Banking

Poll: Should Microsoft buy Adobe or look for a better deal?

The TechRepublic Windows Blog member poll question: Should Microsoft buy Adobe or look for a better deal?

It is October 8, 2010, and there are rampant rumors on Wall Street that Microsoft is contemplating the purchase of Adobe Systems. The stock price of Adobe Systems has skyrocketed on the news, and financial analysts are queuing up on CNBC to offer their opinions on the pros and cons of such an acquisition.

Meanwhile, Mary Jo Foley on sister-site ZDNet has expressed skepticism that the deal is in the works ("Microsoft Buying Adobe? Call Me Highly Skeptical"). Mary Jo makes this observation:

Microsoft officials have said repeatedly the company is not looking to buy bigger companies; any new acquisitions are likely to be small and supplemental to the company's existing businesses.

I tend to fall more toward Mary Jo's thinking. I don't believe it makes good business sense for Microsoft to acquire Adobe. It does make good sense to cut a business deal, especially with regard to the upcoming Windows Phone 7-based devices, but not an outright acquisition.

What do you think Microsoft should be doing businesswise? Should Microsoft buy Adobe and/or some other company? What markets should Microsoft be looking to buy in to? Keep in mind, Microsoft has billions of dollars in cash that needs to be invested somehow; the only real question is where those dollars will go.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

109 comments
heyyoucraig
heyyoucraig

As long as Microsoft does not Change ADOBE then it would be a good move for them.....

ioan_georgescu
ioan_georgescu

There is a need for improving the Microsoft graphic applications devoted, especially, to web design. Adobe has some good graphic design products, but I think that it would be a huge effort to integrate Adobe products in Microsoft systems standards. To be frank, Microsoft already has probems with making new systems compatible with existing ones. Ioan Georgescu

woodguy69
woodguy69

God help us, I really never like MS to begin with, over the years I think they only got it right, what, twice. (95 and 98)its been less then stellar since.. If they buy Adobe I am pretty sure I will be moving on.. At that point I think I'll change everything and start over.. Hell I am almost ready to, do I dare say it, Throw my computer and cell phone out the window and go back to the stone age.

bitboss1
bitboss1

No, No, No! MS has the ability to completely destroy perfectly good ideas! The PDF format is quite useful. Adobe graphics utilities work quite well! I like using their graphics utilities! Give it to MS and "hello mediocrity".

saracen9
saracen9

Microsoft should take Flash off their hands - direct competitor to silverlight and given that SL is going to be MS defacto standard on new phones etc. would make sense to deprecate it / ensure interop. Apart from that, rest of Adobe looks expensive at current mkt prices

portable
portable

I pray not. Adobe products would go BADLY down hill.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

When Adobe first bought out Macromedia I almost wept. I was so sick of Adobe's apps and LOVED Dreamweaver and more importantly Fireworks. I thought for sure they would replace Fireworks with Photoshop (eeeew). Much to my amazement, they kept the old Macromedia package intact! YAY! The thought of MS taking over Adobe really does make me bummed though, unless they are happy to completely forget they ever wrote FrontPage and incorporate Dreamweaver et al. untouched. Frontpage was such a poorly designed, laid out piece of junk it didn't deserve its initial release. they should have just put it in the trash before the first box ever hit the shelves. I'd hate to think of what they would do with Acrobat, I can just see it now, ribbon interfaces in place of more intuitive menus. They did okay with ribbons in Office but they would really screw up Acrobat if they tried to simplify THAT interface the same way. MS and Adobe? I'll just pretend I didn't read it and sleep soundly instead.

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

God NO. MS totally f**ks everything they buy!

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

Goodbye, Flash. Hello, Silverlight. Goodbye, Dreamweaver. Goodbye, Photoshop. At MS's level, the easiest way to grow their market share of their flagship products is to buy out the competition and throw them away. No lawsuits that way. WordStar SuperCalc Adobe?

kevsan
kevsan

Corel must be praying it happens. I can envisage many Adobe users fleeing from the products if Microsoft's name was on them.

NexS
NexS

Leave it as it is. Why would Microsoft need to? I mean, other than to make money off Adobe suite application sets. But if anything, the PDF formatting is what Adobe are known for. And there isn't a HUGE amount of money in that. If M$ want the Dreamweaver/Photoshop branding, they have enough coding power to make their own. I say leave it alone.

bob
bob

Not to mention that Adobe does a good job of emulating Microsoft by buying up competitors. OTOH, if Apple wants to buy Adobe, it might not be such a bad thing. Maybe Apple could get Flash to work properly.

kpapadias
kpapadias

YES! It is a good idea for Microsoft to buy Adobe. That's to DESTROY Adobe.

dfruk
dfruk

Widows has enough bugs and back door flaws without adding Adobe into the mix. Plus Photoshop would treble in price and become a load of rubbish overnight Ms have ruined Publisher over the last few versions. God knows what they'd do to photoshop

cartoonbe
cartoonbe

Yes. It should be intergrated into windows. But reader should still stay free.

gardner.phil
gardner.phil

Why don't Microsoft and Adobe just use open standards and loose the proprietary products. With pending CSS and HTML developments it's time to move on.

g-man_863
g-man_863

MS gets the silver medal for having to fix exploit issues due to its weekly "Patch Tuesday" updates. This pales compared to Adobe's Gold Exploit Medal: It seems like every time I reboot a PC an update balloon pops up for Adobe Reader or Flash. It also seems Adobe's flaws are more dangerous since they can be exploited merely by opening a rouge PDF file. Unlike Windows automatic updates that can be set to install regardless of a user's security level, Adobe updates require Admin access or user permissions allowing the installation of new software. If Microsoft picked up Adobe, I have a feeling they would be more proactive on security and spend less time playing whack-a-mole. While it's impossible to predict all exploit attempts, cutting down the number of critical updates would be a godsend for IT people responsible for hundreds of workstations. The ultimate solution would be to integrate Adobe updates into the Automatic Windows Update process If it cuts my workload and makes things more secure, I'm all for it.

beruhl03
beruhl03

Depends on what microsoft is planning to do with the adobe product line is all i can say.

gueibor
gueibor

Couldn't contribute to the poll since the "Dude, wait... what?" option wasn't available. ;)

pjboyles
pjboyles

On the day bullets and outlines actually work in MS Word MS can then start acquiring other products. Don't hold your breath. The bullets and outlines in MS Word has been broken from day one and is still broken in version "2010."

butkus
butkus

I though Microsoft was too big already ! Why not buy Bank of America and CBS/NBC and own everything.

rbflyboy
rbflyboy

Why not work on fixing the stuff they already have before buy up another company and laying off two thirds of the staff? Just a thought. Robert

ruby633
ruby633

The question is....should Adobe allow themselves to be bought out by Microsoft!

foss.paul
foss.paul

God forbid. Adobe was so far a excellent company with products of no equal. Let it stay that way. We don't need Microsoft stuffing up Adobe.

HAMcomm
HAMcomm

MS is becoming the uber company and their competition is becoming scarce. How much bigger does MS need to be before the government begins controlling their actions. What ever happened diversification, the new Microsoft Electric Car comes to mind, the only problem would be rebooting every 100 miles. At least if MS bought Adobe there would be only one type of Flash / Silverlight cookie to worry about.

tom.prestegaard
tom.prestegaard

Adobe is the biggest pain and the largest barrier to open internet and PC. Adobe is completely in the way of a better internet/cloud/mobile computing. Microsoft will probably understand where the money comes from but even Microsoft would change Adobe for the better. Just take Reader and Flash patches millions of admins would be greatly unburdened by including them in WSUS/MSUpdate.

Cajuneer
Cajuneer

Adobe is a great company, and Microsoft would just screw it up!

aevorn
aevorn

They should buy the company that produces FoxIt, which happens to be a PDF suite that doesn't have the same security issues.

parnote
parnote

Let's take the maker of the crappiest browser plug in (Flash) and the most bloated, insecure PDF reader, and put it under the umbrella of the maker of the most insecure operating system ever conceived or made. This way, they can fail together and die the the certain and eventual death they both deserve. In fact, they deserve one another, even though I voted that it would be a bad idea. Seriously, does anyone really think that the FTC, the US Justice Dept, and the European Union "overlords" are going to just sit back and watch Microsoft just buy up Adobe, when all those entities have expressed concern over a bigger, more monopolistic Microsoft? Microsoft would remain pretty much off of the radar were they to go out and quietly buy 100 smaller companies, rather than one big one like Adobe. Or, Microsoft could make HUGE headlines by donating even 1/2 the amount in question to charitable causes, where that money would most likely do the most good.

TBBrick
TBBrick

You'd think for as long as these two companies have been around, they'd figure out how to do something simple like let a PDF open in IE with out it crashing. As it is, you gotta disable the IE PDF addon and disable PDF loading in Adobe, for each profile that uses the PC.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

but disagree about which times. I think 98SE and Win2K were the best.

Zenith545
Zenith545

lol leave it to a Brit number cruncher to come up with such a response

AngloThai Solutions
AngloThai Solutions

Yes, that was my initial thought - though I would have said absorb Photoshop as it is market leader and not something to be thrown away. However, M$ seems to be aiming more at HTML5 and away from Sileverlight at a corperate level (though the SL/Blend team still seem to be hard at it) - and therefore would not be the best time to do it. That is unless Adobe has something in the wings that M$ knows about and we don't. M$ is not adverse to buying up companies and absorbing their applications in aprt or wholesale, so I wouldn't rule that out. My vote was "No" - simply because I think M$ will not make back their money in any decent timespan - the only tentative "yes" may be to buying up individual products where they fit or could improve the market share of existing/planned M$ products.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Flash would die a rapid death. Don't think it wouldn't happen...

BTrik
BTrik

Yes, the acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft would make updates easier for admins, but what about the end users who depend on Adobe software working the way it should? Is this all about end users or admins?

mike_flood
mike_flood

Too many things that bug users of Windows haven't been fixed. MS doesn't need to have ANYTHING else to screw up. Do people acutally buy Fords with Microsoft "entertainment" systems in them.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I can't STAND Photoshite! Worst interface I've used to graphic design/publishing. I love the Macromedia products Adobe bought out in '05 though, Fireworks, Freehand, Dreamweaver etc.

mike_flood
mike_flood

Lord help Photoshop users if Redmond gets it. BSOD,ABORT,RETRY,FAIL. . . FAIL. . . FAIL

BTrik
BTrik

I have to agree that admins are currently challenged with keeping Adobe products patched and up-to-date due to the frequency of releases. However, Microsoft can't even get their own code right with an operating system full of bugs and/or bad behaviors, so I have no reason to believe they would have any better luck with yet another product they don't understand. In fact allowing Microsoft to take over the development of yet another product might divert attention from OS development and even make Windows worse(or at least prevent it from getting better) if you can imagine that! Microsoft really needs to focus on fixing Windows.

skeech51
skeech51

Sure go ahead and buy them and scale back 100's more people who are earning a living wage, as is always the case when monopolistic corporations buy up their competition. We need to be breaking up these "too big to compete with" companies into smaller ones to help provide more living wage jobs instead of adding several $million$ more to the compensation of fat-cat CEOs. I can't begin to tell you how many of my friends are jobless now because of us allowing this kind of monopolistic activity to continue unabated. Soon, no one will be able to afford to buy the products that keep these companies afloat. We're already down to food, clothing and gas. No Xmas at our house this year.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Firefox, for one. Foxit Reader, for another. Setting your browser to ask what to do when you click on a file is a third.

parnote
parnote

Here's an even better idea ... let IE go away, then the REAL browsers (Firefox, Chrome/Chromium, Opera) can lead the way.

woodguy69
woodguy69

You know what Nick I forgot about 2000, come to think of it I still have a machine with it on it.. And Now I am have good thought about that program. So I am going to have to agree with that assessment..On a different note how many of you folks had to reset your computers after the meg patch this month.. I had to reset back two week and start over.. And MS want to get their hands on adobe..Yea..

g-man_863
g-man_863

Yes, MS has had its share of bombs; however no major software company has a track record of perfection in all versions of all products. MS Office has proven to be very end-user friendly. Its help options (built-in and online) are as user friendly as anything Adobe offers. I think MS learned its lesson on releasing crappy product with Vista. Case in point: MS releasing free Beta copies of Win 7 for public download months before it hit retail or OEM channels to prove to consumers it wasn't "Vista 2.0". Given there is legitimate competition in video and photo editing software, I think MS is smart enough not to repeat the Vista issues on Adobe offerings. Doing so would be a financial disaster with companies including Apple and Corel stealing market share at Adobe/Microsoft's expense.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

It's convenient and reliable, and listening to my mp3 player through the stereo beats tar out of headphones. The voice-activation is great as well (if confusing at first). The only problem I have with it is getting the stupid thing to recognize "Pause" when I have to stop it to answer the phone. Aside, for Oz: I sample at 256k only because I wouldn't have space for my collection at any higher rates. If I had the space, I'd be using flac.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

They are actually getting much better with Sync, it's pretty popular across the pond now. Mind you, Ford makes much better cars in Europe too, and recently started making them here, but the wait list is a long one! One day we'll get properly engineered cars from North American manufacturers, it's only been a good 40 years coming now. I wonder when door chimes will be the Windows default sound and starting the car will play the Start Windows sound? Much better than the DING-DING-DING I listen to every time I diagnose a car now, I go to sleep with buzzers and chimes running through my head sometimes!

TBBrick
TBBrick

...at work the standard is IE and Adobe. :-p

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Neither of the Windows desktops at home had any problems, nor did the work laptop (all XP). My son's Win7 laptop had to be rebooted a second time.

seanferd
seanferd

I hate the Windows sound. Plus, it reminds me of the old Heinz ketchup commercials that used the song Anticipation, such that I want to say, "It's sloooow good," when the sound finishes. Which does aptly describe the load time on some computers, though.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Never had that prob. I had an issue with FF opening PDF's but not IE. So I guess it's not a browser dependent issue at all really.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You can force files to open in their own applications and not in a new tab or window in IE.

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