Blogs, forums and news sites have been running hot about some business meet at the highest level between Adobe and Microsoft, first reported by the New York Times. Aside from generating Adobe a few millions extra out of hot air based on wild rumours (as we all now by know, that is how the financial world works), there are a few things of note here.
First it is quite unusual how publicly and formalized everything took place. This may or may not have been intentional, but as we all kinda guess or know, the real big decisions are made over dinner, when those suits meet on the golf course or inbetween the acts during the breaks at opera. Things happening that way could indicate that either both sides have been in talks for a while already or that the threats emanating from Google and Apple are taken more serious than we possibly expected.
Second, and that gives me some pleasure, it is noticeable how nervous this move makes the Apple fanboys. Must be their worst nightmare, if two other big companies join forces and open a third front in the ongoing battle for dominating mobile markets, now that the novelty factor of the iPhone and iPad begin to wear thin and Apple is just another fish in the pool…
Third, and that is probably where most people are completely wrong, there was never any mention of a merger anywhere. Strategic and technological business alliances happen everywhere every day and there is nothing unusual about that. Not every bit of technological advancement requires one company absorbing another and Adobe not being a small garage shop that could be had for only a few million, possible concerns over market value and antitrust regulations definitely would apply even today.
Fourth, even if there was ever a merger, any doomsday predictions are most likely wrong. Why should Microsoft kill any Adobe products for any platform, when it makes good money for them? And they wouldn’t really meddle with the long term strategy for products like After Effects or Photoshop. If at all, this would be more about unifying Silverlight vs. Flash and associated tools like Expression Studio as much as it would be about server technology like Cold Fusion vs. ASP .NET.