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Why Apple Should Acquire Adobe 410

Posted by Zonk
from the maybe-one-day-they'll-care-about-games-too dept.
aabode writes "OSWeekly.com's Brandon Watts suggests that Apple should acquire Adobe. Why? 'While Apple has done a great job of developing media applications for beginners (the iLife suite is a good example of this), they could use a boost on the professional side. Granted, Final Cut Studio has become the standard when it comes to professional video editing, and Logic Studio is a great professional solution for editing audio, but what about the graphics and Web design segments of the market? If people want tools to support these interests on the Mac, then they turn to Adobe.'"
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Why Apple Should Acquire Adobe

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  • What? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jackelfish (831732) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:18PM (#21214185)
    I really fail to see why this is interesting.
    • Tag: stupidpundit (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816)
      The editors seem to have a fascination with stupid pundits. Shall we tag this and similar stories stupidpundit?

      Here's one big collective stupidpundit story: when Leopard came out, a bunch of pundits crowed that it was a big leap forward, filesystemwise. Why? Because Leopard has gone over to ZFS as the main file system, and ZFS is the first really new file system in decades.

      Except that Leopard hasn't gone over to ZFS. It doesn't even support read-write access to ZFS. Why did so many pundits get it so wrong?
  • by skydude_20 (307538) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:18PM (#21214187) Journal
    monopoly, it was real fun...

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:15PM (#21215091)
      Thank you. There should be competition among proprietary products, that is the only way that they improve.
    • by MurrayTodd (92102) * on Friday November 02, 2007 @08:14PM (#21219745) Homepage
      No, this wouldn't be the game of Monopoly, but it would be a familiar Wall Street game of corporate take-over... and a stupid one at that.

      After the Time Warner / AOL fiasco has resolved into a case of "what were they thinking!?!" and BEA smartly tells Oracle to stuff it, let's look at the idea of Apple taking over Adobe.

      First of all, Apple is a company that CEO Steve Jobs has somehow managed to steer into remarkable growth. Ten years ago they merged and integrated with NeXT. Probably not all that hard since both were Steve's babies and both were geographically located in the same place and both were relatively small in terms of staff size. I'm sure the corporate culture transformation had its bumps, but not too bad.

      Just imagine merging Apple and Adobe, which I believe is housed in Seattle. Now we're talking about a two-campus company, rewriting the corporate management style-guide, firing sales staff and overlapping departments, yada yada yada. That would be mess #1.

      Then think about the move of the Adobe code to Apple technology standards. Only an idiot would think Photoshop needs to be re-written as a Cocoa app. Do you really think we would get a better version of Creative Suite 4 next technology cycle? The new product development plans would evolve into mess #2.

      Apple does what it does well: they REALLY innovate and focus on User Interface evolution. They see software market opportunities (Final Cut Pro, iLife, Aperture, etc.) and they expand their product line slowly and carefully. They are for the computer industry what Southwest Airlines has been for the Airline Industry for the past 30 years. If they bought Adobe (and other vulnerable software companies) "just because" without any strategy or focus they would become as irrelevant as Sony or Microsoft are becoming.

      Now what would be nice would be seeing them slowly and steadily applying their cash into the hiring and development of the best & brightest of computer programming (and hardware engineering and design) talent. Don't buy Adobe and get stuck with some brilliant and some mediocre programmers; poach the top talent away from Adobe with top paychecks. That's my Good Idea #1.

      I have one more Good Idea #2: create an incubation machine that finds programming talent and innovative spirit and spins off small software companies that can write incredible native-Apple killer apps. Apple has the corporate strategy, the design methodology, and the technology. They also exist in only one geographic location in the country. (And I, a developer in New York City, would kill for an opportunity to do Apple-platform development without moving to CA.) And I will agree that there are many apps and utilities that are needed--especially in the business/corporate IT niche--that exceed what the small Shareware developers can manage. If Apple could spin-off smaller Apple subsidiaries that had a stronger link to "the mothership", and if Apple invested some of its cash reserves into ongoing but cash-strapped projects (Gimp and OpenOffice are real, albeit imperfect, examples) we might get somewhere.

      The really interesting challenge will be if Apple can grow in size while avoiding the bureaucratic morass that large corporations so often become. We shall see what the future holds...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by starrsoft (745524) *
      Exactly. When MS does it, it's a monopoly. When Apple does it, it's a good idea.
  • Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ByOhTek (1181381)
    Sorry, but honestly, Apple could develop better stuff than Adobe. The only company that should even consider buying Adobe is MS - they are the ones with the track record of buying crap and making it better (note: I didn't say "good" or "perfect", as they don't always manage the first, and the last is impossible).

    Apple should stick to what they are good at - making applications that do what they are supposed to do, de-novo.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Sorry, but honestly, Apple could develop better stuff than Adobe.

      True they could make better stuff than Adobe, but it seems advantageous to add, improve, and give the nice little Apple touches that we all love so much (save the newest version of iMovie) to already industry standard software. They can save tens of millions of dollars in development costs by tapping into an already established, high revenue generating company and tweaking it.

      It seems unlikely that they would screw it up, but you never know

    • Other way around...? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:36PM (#21214465) Homepage

      If you ask me, Adobe shouldn't be looking to be acquired by an OS-maker. Instead, Adobe should be looking to acquire an OS.

      I've been working in IT for various kinds of media companies, and in a lot of cases, there are people whose entire jobs are centered around using Adobe apps. You could throw Adobe CS3 on any system and any OS, and those people would still be able to do their jobs just fine. The OS doesn't matter.

      So let's say Adobe develops their own Linux/BSD variant or buys someone else's. With very little work on their end, they could actually become a competitor to Microsoft. What often keeps linux from a lot of desktop these days is the lack of specific professional media applications. Adobe could make their own port of OpenOffice/Evolution/Linux, bundle that with Adobe CS3, and have a pretty formidable media/business desktop OS.

      • by zeromorph (1009305) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:52PM (#21214707)

        What would they gain from that?

        The goal of a corporation in capitalism is to maximize their profit. They would have to invest massively in developing and maintaining a OS and wouldn't get much more revenue, so what's the point?

        • by pipatron (966506)

          They would have to invest massively in developing and maintaining a OS

          Thousands of people have been working for over 20 years to create a perfectly fine operating system which is completely free for them to take and customize. If they want to support the customization, they can give it back to the main tree and let the community maintain it.

          http://www.fsckin.com/2007/10/05/giving-away-software-for-free-costs-more-than-you-would-think-part-3/ [fsckin.com]

        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:16PM (#21215099) Homepage

          What they would gain is true platform independence. Right now, they do a lot to support Microsoft in MS's battle against Linux. Meanwhile, Microsoft is trying to screw Adobe over by creating competing applications and formats. Long-term, it's a losing proposition for Adobe. If Microsoft manages to displace PDF, Photoshop, and Flash (as is Microsoft's goal), Adobe will be severely hurt.

          If they were able to support Linux/Unix (beyond OSX), then Microsoft would have a harder time forcing users into using the competing Microsoft products. Right now, if Microsoft changes their OS to break PDF while pushing their own format, it's still at the point where they could theoretically get people to drop PDF. It's not likely, but it's possible, since Adobe is still so tied to MS.

          So, in short, Adobe is reliant on Microsoft and Apple to deliver their applications to users. Being able to put their apps on an open-source platform is potentially valuable. However, supporting Linux/BSD is complicated by all the different distros. They'd probably have to pick a distro to support, and at that point, they may as well take a particular distro and brand their own branded version. They could still rely on the open source community for security updates and the like, but it would enable them to build flash/PDF into the OS in interesting ways, possibly improving efficiency.

          Anyway, I'm not saying it will happen or even that it should happen. I'm just saying that, if I were running Adobe, I'd be more interested in branding my own version of Linux (while continuing to make my applications for Windows and OSX) than I would be in making my products OSX-only or Windows-only. I think that if I ran Adobe, I'd probably have some level of internal development for Linux in case Ubuntu actually managed to grab some market share.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 7Prime (871679)
        You have to realize that Adobe thrives off of students getting on board with their products. What do students use? Windows and Mac OS (and Linux to a lesser degree). It was even suggested, somewhere, that Adobe would be nothing without piracy, and that the company even knew about it and accepted it. The fact is, Photoshop and InDesign are used from the high school newspaper to National Geographic, if you cut off the insentive to use them at a lower level, before long, you'd have National Geographic moving b
      • by p0tat03 (985078) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:09PM (#21215009)
        You've seen a very limited segment of Adobe's market then. In my industry (3D animation) an artist may have Photoshop, Illustrator, 3dsmax, Maya, or any number of other packages (much of it by Autodesk) open at once. Clearly they all need to be on the same OS. This is also why IMHO Adobe needs to look long and hard at porting their products to Linux - animation shops are now moving in a huge way towards Linux workstations (better integration with 'nix render farms, among other things). If anything Adobe wants to buy Autodesk (or the other way around), since those tools are so closely tied together.
    • by soft_guy (534437) *
      Microsoft also has a habit of buying good stuff and ruining it (Connectix).
    • The biggest reason Apple should want to acquire Adobe is that Apple could evolve the apps so they are really satisfactory only under an Apple OS and on an Apple hardware platform. Kind of like "embrace and extend", except it's Apple, and so I think we're not supposed to call it that.
  • by Bazman (4849) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:18PM (#21214195) Journal
    ...what they did with Emagic. Emagic Logic, lovely music sequencing program, worked on Windows and Macs. Apple buy them up, first thing they do, "sorry guys, its going Mac only".

      Now, if they do that with Adobe software, what do you think will happen?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)

      Now, if they do that with Adobe software, what do you think will happen?
      One of two things. Either a load of designers would switch to the GIMP, or they would all but Macs. One of these things is likely, the other is not.
      • Neither... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by denzacar (181829)
        Adobe is not Photoshop.
        And neither is Gimp.

        Comparing Gimp to Photoshop is like comparing the newest laser printer to a early '90s ink-jet printer.

        As for Apple buying Adobe, and then going Apple only - that would burry both companies.
        Think about it.
        You'd have a de facto industry standard (not to mention household name) that is bought up and switched from "ANY computer in the world"-market to a 5%-world market.

        99% market share turned into a 5% market share.
        Apples shares wouldn't be worth the ink used to print
    • At first, lots more macs get sold.

      In the long run, a real competitor to Adobe products is born.

      Sounds like a losing situation.
    • not much since anyone who really uses Adobe for what its meant for uses a Mac. The slim few design houses that use PC would either have to

      1) move to the Mac like everyone else.

      2) use something else and deal with the fact that they are not sticking to a standard, which they where not anyway since they used a PC in a field that is like 80% Apple.

      Not to mention the fact that while Photoshop and Illustrator is used by basically everyone, InDesign is not and still has major competition from Quark, so PC us

      • by Wordsmith (183749)
        I've been working in newspapers and related fields for about 10 years. Over the last five, in my personal experience (which may or may not represent anything at all), I've seen a lot more PCs than Macs used for page layout, and I've seen it go about 50/50 on other forms of design. The tools are so similar between platforms that a lot of shops don't seem to really care any longer which types of machines they're using, and the PC commodity hardware is cheaper.
      • Outside of a huge number of corporate clients running Adobe apps in Citrix environments or on Windows. It's a cash cow. Adobe wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't.
    • re: EMagic Logic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by King_TJ (85913) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:38PM (#21214491) Journal
      Well, this was *probably* done as a retaliatory move on Apple's part, as much as anything. Apple traditionally had a good foothold in the MIDI music, sequencing, and hard disk recording sectors - but Windows-only products were eating away at their market share. (Think products like Cakewalk Sonar, for example, or ACID Pro, or Gigastudio.)

      Furthermore, some of the music gear out there was starting to only include Windows software for the purpose of editing or cataloging sound patches. (I remember buying a Yamaha Motif synthesizer a few years ago, and the only Mac software tools it included were for Mac OS 9.x only. OS X support was "coming soon" for pretty much the whole time I owned it.)

      Apple wanted to create at least one more good reason to choose a Mac as a musician.

      With Adobe, it's a whole different situation. For starters, Adobe uses their own methods of software development, which appear to be Windows-centric. (All of their new apps for OS X are supporting Intel Mac only, as opposed to "Universal binaries" that work with PPC Macs too. That would indicate they're not writing this stuff with Apple's xcode tools at all, but rather, doing some kind of ports directly over from their Windows versions.) I don't think Apple would want to buy out an entire product line that they'd have to re-code using xcode, before it would even be up to the standards they endorse of supporting both architectures.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Skuld-Chan (302449)
        All of their new apps for OS X are supporting Intel Mac only, as opposed to "Universal binaries" that work with PPC Macs too

        All is a bit strong a word. Some of their video apps are intel only (After Effects is Universal), all the rest (including all the apps from Design/Web collections) are universal.
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:20PM (#21214225) Homepage Journal
    Pros and Cons:

    Pros: establishes Apple as THE platform for photographers and designers by removing the Windows competition. Sure, Apple could continue to fund the development of Photoshop and Illustrator for Windows. But the latest and greatest version would always appear on the Macintosh first.

    Cons: even with its current pile of money (iPhone and Ipod are two very successful products after all), I am not sure Apple has enough money to buy Adobe. Not to mention Microsoft would certainly file an anti-trust suit. It also raises all kind of legal snafus in Europe for instance, which would certainly frown upon it.

    Cons: Postscript and PDF are both open standards. I am not sure I'd like to see Apple control their future.

    So, yes, and interesting prospect. Still pretty unlikely, though.
    • Not to mention Microsoft would certainly file an anti-trust suit.


      You seriously think what Microsoft wants right now is to set a legal precedent saying acquisition of third parties could be an anti-trust matter? That's about as likely as RMS winning a swim-suit contest and then flying home on his patented GM-pig.
    • Other reasons for not wanting to see this happen:
        - Apple needs some sort decent competition in this arena
        - What does it really do for Apple?
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:05PM (#21217593)

      Not to mention Microsoft would certainly file an anti-trust suit

      Oh, that'll be rich.

      MS Lawyer: Your honor, this deal will create a monopoly for Apple.
      Judge: I don't quite see it, please elaborate.
      MS Lawyer: Trust us, if anyone knows anything about being a monopoly, it's Microsoft and--
      [kicked in shins by Ballmer and Gates]
      um, I mean, we have some experience with dealing with other monopolies like Linux, for example.

  • by netsavior (627338) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:22PM (#21214255)
    I was wondering if there was a way to make Flash, Quicktime, and PDFs work WORSE than they already do... the answer: Obviously you should bundle them together.

    Imagine an app that takes over ALL file extensions on every windows box, makes it impossible to look at any image, any document, and any web page!

    I always thought that the fact that iTunes/Quicktime basically destroy windows PCs was a calculated move. I could never understand why Adobe Reader had a simmilar effect. If you could do the same to Flash it would be the last nail in the coffin for the home user of Windows. Since he who controls flash controls the civilian entertain-web, I would be surprised if there was not a google, MS, Apple bidding war for them. I am actually suprised it hasn't happened yet.

    There has been nothing in the past that I have though had the power to kill Windows for the home user than a version of flash that plain does not work right on the PC, like Reader and Quicktime before it.
  • Besides the obvious "Why?" that this article must prompt in anyone with some common sense, could Apple even afford it? Now I didn't RTFA but I search for the word 'afford' in it and I didn't find anything..

    More seriously I'm asking if they could afford it because Adobe is huge, it has swallowed Macromedia whole, and I think that if Microsoft could have bought them, they would have done it a long time ago, right? So could Apple even do that, besides the questionable interest of doing such a thing?

    • I don't have any numbers, but I would guess that Apple could buy Adobe if they really wanted to. Apple is bigger than you'd probably think.
    • by njfuzzy (734116)
      Apple has something like $16 Billion in cash in the bank, and a market capitalization of over $160 Billion. Adobe has a market capitalization of about $27 Billion. In other words, Apple could buy 50+% of Adobe for cash, and it would be easy to buy the rest by making it a "cash plus stock" deal or "merger". Either way, Apple could control Adobe as soon as it passed the regulators, if it decided to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darth (29071)
      Besides the obvious "Why?" that this article must prompt in anyone with some common sense, could Apple even afford it?

      Adobe has a market cap of 27.36 billion dollars.

      Apple has cash reserves of 15 billion dollars and no debt. Apple also made 24 billion dollars in revenue this year (3.5 billion net income).
      If Apple wanted to buy Adobe, and didn't mind taking on some debt temporarily, they could.

      I don't think they will. I also don't think Adobe would be particularly interested in selling. An attempt to do so a
  • by DLG (14172) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:24PM (#21214299)
    Sometimes its fun to write an entire column based on an incredibly unlikely and impractical idea. If we are going to make up crap based on conversations with our wives, I propose Apple buys a real Time Machine, goes back in time to 3000 years ago and begins a superior civilization in the North Americas, so that we have populated the Galaxy by tomorrow. And one more thing... Super Intelligent Llamas.

    Any other fricken fantasy stories we need to get promoted as actual 'News For Nerds. Stuff That Matters'?
  • Ironic... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by theheff (894014) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:25PM (#21214309)
    ...how someone can suggest this when the most basic but most widely-used Adobe product, Flash player, is a giant flaming CPU-hogging turd in OS X.
    • Re:Ironic... (Score:5, Informative)

      by moosesocks (264553) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:40PM (#21214519) Homepage
      MOD PARENT UP

      I don't really understand why it doesn't get more attention, but the Mac OS X Adobe Flash player has to easily be one of the worst pieces of software ever written.

      CPU spikes up to 100% are common if a flash banner ad loads. Youtube will suck the life out of even a recent Core Duo Intel Mac. Loading a page on MySpace can sometimes render the system useless for a few minutes.

      Thank God for FlashBlock [mozdev.org].

      Come to think of it, most of Adobe's codebase is very poorly supported on the Mac. Even Photoshop is starting to feel quite dated.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pavon (30274)
        I'm trying to remember the details, but I do recall reading a blog entry by one of the Mozilla developers explaining that the reason for the horrible performance of Flash on the Mac was the result of a bone-headed decision in the Netscape plug-in architecture. Something to do with excessive polling being required. He claimed there wasn't much that Macromedia^W Adobe could do to fix the problem until the Safari/Mozilla/Other developers got together and developed a new plug-in architecture for the Mac.
    • Re:Ironic... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:52PM (#21214701) Homepage

      Because the two most widely-used Adobe products, Flash player and Acrobat Reader, are both flaming CPU-hogging turds on whatever OS they're on.

  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:28PM (#21214363)
    Cause the writer of the article has stock in (company) and wants to make a quick buck...

    I know I've seen this same headline with Nintendo there, and I can't help but think there've been others. I just don't care enough to search. If Apple wanted to buy something, they'd buy it. I think Apple's pretty happy where they are though.
  • by LWATCDR (28044)
    I hate to say it but Microsoft's Steve was right when he said, "Developers, developers, developers.". Adobe is one of the few big developers that actually support them Mac. They have supported Mac since the start. I feel this would have a chilling effect on the Mac development community. Let Adobe stay Adobe and Apple stay Apple.
  • by Indy1 (99447) <spamtrap@fuckedregime.com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:32PM (#21214409) Homepage
    Adobe's products have gotten insanely bloated and crappy the past 5 years, and Apple isn't doing much better either. Quicktime and Itunes love to autorun 8 tons of horsecrap, and Adobe does the same + does a bunch of bullshit activation too. Acrobat Reader has become such a disaster that anyone with a clue has dumped it for Foxit (We just did that at work for 500+ workstations, and we are HEAVY users of the pdf format).

    I can see it now. Adobe Quicktime Version 13 Profesional will have 5 autostart services, have mandatory bullshit activation every time it's actively used + background activation every 60 minutes, hijack all your multimedia settings, require 2 gigabytes of disk space and 4 gigabytes of ram, and kill your dog for good measure.
    • by dave420 (699308)
      Seriously. Currently, my iTunes is using up 205MB and Flash CS3 is using up 126MB. Apple make great machines, but their take on cross-platform development is, quite frankly, ludicrous.
      • iTunes runs fine on my 6-year-old iBook G3. You're problem seems to be platform dependant.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        You must have some wierd issues. iTunes on my machine is 18megs. That is similar to other machines I run it on.
        205MB! I certainly would stop using it if I saw that kind of foot print.
    • by Sark666 (756464)

      These are times when +6 is required.
    • by ivan256 (17499)

      Adobe's products have gotten insanely bloated and crappy the past 5 years


      Curiously right around the same time they embedded Internet Explorer controls all over their products...
  • Why not TiVo? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PapayaSF (721268) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:32PM (#21214421) Journal

    Adobe makes sense as an acquisition, but more people watch TV than use Photoshop. And, of course, Apple is moving more into consumer electronics. They should buy TiVo, redo the interface in a slick Apple way, and link it to the iTunes Movie Store. At the same time, sell them alongside big, beautiful Apple-brand HDTVs with well-designed connections and controls, which is a weak point on other HDTVs.

    Also, come out with some sort of mini-tower Mac in between (in cost and features) the Mini and the Mac Pro....

    • I wouldn't mind seeing iTunes's movie-purchase functionality hitched up with Netflix's online movie rental stuff, both delivered over an AppleTV.

      Of course, it's not going to happen. Media companies are already too afraid of Apple, and would probably find a way to punish apple for a move like that, even if Apple were ready to go for it.

    • Apple should wait for the cable card mess to be fixed before that and that maybe way the apple tv is not a DVR as well.
    • by jedidiah (1196)
      Tivo is the gold standard in PVR interfaces.

      The abolute LAST thing it needs is for a bunch of
      out of touch idiots from Apple mucking around and
      trying to fix what isn't broken.
  • by mweather (1089505) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:34PM (#21214437)
    Don't vim and emacs run on OSX?
  • Do one thing well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:35PM (#21214447) Journal
    At least that's what our department head, the guy with advanced degrees in engineering and marketing, says. His claim is: companies that buy other companies who do something similar end up diluting themselves and losing maneuverability.
    Apple's already designing hardware *and* operating systems *and* lots of applications. Do they need to spend money on *more* applications, when those applications are currently being managed by someone else who knows how to market them, and whose marketing helps drive Apple's sales effectively for free?
    • Good point. It's also worth noting that, often enough, Apple has developed applications when there's some void that no developers are servicing. If they start being too aggressive and taking over too much of their own application development, it will probably drive developers away from Mac because they won't want to compete with the sole OS/hardware vendor for the platform.
  • Opportunity Costs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:35PM (#21214457)
    While it might seem that Adobe would make a good acquisition for Apple there are several factors weighing against it IMHO. First, the price for Adobe, now that it includes the assets of the former Macromedia combined with the many successful core Adobe products, would be very high indeed for Apple. Apple might do better by reserving such a large chunk of their available investment capital, assuming that they could finance the purchase (haven't checked the respective balance sheets of the companies, but Yahoo Finance [yahoo.com] could probably get someone a ballpark estimate if they were interested), for internal R&D, improvements to their core products, OSX Leopard for example, and especially their profitable iPhone and iPod hardware sales and services which brings up the second and main point:

    The iPhone, iPod, and iTunes angles are so profitable for Apple that it would be hard to justify NOT investing the maximum available capital or the last available profitable investment dollar (where marginal return exceeds marginal cost of investing one more dollar) into the expanding entertainment hardware and media business. The opportunity cost [wikipedia.org] of buying Adobe instead of or at the expense of continued investment in the profitable iPhone, iPod, and iTunes markets may simply be too high, even though Adobe might be a good fit for Apple at least conceptually, to justify.

    Disclaimer: I am neither an Apple nor an Adobe shareholder and I have no personal financial interest in either company.
  • This is a horrible idea. It might be a boon for Apple but it would ruin Adobe and their great line of software that they have aquired. Adobe screws things up every once in a while (Adobe Reader bugs anybody?) but their content creation and editing software is the best. If Apple bought them they would stop putting out software for PC. This will just add fuel to the fire of their fallacious argument about PC software being really buggy while Apple software is great and magical and delicious! It's poppycock!
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Yes, apple would by it to shut out a huge piece of the market.
      OS X does have far fewer bugs then Vista, with a better turn around time.

      Don't forget they are different OS, designed by different people, with different architecture, with different methodology, managed differently.

  • by Trillan (597339) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:38PM (#21214487) Homepage Journal
    WItness that Mac OS X 10.4 and later come with a complete set of Photoshop clone construction tools. See Acorn [flyingmeat.com], DrawIt [getdrawit.com], Pixelmator [pixelmator.com] and even later versions of GraphicConverter [lemkesoft.com]. Adobe dragged their heels too long.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moosesocks (264553)
      I second the recommendation for Pixelmator.

      It's not quite Photoshop, but it's also 1/10 the price, and does a few very cool things that Photoshop does not, and is blazing fast on my relatively modest machine. For a first version, it's pretty darned impressive.

      The GIMP guys really need to take a good hard look at it, and then go cry to themselves in a dark corner.

      And I completely second the notion that Adobe's completely lost its focus. Photoshop's turning into a hulking dinosaur, and the rest of their pr
      • by Trillan (597339)
        I don't think any of these tools are at the level of Photoshop yet. But it's clear to me that Apple's done most of the heavy lifting (read: hard math), and these apps will get as close to Photoshop as they want over the coming year or two.

        Me, I haven't bought any of them yet. I've been paralyzed by the number of options out there, and I only found out about DrawIt a few days ago. It's a good time to be looking for a Mac OS X graphics tool.
    • mod parent up as interesting -- some of these free apps look interesting

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Really those applications are the result (I think, maybe I'm wrong?) of Apple giving developers CoreImage, thereby lowering the entry barrier for making a graphics application. However, they're really not up to the level of competing with Photoshop/Illustrator for professional tools. At least not yet.

      People who don't understand why Adobe is so dominant are the people who don't understand the difference between editing some GIFs for your webpage vs. being a graphic design pro. Photoshop and Illustrator a

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Trillan (597339)
        Oh, I agree, they're not up to Photoshop. They'll never take that position.

        But Core Image has lowered the barrier so much that these applications are introduced as good products, and have time to gradually build the features that casual Photoshop users need. They'll never replace Photoshop for everyone, but I bet over the next few years they can replace Photoshop for all but the most serious professionals.

        Over time, these tools will become as alike Photoshop as they want to be. Hopefully, though, the devel
  • Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if they bought Adobe. They've made some pretty big acquisitions of software developers in the past, the most relevant to me being their acquisition of eMagic, the developers of Logic Audio. Now Logic is one of Apple's key "Pro" applications, and they used the Logic technology to build their included-with-every-new-Mac "GarageBand" software (thus increasing the value of their platform - now you can produce music with every new Mac).

    Considering that the vast majority of gr
  • by 7Prime (871679)
    Finally, we have two great design software companies that have really good interface sense, competing with each other. Why would we want them to join? No, the best thing would be to let them (especially Adobe) spread into other design fields. I'd like to see an Adobe audio suite (like logic or Digital Performer)... but what *I*, personally, really want to see is Adobe tackle the seemingly impossible-to-make-good music notation software market, give Finale and Sibelius a well-deserved run for their money. Ap
  • by jordandeamattson (261036) <jordandm@gma i l . c om> on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:51PM (#21214677) Homepage
    This proposal isn't like most out there (small fry buying company 10 times their size, etc.) which are completely outside the realm of possibility.

    ADBE's market cap is 16% (27 Billion) of AAPL's market cap (167 Billion). APPL has $15 Billion in cash on the books, so this couldn't be an all cash deal, but it could be a mix of stock and cash or an all stock deal.

    It is worth considering an AAPL acquisition of ADBE. Of course, AAPL would have to offer a premium. If I was putting together the deal, I would offer 1 AAPL share for 4 ADBE shares and $10 a share in cash.

    This would value ADBE at 46.75 + $10 = $56.75 a share. This is an 18% permium to today's price. That is a reasonable premium on ADBE's current valuation.

    Yours,

    Jordan
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday November 02, 2007 @01:51PM (#21214687)

    Granted, Final Cut Studio has become the standard when it comes to professional video editing, and Logic Studio is a great professional solution for editing audio, but what about the graphics and Web design segments of the market? If people want tools to support these interests on the Mac, then they turn to Adobe.

    It boils down to this: Pick the battles you can win.

    Quick, everyone, let's jump in the wayback machine to the 90's, when Apple "made" just about everything under the sun. And was doing a pretty shit job of it, and suffering for it. Part of what brought back Apple was Steve saying "what the fuck are we doing making digital cameras and a dozen different desktop computers?" They dropped all the shit products Apple was screwing around with, and simplified the product line down to just two laptop models and three desktops, all with clearly delineated target audiences and design.

    Apple has benefited for two reasons: their business capabilities are not diluted as much, and consumers find the buying experience easier and simpler.

    I've needed to buy a new bike and a cell phone recently. Both industries are chock full of companies that will offer you DOZENS of different products that are all every so slightly different; go look at Nokia's website sometime. Fifty goddamn phones, when really there's only 3-4 categories of 'em.

    Apple has acquired sotware packages and such when (I believe) they felt it would benefit the platform, or there was a deal to be had. This is the same reasoning behind the various Apple peripherals we were inundated with in the 90's; nobody else made a good Appletalk laser printer, so Apple said "dammit, we'll do it ourselves." It made sense to some degree, bolstered by the fact that schools liked to buy everything from one place. It's nice to be able to get everything for your gradeschool lab from one place. To some degree.

    That's the challenge I think Apple will face in the future: not getting caught up in too many product areas trying to support the platform, to the extent that both the core hardware suffers and the sideline stuff no longer becomes compelling.

  • So, Apple should buy Adobe in order to stop them developing products on windows, hence forcing design houses up and down the land to use Apple exclusively? Great! Even Ballmer hasn't yet conceived something that blatantly anti-competitive or stupid.

    You fanboys don't do yourself any favours.

  • by stinkbomb (238228) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:01PM (#21214877)
    My natural reaction to any blog-sourced article is to ask who the hell is this person and why should consider their opinion credible at all. Unfortunately, there's no bio at all for this Brandon Watts. Another pointless blog-spam as far as I'm concerned.
  • Apple has tended to bring apps and services to the Windows world, not buy Windows apps and kill them.

    Quicktime has long been available on Windows. And, iTunes is there, too. Apple even contributes to open source.

    Microsoft got their application start on Macs, and continues to support Office there. Adobe started with their apps on the Macintosh, and support them now on both Macs and Windows.

    Apple provides entry level apps with the system. They also have some some pro apps. Other vendors provide professional a
  • by BearRanger (945122) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:02PM (#21214895)
    But that doesn't mean they should spend it on Adobe, unless they've gotten wind of something the rest of us haven't.

    Apple has a pretty compelling story just now. They have a new OS with tools developers are excited about using. The Mac is gaining market share, so developers are more inclined to write software for the platform. That should include Adobe. However, much of Adobe's software is written using Apple's 32-bit Carbon framework. It will be an expensive proposition for Adobe to move forward and develop new 64-bit Cocoa versions of their code.

    If Apple could positively determine that Adobe was not going to make this investment it might make sense for them to buy them to make sure that it happened. Adobe software is hugely important to Apple--look at how many people held off making the transition to Intel Macs until CS3 was ready. Apple is not a huge company, employee-wise. They could eventually develop competing products at the cost of increasing their number of employees, a lead time to market and risking incompatibility with the existing market standard. Given those terms, purchasing Adobe could be the cheaper option.

    But unless Adobe plans to abandon the Mac this purchase wouldn't make much sense for Apple.
  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ImTheDarkcyde (759406)
    I know apple is a big company. They have gotten HUGE ever since that ipod thingy, absolutely massive. I'm sure they have a mind boggling amount of money just laying around.

    But do they really have the cash around to blow on photoshop, flash, etc? That has to be a staggaring amount of money. If I had the multimedia industry as cornered as adobe does, I don't think I'd sell for less than youtube.
  • by WillAdams (45638) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:09PM (#21215007) Homepage
    while Apple is pushing Cocoa.

    If Apple could've purchased a company, I wish it'd been Macromedia before Adobe got to them, and I _still_ wish that FreeHand had been saved one last time and that Adobe had been required to divest themselves of it.

    Apple really should haul out the old Sketch.app code and update it to a nice modern drawing program, ideally one as efficient and productive as FreeHand.

    William
    (who needs to find the time to dig into Cenon's, http://www.cenon.info/ [cenon.info] codebase)
  • by Morky (577776) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:23PM (#21215205)
    As long as Adobe continues to operate as a somewhat separate entity from Apple, it would be good for Apple. The loss of Adobe support at some point in the future could kill the Mac, so it makes sense from a future-proofing perspective. Microsoft is slowly and insidiously removing all of their products from the Mac platform, and I wouldn't be surprised if Office 2008 were the last product the Mac BU produces. With the likes of Neooffice (soon OpenOffice), and iWork, this is less of a threat than it would have once been. However, the loss of both Adobe and Microsoft would probably be more than the platform could bear. I think that dropping any Windows support for Adobe products would be a bad move, and Apple wouldn't do it. It would give rise to a new competitor in the niche they just took ownership of. They wouldn't give a up a monopoly in creative tools for the most popular platform on the planet.
  • Beg to differ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:25PM (#21215221) Homepage

    Final Cut Studio has become the standard when it comes to professional video editing

    FCP is very popular and making inroads to some pro shops but I wouldn't go so far as to call it "the standard" in professional video editing. Avid is still very popular in broadcast shops and Adobe still has a fair number of Premiere users out there. I'd go up against any of them with Sony Vegas. I'd give FCP the upper-middle range.

    If anyone should buy Adobe it should be Sony. Then they could both change their name to Sonobe One, which sounds like a Star Wars character.

  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Friday November 02, 2007 @03:19PM (#21216097) Homepage Journal
    Apple was one of Adobe's first investors. Adobe Postscript, implemented in the form of the Apple Laserwriter, was key to the Macintosh's early success for desktop publishing.

    But Apple designed its own font architecture for System 7, which was released in 1992. This was the now-familiar TrueType. I'm not real clear on the details, but I guess Apple and Adobe couldn't agree on font architectures, with Adobe preferring to stick with its Postscript fonts, so Apple sold its stock in Adobe. If my memory is correct, they made $69 million.

    Apple had at first announced that the Adobe Type Manager (ATM) software wouldn't work on System 7, as it was an extension, or "INIT", that installed a lot of patches in the OS. But after a widespread outcry, Apple relented and worked with Adobe to enable compatibility. Apple always hated INITs, as they prevented Apple from changing low-level APIs that would have broken the INITs' binary compatibility.

  • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Friday November 02, 2007 @04:16PM (#21216899)
    No, we don't need Flash to be even more closed. Apple, despite basing just about everything major on open-source code (OS-X, Safari, X, etc.) they don't seem very into making code open, and say if such a major thing such as Flash was acquired by an OS maker, they could alienate Linux users even more by not providing it. Despite saying that "OS-X is so good because small parts of it are open source" Apple hasn't released major software to Linux such as iTunes and then they try to block the ways us F/OSS programmers find ways around it. Apple is just about as hostile to open source as MS is, its just that Apple knows that Linux is good, MS just thinks it should be eliminated.
  • by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:06PM (#21217607) Homepage Journal

    Apple should buy Sony [macdailynews.com]. Apple should buy Sun [theregister.co.uk]. Apple should buy SGI [macdailynews.com]. Apple should buy Alias Research [ehmac.ca]. Apple should buy Nintendo [slashdot.org]. Apple should buy AMD [slashdot.org]. Apple should buy PortalPlayer [wikipedia.org]. Apple should buy Pixo [wikipedia.org]. Apple should buy Palm [slashdot.org]. Apple should buy into the 700 MHz spectrum [businessweek.com]. Apple should buy Pixar [cnn.com]. Apple should buy Disney [slashdot.org]. Apple should buy Universal [latimes.com]. Apple should buy TiVo [slashdot.org]. Apple should buy YouTube [gigaom.com].

    Apple has bought 2 years of flash memory [apple.com], 50 more acres of land in Cupertino [appleinsider.com], Next [wikipedia.org], Coverflow [wikipedia.org], CUPS [wikipedia.org], Emagic [wikipedia.org], Nothing Real [wikipedia.org], Soundjam MP [wikipedia.org], plus goodness knows what else (feel free to add to this list.)

    But Apple buying Adobe?

    That'd scare the heck out of a lot of folks. Apple has bought numerous products & smaller companies for code, patents, or teams before but Adobe (+ the former Macromedia) is a peer on the software side. That'd alienate the huge Windows userbase as well as freak out the many Adobe partners.

    And to gain what?

    Adobe already sells massively to Apple's customers. Sure their apps may lag, but Adobe has a huge set of codebases that has gone through 68000 -> PPC --> MacOS X --> x86, so if getting things up to speed & certified on each new iteration of MacOS X takes a bit that's not unreasonable.

    To Mac-ify the apps? Again, why? Sure Apple is famous for doing really good (if not perfect) UIs but Adobe has some serious credibility too. Indeed it's been pretty clear that Apple & Adobe competing directly in some areas has improved both offerings.

    Sorry, but I'm guessing Apple has enough on it's plate now. They'd just be complicating an already good, already mutually profitable situation for little reason or much greater profit.

    Indeed look at the list above of companies & products folks think Apple should have bought, and in retrospect consider if they really would have been good investments...

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