terrible.

The only conceivable justification for selling the pro apps is this: Apple has many super important future programming projects. Apple needs high quality programmers. Apple is unhappy with the quality of the ones it can get on the outside. Apple decides to sell the pro apps to free up those coders for more important work. I still don't believe it though.

Buying Adobe makes *slightly* more sense. Adobe keeps treating Apple like a second class citizen. Forget Carbon apps (FCP is Carbon as well) -- have you looked at the ridiculous system requirements Adobe has for Adobe Media Player for Mac users vs. PC users, and how badly Flash performs on Mac OS.

Ted Todorov | May 03, 2008 | 8:36AM

Agree with Ted above.

Apple has poured too much time and energy into FCP, Express and iMovie to toss them aside. IMHO, those apps sell Macs. That is what it is all about. Want to run FCP Suite? You will need a high-end Mac Pro. That is where Apple makes their money. And it is a prestige thing. In fact, I can't figure out why Apple didn't buy Maya when it was being shopped around in 2005 and bring Pixars' RenderMan in-house as an Apple product. What a complement that would be to Apple's stable of high-end apps. No way Apple wants to get rid of FCP. That makes no sense. Especially when they finally got FCP Server to market.

As for buying Adobe, I don't buy that either. What little Apple would gain would drain their bank account and what good would that do? This is how Apple survives tech downturns, by relying and investing their money when other companies are losing theirs.

Blad_Rnr | May 03, 2008 | 9:54AM

My take on this story is more about how successful Apple is when a CEO like Steve Jobs has a real interest in that company and remains in the CEO position for longer than the 2-5 year turn overs for other CEOs in other public companies. And the other company examples brought out in this article ( Microsoft and Dell ) also point out the same examples. Buying out the CEO management positions with TONS of DOLLARS don not work as a strategy and Corporate Board members need to search for long term players in the CEO market who are interested in the technologies that the company is producing. An interested player will always do better over the long run than a player who is only in it for the money.

Rick Carl | May 03, 2008 | 11:05AM

I finally bought a Mac and Final Cut Studio because I was tired of the Adobe tools crashing and hardware issues. I wanted as jobs would call it "the whole widget" from one company known for quality. If they hand off FC who is to say that the next owner won't mangle the quality? I don't see this as a good thing. To me, this would be a disaster. I hope the rumours are false.

BTW, I think Adobe makes great tools with Flash and Flex. But everytime I'd try to send the soundtrack from Premiere to Audition it would crash. That was just one of several bugs that was impossible to tolerate.

Mitch Allen | May 03, 2008 | 11:56AM

I think something else is going on here. The thought of Apple buying Adobe doesn't excite me too much. I don't think that apple needs Adobe, really, unless they are looking for something the company is hungry for. Competent people.

iPhone was a huge wake up call for Apple. Having to divert engineers from Leopard and for the first time appearing to have bitten off more than it could chew, Apple needs to hire some folks. Jobs himself has said recently that the biggest challenge Apple faces is the hiring and retention of the top people in the industry.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple was looking to sell the ProApps to re-assign the engineers internally and re-focus the business. They may want Adobe, but I'll bet that they want some of the personnel, not the business.

Lauren | May 03, 2008 | 1:14PM

Keanu Reeves (The Matrix) as Jobs
Apple buying Adobe is fantasy.

Gordon Dover | May 03, 2008 | 2:03PM

I think a more realistic scenario for Adobe to be acquired is by Google. If MicroHoo happens, then over time, Adobe might be in difficult position given that MicroHoo would push, through all their properties, Sylverlight everywhere. This would hurt the main Adobe property which is Flash. Adobe is moving to apps-in-the-cloud model (e.g., Photoshop express, ...) but this will take time, and presumably they want to capitalize them in the same way as everybody else: advertising. However, the best property to capitalize with this model is Flash. But who is better positioned to capitalize through advertising Flash:Google. Imagine ad-sense within flash and all the knowledge that can be collected of all those Flash users ... Google probably wants it more than Apple. Prediction: within 2 years, Google will acquire Adobe.

John whorfin | May 03, 2008 | 3:34PM

I think a more realistic scenario for Adobe to be acquired is by Google. If MicroHoo happens, then over time, Adobe might be in difficult position given that MicroHoo would push, through all their properties, Sylverlight everywhere. This would hurt the main Adobe property which is Flash. Adobe is moving to apps-in-the-cloud model (e.g., Photoshop express, ...) but this will take time, and presumably they want to capitalize them in the same way as everybody else: advertising. However, the best property to capitalize with this model is Flash. But who is better positioned to capitalize through advertising Flash:Google. Imagine ad-sense within flash and all the knowledge that can be collected of all those Flash users ... Google probably wants it more than Apple. Prediction: within 2 years, Google will acquire Adobe.

John whorfin | May 03, 2008 | 3:34PM

I think a more realistic scenario for Adobe to be acquired is by Google. If MicroHoo happens, then over time, Adobe might be in difficult position given that MicroHoo would push, through all their properties, Sylverlight everywhere. This would hurt the main Adobe property which is Flash. Adobe is moving to apps-in-the-cloud model (e.g., Photoshop express, ...) but this will take time, and presumably they want to capitalize them in the same way as everybody else: advertising. However, the best property to capitalize with this model is Flash. But who is better positioned to capitalize through advertising Flash:Google. Imagine ad-sense within flash and all the knowledge that can be collected of all those Flash users ... Google probably wants it more than Apple. Prediction: within 2 years, Google will acquire Adobe.

John Whorfin | May 03, 2008 | 3:36PM

Apple buying Adobe is duplicating practically everything they do. In one previous article you said that Apple wasn't worried about the iPhone not supporting Adobe Flash because they had WebKit. Actually, it's because there are important performance issues with Flex on any mobile device and Apple didn't want to ruin the user experience and make both companies look bad. Even in Apple's worst days, Adobe kept on shipping products for the Mac OS and now that Adobe is focusing more on the web, the OS will matter less and less and the widget more and more and that's why Apple will do better by not messing with Adobe. Buying smaller companies (a la Google) is perhaps a better idea.

Tomas Sancio | May 03, 2008 | 3:43PM

I just don't see it happening. It doesn't make sense to kill the "whole widget" strategy that's worked so well for so long. As a longtime Mac user, it's one of the things that I depend on in choosing Mac and Apple Pro applications for my work.

Apple just did a huge update to Logic, finally dragging it out of the 80s and to some extent leaping ahead of its competitors with the UI / UX redesign of Logic 8.

Not only is Logic Pro incredible value for money at $499, it's a huge inducement for musicians to buy / stay on the Mac platform. It's also a good upgrade path from the free, included GarageBand software. Apple's also been working more closely with outside hardware makers like Apogee, who've been offering Mac-only low-latency audio hardware. I don't see Apple being very willing to just sell this all off to another maker, who most likely couldn't maintain the $499 retail price.

Plus, remember what happened when there were all these rumors of Adobe and Microsoft ending Mac development? I think Apple would be loath to ever hand control of its destiny over to another company again.

Once Multi-Touch is integrated across the entire Mac line, and potentially if Macs once again get some sort of built-in DSP acceleration such as this encoder/decoder chip you mention, I think we're going to see the Mac platform (software and hardware) pull ahead once again in ways that will surprise us, and entrench Apple's lead as the best PC maker out there.

AJ Kandy | May 03, 2008 | 4:38PM

"To my knowledge we haven't yet seen Apple include that H.264 video encoder/decoder chip that I have written Apple is committed to using across its entire Mac/iPod/iPhone line."


---


y'know. what the above sentence really means is "I was wrong".

build6 | May 03, 2008 | 6:48PM

I predict the video editing app market is about to collapse. You can practically write a basic one now with some standard Adobe Flex components. There's already a few web apps out, it's just a matter of time before they become college programming exercises. As someone who's been editing since 3/4 deck to deck, 90% of what you need are simple straight cuts, maybe a dissolve, and a reasonable organizational method. The rest is just interface niceties and what you will output to. If Jobs wants to kill everything except media file export, fine one less thing to worry about. Might as well sell Final Cut while it's worth top dollar right?
Soon enough video editing will be as ubiquitous as text editing, how much would you pay for a copy of WordPerfect these days?

bill | May 03, 2008 | 6:57PM

I can understand why Apple might be considering selling it's Pro applications. You need only look to Adobe's announcement not too long ago for the answer why. Namely, Adobe's announcement that the next version of it's Creative Suite will ship 64 bit compatible for Windows, but not for the Mac. Adobe's reasoning is that it has to do the on heard of task of making a complex Carbon applications Cocoa after Apple decided to abruptly remove Carbon support for 64 bit processors in Leopard. Converting the applications really is a daunting task, and like Adobe, none of Apple's Pro applications are written in Cocoa. That means Apple's Pro applications will not be 64 bit capable unless Apple rewrites the applications or Apple backtracks and reinstates it's support of Carbon. Make no mistake, rewriting the applications is a tough task. Especially when Apple uses the applications not to really make money directly, but instead to bring customer's to the Mac.

Terrin | May 03, 2008 | 8:10PM

Whether Apple--a hardware company at its core--could do better with Adobe than Adobe could do on its own is an interesting question. They're both focused on the same result--powerful user experiences--but come at it from very different angles.

Hans | May 03, 2008 | 8:50PM

Anyone who has been in Real Estate in Elk Grove California for a decade or more, knows the story of Apple setting up an multi million dollar board factory only to close it down barely a year later and putting the building up for sale for around 89 million. In the end, they kept the building but had they found a buyer in the 1st year or so, it would all be history on close to a 100 million dollar investment.

I doubt there is a CEO on the planet whom you could call intractable.... who would be just that ............................ until they changed their mind.

Nothing is for sure ... NOTHING!!

bigv | May 03, 2008 | 10:57PM

bob, should i address you as niccolo mach since steve j has become your fresh "prince" lately?

haj | May 03, 2008 | 11:37PM

Why sell off final cut pro? Why not buy Adobe and sell off Premiere?

zoidy | May 04, 2008 | 6:13AM

Why sell off final cut pro? Why not buy Adobe and sell off Premiere?

zoidy | May 04, 2008 | 6:13AM

What is the actual evidence for this assertion that the ProApps, which lead to the sales of some very expensive and profitable hardware (for a company that actually sells _hardware_ and not just software licenses), were really "shopped around?" Oh, there isn't any.

This is just another Cringely fable; does Adobe need a little PR-or-stock push from the rumor mill? Oh, AIR is just fine: look Apple's either abandoning its QuickTime production tools (not) or buying Adobe itself (ha).

Reading this "article" was a waste of time written by a person who won't even use his or her real name.

snowbag | May 04, 2008 | 10:07AM

Ben Kingsley plays Jobs in the movie.

Lavrentii | May 04, 2008 | 12:25PM

He! Why not Yahoo now the M$ thing is over :-)

... if it's all about getting a massive media distribution channel then Yahoo is potentially a very interesting complement.

phil jones | May 04, 2008 | 5:36PM

Apple owning Adobe is a bad idea. If there is less competition in these products, there will be less creativity and development in them - just look at what an exciting, ground-breaking application IE is.

p skwith | May 04, 2008 | 7:29PM

Apple buying Adobe would be kind of nice ... maybe then they could reverse the plans to ship 64-bit Photoshop for Vista a full generation before it ships for Mac OS X...

Yoda | May 04, 2008 | 10:10PM

Doesn't make sense. You don't sell an asset before you make an offer to buy another company in order to avoid anti-trust issues. That would be tossing out a bargaining chip.

You only sell an asset to get around anti-trust regulations when ou have no choice. Your first argument is that your assets and the company you're buying assets don't overlap, and that there are plenty of valid competitors on the market (Microsoft Paint!).

When that tactic doesn't work, you negotiate something else (we'll open source MacPaint and MacDraft) and make it appear you're being magnanimous while keeping the asset that you want. If that doesn't work, you keep the better asset and sell the cheaper one. Only after everything else fails do you consider selling the asset.

If Apple was buying Adobe, they'd make an offer first, then sell their professional apps only after all other attempts to negotiate fail.

David W. | May 05, 2008 | 12:50AM

Research. Shake is definitely antiquated. It hasn't been updated in years. Note theres other assets in this category like rayz

grahamdclark | May 05, 2008 | 6:16AM

Here's my take. Adobe is in play, yes, but their code base is sh_t and they aren't getting any reasonable offers. So along comes Jobs lifting the skirt on his pro apps just enough to show prospective buyers how bad the stuff from Adobe really is. This further reduces offers to Adobe and lowers the acquisition cost should Apple make a bid in the future. It also tweaks Adobe for being such pricks in other negotiations (iPhone & Flash, PDF, etc.) and puts the fear of God in the dev teams at Apple who miss deadlines and make excuses.

A hat trick worth of one Steve Jobs.

Jason G | May 05, 2008 | 11:35AM

One software business Apple got rid of is PowerSchool, a school data management system, gradebook, and attendance record. My district bought it on the basis of Apple's conservative track record and good customer service. Six weeks after we bought it, Apple sold it to Pearson, who made lots of poorly tested upgrades. Now it is buggy, and service is slow.

kwatro | May 05, 2008 | 12:46PM

Cringley, you're opinions of late resemble those of the crazy uncle nobody takes seriously anymore. Really, where do you get this stuff? Apple has no incentive to shop it's pro apps to another company. All these apps are Mac only, and Apple reaps more than the cost of development back from these apps. These apps drive sales of Mac (Pros, specifically) to the professionals who rely upon them in their day to day work.

If Apple wanted to buy Adobe, it could do so without any problems. It wouldn't have to sell it's apps to appease anybody, because there are worthy competitors in each market that are beyond Adobe + Apple. In video, it's Avid. In music, it's Pro Tools. I doubt Apple would want to buy Adobe, because Apple really likes to make software to sell hardware, and I doubt Apple could really buy Adobe and make their apps Mac only without incurring the wrath of the DOJ.

Ted | May 05, 2008 | 2:45PM

Acquiring Adobe might make interesting press, and sure, Apple could afford it now. But this is just not Apple's style. What have they been doing for years? Acquiring tiny companies who make interesting, often expensive products with lots of potential upside. Apple then uses the technology in new or existing products (like Coverflow) or tweaks and repackages the product for a far wider audience at a far lower price (Motion, Logic, Final Cut Pro). Hell, the gave away iTunes and look how that turned out. Bottom line...a smallish check on the front end leads to large gains on the backend.




Buying Adobe would mean a *HUGE* check on the front end, both in cash and stock. It means swallowing a company with thousands of employees, and lots of existing facilities. So if I'm Steve Jobs looking at this deal, what's the upside for paying billions? Let's break it down.




1. Flash. Nice (debatable) tech but it's full saturated in the marketplace. Not much growth here...just protecting your backside from Microsoft's Silverlight. Right now, this is the only way you're going to see Flash on the iPhone. Unclear what happens to all Flash efforts on non-iPhones since Flash pretty much sucks on all phones right now.




2. Photoshop. Maybe some upside here if you lowered the price to get more legal copies out there. Otherwise all the Pros who use this daily already have a legal copy. Lowering the price might convince some to upgrade that wouldn't otherwise. And we might get a Cocoa 64-bit app before 2015.




3. Photoshop Elements & Lightroom. Killed for Apeture with the best bits merged into that product...I agree with the writer.




3. After Effects. Lots of upside here, both in more sales and tying the technology into Apeture and Final Cut.




4. Adobe AIR and Adobe Media Player. Killed immediately.




5. Dreamweaver/Coldfusion/Flex. They would be nice to have since you would basically control all serious content creation on the web. Some upside here if handled properly. Merged and perhaps renamed...definitely with a cheaper price. And a Mac version would certainly happen. Windows version would continue.




6. Acrobat And PDF. The Windows version would get a better UI. The Mac version would cease to exist eventually with all features getting migrated to the Leopard OS natively.




7. Shockwave/Director 11. Does anyone still develop in this? Killed.




8. Illustrator and Indesign. Kept for the Pros that use them everyday. Maybe some lower prices to spur sales. Pagemaker finally bites the dust.




9. Postscript and Font licensing. That's sooo 80's.




10. Framemaker. Hey, maybe we might see a Mac version for the first time since 1990. Or it could be sold off or killed (yes I know, there are those in the publishing business who live and die by this product).




11. All server products get converted to Leopard Server. Some may get killed. Most Windows versions survive for the time being.




Unlike the writer, I don't agree that you'd necessarily need to ditch the Apple Pro apps. All of those apps were acquired by Apple's current acquisition strategy which has served them very well. Getting rid of the Pro apps means your hose your own strategy and wind up pissing off a lot of people. Instead, I'd find a buyer for Premiere, sure. But Final Cut Pro's real competition is Avid and Media 100...and they aren't going anywhere. Logic, Motion and Shake don't have counterparts at Adobe.




Bottom line? A huge check on the front end and not enough to show for it in five years, much less two.

Sevenfeet | May 05, 2008 | 5:47PM

I think a buyout of Adobe is a sensible move.
1) It's a profitable company
2) Redundant resources can of course be trimmed, thus increasing profit
3) Adobe has many great mac and pc developers in many domains
4) Adobe has lots of intellectual property, some of which Apple is probably licensing, some of which might currently prevent Apple from doing things
5) Adobe has $2 billion in cash, which is sort of like a mail-in rebate after purchase
6) Adobe controls products that are highly visible in the mac community, some of which are making the mac look bad
7) There would be a lot of tension relieved in the areas where Adobe and Apple compete, like video.

I also think Apple would love to have a pro graphics app like Photoshop that they could make more mac-like. Ditto for a pro web-development app like Dreamweaver. They might be able to do something to make Flash more efficient, or imbed h264 into it, and they could do something with the pdf format to make it less annoying, since it seems here to stay for a while.

And then when you consider an Adobe exec complaining last fall about Adobe products being too complicated (something Apple is renowned for addressing), and Apple hiring an acquisition lawyer (stocking up!) and having so much money saved up (how many potential companies are there to choose from?) Adobe just seems like a pretty good choice.

bw | May 05, 2008 | 9:04PM

Just not sure why anyone voluntarily uses such a clunky, backwards, and limited NLE as Final Cut Pro, which makes you do things ITS way instead of doing them the way you want to do them. The only answer I ever seem to get is "because everyone uses it."

If I'm going to buy a suite of apps, I'd much rather have After Effects and Photoshop in it than anything in FCS2.

Nick J. | May 05, 2008 | 9:41PM

Bob,

I'm pretty sure you got it right in that, "Maybe there's a planned bait-and-switch..." If anti-trust were the incentive, then why toss your own market leader Final Cut, when you can toss Premier instead? If Apple does buy Adobe, if there is some product overlap, why wouldn't Steve keep the pick of the litter?

Further, since Microsoft is hoping Silverlight will be a Flash killer, might this be a deal breaker? Especially if it somehow comes true? Even if Silverlight is just a cheap knock-off, suppose Microsoft writes "No Flash allowed" into their OEM distribution contracts? Nothing has changed since the 90s - Microsoft can write anything into its Windows contracts. What's an OEM to do? Say "no" to Microsoft?

jeff | May 06, 2008 | 8:25AM

Nick J. you're nuts. Cult or no cult, pros are not going to use something that is as bad as you describe FCP. You are obviously not an editor and should only speak on the things you know, not what you think or heard. FCP is way more flexible that Avid and Vegas is a glorified audio app.

Craig | May 06, 2008 | 9:45AM

Craig, if it makes you feel better to think that I am not an editor, then go with that. Makes no difference to me.

Nick J. | May 06, 2008 | 10:50AM

Thanks Nick, it does make me feel better to know that your not an editor.

Craig | May 06, 2008 | 11:05AM

I notice that people keep mentioning Apple already has the pro tools for Mac as a reason to not go ahead with this. A lot also mention that they do basically well enough on Macs. Anyone want to explain why Apple would want well enough on Macs sales over sells fairly good to the world? I know Adobe has some bloated products that don't fit well with the Apple viewpoint, but surely fixing up the bloat and offering the new and better product to everyone would cause a good amount of growth. We already know from iTunes that Apple has no problem making money from PC users, this would just be expanding their PC market some and making a fair bit of cash once everything is said and done. I don't even think Apple would have to get rid of their pro tools, so I don't think the anti-trust issues will come up at all.

People have also mentioned Apple has said "no, we're not doing that" but when was the last time Apple came out and announced what they were doing well in advance?

Ix | May 06, 2008 | 11:07AM

um... "FCP dominates the world of video production"... is an utterly false statement. And proves that even PBS journalists are just as likely as the cool-aid infused mac enthusiast... to sit back and allow apple marketing to do their 'research' for them.

steveO | May 06, 2008 | 6:49PM

No part of Apple's strategy tells me they will want to buy Adobe. Software-wise, their focus has been to develop platforms and apps running on Apple hardware, to both make money on hardware sales and better control the user experience. In relation to cross-platform development, they have been strong advocates for open standards, as evidenced by Safari & Quicktime.

Acquiring Flash would go against this strategy completely. Providing backwards compatibility and supporting different platforms will be a nightmare. Apple has even shown it's dislike for Flash by offering no support in the iPhone or Quicktime. The former has also restricted background processes which cleverly prevents 3rd party Flash app development.

Even for Creative Suite I can see little in it for Apple. Future Mac development isn't under threat and they would be forced to support a big non-Mac user base going forward.

More likely they are developing their own competitor to Creative Suite built using Cocoa APIs and designed only to run on 64-bit Macs. It would also likely be released along side new multi-touch hardware that will turn the DTP industry on it's head.

Who needs Adobe?

Anthony Daniele | May 07, 2008 | 9:48AM

Wow. You must be in the industry, because your clear and perfect insight into the the tools and delivery methods that are used by professionals everyday is staggeringly myopic. Given the asking price for the pro-product suite from Apple, what company can buy them and make money? Apple sells them barely at cost now, since they make their money on the computer. You also seem to make the point that the Apple tools are the best now, but they would trade them for Adobe's? As for using Premiere, do you think Apple would be successful switching all those users of Final Cut over. Editors are a silly breed, they are loyal to their tools to a fault.


Anthony is right - who needs Adobe? (and you should do a little more research before drinking the Kool-Aid)

Mike | May 07, 2008 | 9:50PM

For me it seems that Bob and Anthony are about right. The history of Apple tells me, Jobs is always thinking between our all thoughts. Don´t have a clue what i´m talkin´ about?

I think that Steve Jobs is really want to takin´ control over Adobe - especially over Flash, whether its through buyin´ Adobe or some other "of the hook"-ways, he will surprise as like so many times. Let´s assume that he want to buy them, just because it´s the only way we can imagine when we talkin´ about "talking control", ok?
So if i try to get in Steve´s head and i´m buyin´Adobe, i would do 2 things:
1.) drop Flash-development and merging it with QuickTime or take the code trash it.
2.) Rip apart the CS-Suite to merging/replace it with own ProApps. Why? To make the CS-Suite 64bit for OS X, it largly has to get rewritten - by going cocoa - anyway.
So why not take them now and transform them in really cool maclike cocoa-apps with all the nice new APIs out of it themselve - and set "CS4 for windows" EOL. Going Mac-only and/or offer "Windows-Light-Versions" only. App-Examples?
PHOTOSHOP:
This move should buy Apple some time to make out of it his own Apple-Photoshop without beginning from the skretch (ok thats not exactly right, but you get the idea) - i think this would be one of the main reasons to buy Adobe. Here another:
THE WEB APPs:
We all know WebObjekts is lonely for several years without improvments. Apple can take Adobe´s web-design-apps and merge them with WebObjekts to develop an innovative new web-design-app with a few next-generation-funktions.
PREMIERE?
I don´t know but Apple wouldn´t sell it! They don´t create an enemy when they have the apportunity do destroy them. Maybe they merge it with there product but that is unlikly for me.
Maybe the set it Windows-EOL like they should do it with the rest of the next CS4-Suite.
Antony, why are you so sure that Apple is (quote:)"forced to support a big non-Mac user base"? When you look on the big decisions, Steve Jobs made boldly in the past, it´s absolutly possible, that he will do such bold move (set CS-Suite for Windows End-Of-Live) in the future again! If one CEO in the tec-world has the ball to do it - then Steve Jobs.

And we all know that.

MJ | May 08, 2008 | 9:55AM

For me it seems that Bob and Anthony are about right. The history of Apple tells me, Jobs is always thinking between our all thoughts. Don´t have a clue what i´m talkin´ about?

I think that Steve Jobs is really want to takin´ control over Adobe - especially over Flash, whether its through buyin´ Adobe or some other "of the hook"-ways, he will surprise as like so many times. Let´s assume that he want to buy them, just because it´s the only way we can imagine when we talkin´ about "talking control", ok?
So if i try to get in Steve´s head and i´m buyin´Adobe, i would do 2 things:
1.) drop Flash-development and merging it with QuickTime or take the code trash it.
2.) Rip apart the CS-Suite to merging/replace it with own ProApps. Why? To make the CS-Suite 64bit for OS X, it largly has to get rewritten - by going cocoa - anyway.
So why not take them now and transform them in really cool maclike cocoa-apps with all the nice new APIs out of it themselve - and set "CS4 for windows" EOL. Going Mac-only and/or offer "Windows-Light-Versions" only. App-Examples?
PHOTOSHOP:
This move should buy Apple some time to make out of it his own Apple-Photoshop without beginning from the skretch (ok thats not exactly right, but you get the idea) - i think this would be one of the main reasons to buy Adobe. Here another:
THE WEB APPs:
We all know WebObjekts is lonely for several years without improvments. Apple can take Adobe´s web-design-apps and merge them with WebObjekts to develop an innovative new web-design-app with a few next-generation-funktions.
PREMIERE?
I don´t know but Apple wouldn´t sell it! They don´t create an enemy when they have the apportunity do destroy them. Maybe they merge it with there product but that is unlikly for me.
Maybe the set it Windows-EOL like they should do it with the rest of the next CS4-Suite.
Antony, why are you so sure that Apple is (quote:)"forced to support a big non-Mac user base"? When you look on the big decisions, Steve Jobs made boldly in the past, it´s absolutly possible, that he will do such bold move (set CS-Suite for Windows End-Of-Live) in the future again! If one CEO in the tec-world has the ball to do it - then Steve Jobs.

And we all know that.

MJ | May 08, 2008 | 9:56AM

...mh i forgot something important here...

All that above would to one more thing:
DRIVE HARDWARE-SALES NUTS!

And that is all what Steve Jobs is thinkin about!

MJ | May 08, 2008 | 10:03AM

(sorry it should say: ...do one more thing...)

MJ - again | May 08, 2008 | 10:05AM

(sorry it should say: ...do one more thing...)

MJ - again | May 08, 2008 | 10:06AM

SORRY GUYS FOR DOUBLE-POSTING here, my Safari sucks on this Captcha-security-thing here. It posted, but said the Captcha-words where wrong. I don´t get it.
SORRY AGAIN

MJ - again | May 08, 2008 | 10:22AM

Apple could have bought Macromedia, thus Flash, when it had the chance. Not much foresight into future then was there?
Rather than buying Adobe to gets its hands on Flash, why not buy in as a partner with Adobe on the development of Flash? Apple becomes a 50/50 owner of Flash, has some control of how it works on its hardware, and doesn't have to endure the stomachache and expense of assimilating all of a Adobe.

Kevin Kunreuther | May 08, 2008 | 3:05PM

Bob, one good question. If Apple really intends to own Adobe, hence Flash, why did Apple cleaned every trace of Flash from Quicktime and its own apple.com domain? It doesn't make sense does it? So does your conclusion of Apple buying Adobe for Flash is a complete bu77 and completely based on non-facts to back it up.

Correction: it was Amelio who tried to spin off Filemaker, Inc. as an independent company from the former Claris Corp. Remember now?

I still admire your deep thoughts on other matters like The Big G's dark fibers and "peering" potential in the future. Just back up your other assumptions with real, not imagined, facts next time.

Cheers!
-Robomac

P.S. I hate the CAPTCHA. It is more counter-intuitive than helpful.

Robomac | May 08, 2008 | 7:33PM

Okay. Since this was written, Apple has stated they are not selling their professional video applications. To your point that more wedding videographers use Apple software and hardware than all of the studios, this just doesn't make sense. I thought at one point Apple would buy Adobe as well, but all the legacy code garbage is kinda worthless. Apeture is growing up to be a Photoshop killer. I would be surprised to see Apple just join or buy Inkscape and start destroying Illustrator, a crappy piece of bloatware. Why not make Pages Pro and take on InDesign? Your article is interesting, but just doesn't make sense to me.

J>B | May 09, 2008 | 12:55AM

Okay. Since this was written, Apple has stated they are not selling their professional video applications. To your point that more wedding videographers use Apple software and hardware than all of the studios, this just doesn't make sense. I thought at one point Apple would buy Adobe as well, but all the legacy code garbage is kinda worthless. Apeture is growing up to be a Photoshop killer. I would be surprised to see Apple just join or buy Inkscape and start destroying Illustrator, a crappy piece of bloatware. Why not make Pages Pro and take on InDesign? Your article is interesting, but just doesn't make sense to me.

J>B | May 09, 2008 | 12:56AM

Okay. Since this was written, Apple has stated they are not selling their professional video applications. To your point that more wedding videographers use Apple software and hardware than all of the studios, this just doesn't make sense. I thought at one point Apple would buy Adobe as well, but all the legacy code garbage is kinda worthless. Apeture is growing up to be a Photoshop killer. I would be surprised to see Apple just join or buy Inkscape and start destroying Illustrator, a crappy piece of bloatware. Why not make Pages Pro and take on InDesign? Your article is interesting, but just doesn't make sense to me.

J>B | May 09, 2008 | 12:57AM

In fact, if Apple should buy anyone it should be Indigo or Alias to really get into modeling and vector stuff.

J>B | May 09, 2008 | 12:59AM

Amazing! Apple has as much spare cash as the entire government of Australia...

Richard Prankerd | May 09, 2008 | 1:25AM

noon on Friday and still no column !!! - guess I'll have to go read the fake Cringely at InfoWorld

gstritch | May 09, 2008 | 2:40PM

Weeeee bit late on the alias buyout bro. Autodesk beat them to it.

Also in case you forgot Apple (through Steve Jobs) already owns a *good* renderer. PRMan.

Gavin Greenwalt | May 10, 2008 | 5:33PM

I hope they buy adobe and kill premiere as well as all the pc versions of the sw. At last the end of windows is near.......

mortal | May 12, 2008 | 12:28PM

PBS can't provide a listing for your show. I pasted The Transformation Age Opening with Robert X. Cringely and using my zipcode of 30152... Nothing that is similar.

Chris | May 14, 2008 | 10:20PM

I think everyone in tech plays that movie game at some point. My own role was to be played by David Caruso (think NYPD Blue, and not CSI Miami).

Who would play you?

Nick Danger | May 15, 2008 | 3:23PM

What about the anti-trust issues of the dominant positions of Quicktime / Flash?

Paulm | May 16, 2008 | 1:08PM