October 11, 2010

Microsoft Could Buy Adobe and Pull the Entire Creative Suite off the Mac

Last week the New York Times reported that the CEOs of Microsoft and Adobe met secretly to discuss a possible partnership between the two software giants. Rumors have been flying since then about a possible Microsoft purchase of Adobe. The tensions between Adobe and Apple have been well chronicled here at No Film School, and such a purchase could potentially allow Microsoft to make Windows a superior creative platform -- simply by discontinuing the Mac versions of Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, InDesign, and a dozen other Adobe applications.

As Wired notes, such a move would also allow Microsoft to more directly address Apple's takeover of the mobile space, by bolstering Adobe's flash platform on Windows Phones. But Windows computers have been generally regarded as inferior machines for creatives -- rightly or wrongly. Part of this is because Microsoft has no viable equivalent to Apple's highly successful iLife, which does much to usher in the perception that Macs are better for creative projects (since it ships with every new Mac). Acquiring Adobe would bolster Microsoft's bundling ability (Adobe makes consumer versions of most of their pro apps, denoted as "Elements" -- Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements, etc.) -- but would also give Microsoft a way of directly competing with Apple on the pro side (Adobe's Premiere Pro, After Effects, Soundbooth, and Encore compete directly with Apple's Final Cut Pro, Motion, Sountrack Pro, and DVD Studio Pro).

Adobe's $15 billion valuation would be, as Wired puts it, "petty cash" to Microsoft: it's certainly possible from a financial standpoint. Here's what I wonder, though: if Microsoft were to buy Adobe, you can bet they'd have a vested interest in making Photoshop (and the rest of the suite) Windows-only. Taking Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, InDesign, and a dozen other applications away from OS X would obliterate the Mac as a creative platform. Yes, Apple could develop their own competitors, but version 1.0 of an app like Photoshop (for which Apple has no direct equivalent at present) would be nowhere near as mature as a mainstay like Photoshop (which is currently in version 12).

While it's financially possible, antitrust regulations would likely prevent Microsoft from purchasing Adobe outright. Microsoft isn't nearly as powerful as they once were, but regulators would certainly step in with serious concerns; a partnership seems much more likely. However, in the same way that Microsoft develops and releases Office for Mac as a separate (and handicapped) suite from the Windows version, they could do the same with Adobe's Creative Suite.

It's unlikely that the Microsoft-Adobe meeting will result in a one-fell-swoop move like an outright takeover (and a yanking of all Adobe products from the Mac platform). However, a purchase or a partnership could have implications for Adobe's applications on Macs.

Let's say that Microsoft did buy Adobe, however. The following hypothetical question is for Mac users: if Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Flash, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Soundbooth, and Encore were all pulled from the Mac platform, would you switch to Windows?

More: Microsoft Buying Adobe Would Solve ‘The Apple Problem’ For Both - Wired

Your Comment

27 Comments

Switch to Windows because I was "extorted" to an inferior OS? You've gotta' be kidding ...

October 11, 2010 at 12:58PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

1
Reply
JStoner

Big companies are just like governments: they act in their own short-term interest. Pulling the Apple versions of Adobe software might force some percentage of creative pros to switch to Windows, but only when it's time for an essential upgrade. Plenty of folks would be fine with falling a version or two behind before making the switch. Would Microsoft be willing to forego all the Apple customers of one or two versions of Creative Suite? I doubt it.

October 11, 2010 at 1:21PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply

this is just silly.

October 11, 2010 at 1:40PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply

Hey I moved to windows 7 and I dont regret it one bit, CS5 runs like a dream and I dont have to pay toulsands for the same hardware only with different os, if you want to work in adobe creative suite don't really matter what os it is running on, I would be happy with Ubuntu if there were an easy way to install adobe creative suite!

October 11, 2010 at 1:43PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

3
Reply
joe

thousands, now now

December 19, 2010 at 2:52PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Dwight Dennis

It's difficult to say at this point...it would depend on how Apple was to respond. Ultimately, what matters is what works best/is most solid/etc.. For years now, that has been the CS on OSX...if Apple's able to offer a capable alternative, I'll stick around...if they can't...I'll have to jump ship.
Just a thought: would it make sense for Apple to invest money in open source alternatives to the CS? The Gimp, etc.?

October 11, 2010 at 1:55PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply

Switch? Not a chance. I'll stick with Photoshop CS5 and Final Cut. I ran PC for video a long time and my transition to mac has only made my video production better.

October 11, 2010 at 3:34PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply

This wired article is deeply flawed and more a fantasy than adressing real-life busines. About half of Adobe's CS customers are mac users. Cutting them off would hurt only one company first and that is Adobe! Also, Microsoft wants to get rid of flash more than anyone else, because they produce the real direct competitor to it - Silverlight.
MS buying Adobe and then abandoning half their CS customers would be the stupidest thing to do, the best reason for any share holders to sell their stock. Microsoft doesn't need to sell more Windows licences, that fight is over. if they bought Adobe and keep their Mac customers they would make more money keeping the same business model than forcing them to switch. Have you heard about Office for Mac?

October 11, 2010 at 3:35PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Sascha

Yes, you have. I forgot about the line in your article on Office :-)

October 11, 2010 at 3:38PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Sascha

No. I'll dual-boot on my DIY system if I have to. And I'd rather use Aperture for photo-editing (Photoshop is really geared more towards desktop publishing, anyway). However, Premiere Pro CS5 has the advantage when it comes to DSLR-editing (especially using GPU acceleration with a CUDA card), so that would be a big loss to Apple.

October 11, 2010 at 7:36PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

3
Reply
Nick

Aperture is hardly an alternative to Photoshop. Aperture is more of a Lightroom competitor.

October 11, 2010 at 10:05PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Michael

Adobe are just a bit annoyed because Final Cut did what they couldn't do with Premiere: take on Avid.

So what it Adobe make Windows only versions of CS apps. Thats what parallels is for.

Adobe seem to forget: you need an OS and a computer to run on.

I reckon professional Apple users would boycott Adobe if they went down this route, if you use FCP studio you already have Motion (though yes, I prefer Ae) can buy aperture for a lot less than Ps, and if you need layers, run GIMP. Not ideal. By no means impossible.

October 12, 2010 at 7:44AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Paul

if microsoft buys adobe, they will not be allowed to discontinue mac versions

if I were adobe, six months back, I would have released the mac version of CS5, but I would have done so at double the price of the windows version
for a start, it's sound business: whoever uses a mac is signalling himself as not really price sensitive
and then it would hurt apple on their old core base, the creative people

that chance was missed, though, and I doubt CS6 or CS7 will be half as indispensable an upgrade as CS5 was (ok, maybe if they get GPU-acceleration into AE, and with openCL instead of CUDA...)

right now, if they want to deliver a nice kick, discontinuing the mac side of their academic versions should start a trend shift (the next generation of creatives would grow up knowing that CS works fine on windows)

October 12, 2010 at 8:20AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

4
Reply

Perhaps time to go to Open Source software and Linux !

Reality is that Apple is more interested in selling (and developing) phones and igadgets than really come back to creative things like movie, music and graphism done in the past...

Open source softwares ( Blender, Cinepaint, Cinelerra, Ardour etc,,) but also hardware (see Apertus Open Source camera project at http://cinema.elphel.com/) are surely the (best) solution to be not prisoneer of (expensive) Microsoft or Apple products and their silly marketing...

Great things to come in the future... and not a bad news at all !!!

* french book has been edited this year on how to make a film with only opensource linux software and choose the computer element to work on it.

October 14, 2010 at 11:18AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply

This is a totally useless article. It says nothing. It contradicts itself everywhere and basically is nothing more that filling a white space for the purpose of filling white space. Speculation is totally worthless. Deal with facts before publishing garbage and rumors.

October 14, 2010 at 6:06PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

2
Reply
Andy

Tell that to Wired and every other place that published a similar story. The title says "could," homie.

October 14, 2010 at 8:08PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

I agree with you. It's a waste of space when they cause a fuss over a "What If". I honestly dont think Microsoft would pull such a move so to belabour the point into an entire article is overkill. One paragraph would suffice.

October 15, 2010 at 3:47AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Lisa

I would rather see Apple buy Adobe, it would be a better fit. Apple and Adobe are much more alike that Microsoft and Adobe. I can't see Microsoft doing anything, but making a mess of Adobe.

October 14, 2010 at 11:19PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

3
Reply
Manson

I agree with you. It's a waste of space when they cause a fuss over a "What If". I honestly dont think Microsoft would pull such a move so to belabour the point into an entire article is over kill. One paragraph would suffice.

October 15, 2010 at 3:46AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Lisa

I dont agree and find the aticle useful. It just shows that marketing position for the "big" leading industries are more important than the creative solutions and that the end-user is finally prisonner of that market movance. If the arcticle do not bring really an "information" (and sincerely who cares ?) it inform us that perhaps it's time to change for other solutions if we want to stay independant

October 15, 2010 at 4:54AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

2
Reply
Alban

Windows can never replace the Mac – neither can iOS. Besides, Microsoft's reputation is quite similar to that of the Evil Empire, which doesn't fit with the style of the Apple 'cult'.
Although such a 'partnership' could put Apple in an uncomfortable position, taking CS away from the Mac will only hurt Adobe because while some users would be able to run CS on a VM, any publisher would be glad to bring another graphic suite that would threaten Adobe's market share on the platform.

November 4, 2010 at 5:03AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Yusuf

Had to laugh at the use of the word cult, though I think the description fits...makes me wonder what will happen when the cult leader is gone.

October 5, 2011 at 3:41PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

1
Reply

The problem is that this effectively already happened, several years ago. For a number of years after the launch of OSX, Adobe pulled all of its video/film tools (with the exception of After Effects) off the Mac platform, but it had to return because it was losing too many sales to Apple's Final Cut Suite. Similarly, Microsoft invested in Avid, and that company stopped development of its Macintosh video editing software for a number of years. Again, Apple's success with Final Cut and customer pressure forced Avid back on Mac.

The Mac platform has approximately three times as much market share today as it did when Adobe and Avid dropped Apple. Even if Microsoft purchased Adobe, the most likely case is that it would slow down development on OSX, just as versions of Office for the Mac come out later than the Windows versions.

November 8, 2010 at 4:15PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

2
Reply

I think that Apple has in the waiting a professional "Photoshop" killer. That probably is being overly optimistic.

December 19, 2010 at 3:07PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

3
Reply
Dwight Dennis

Who cares, consumer software is garbage.

November 22, 2010 at 7:33PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
klklklklk

What's the difference between a Mac user and a Windows user?

A Windows user knows when to shut the f**k up..

December 12, 2010 at 10:33PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Windows7

that was funny ! and I am a Mac user.

December 19, 2010 at 3:08PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM

0
Reply
Dwight Dennis