The Adobe Microsoft Rumor’s Bad Aftertaste

Adobe and Microsoft – This is one of those rumors that make my skin crawl. While I happily use technology from both I have very different opinions of the two organizations and their relative impact on my life. I can’t help but think that Microsoft will ruin the sweet Adobe experience.

For many of us Adobe pioneered the idea of free technology in the workplace. I can safely assume that everyone reading this has a PDF reader of some kind. PDF was the first and greatest success in free technology openly embraced by both consumers and IT alike. The motives were not always so magnanimous.  Adobe gave Reader away to drive Acrobat sales but my Adobe experience left me feeling that they are an old friend I can call on when I need them without having to promise to return the favor some day or find a horse head in my bed.

Microsoft on the other hand would charge for air in a Chilean copper mine. They are positively brilliant at creating sticky relationships with users and their employers. Sticky the way that some pharmaceuticals are sticky. Users may start small or cheap but ultimately lock up an unfairly large chunk of IT budgets in rolling and growing Microsoft renewals. Once you have thousands of pieces of content in an MS Office format it is very difficult to get a large organization (or me for that matter) to move from it.

Adobe is sticky too but in a honey Bar-B-Que sort of way.  I stay with Adobe technologies like Flash, Flex, PDF because I want to not because I have to. A sweet after taste that makes you want more.

There are many reasons that others have written about that explain why this is a bad idea from a business perspective. Reasons like the combination likely won’t position either to better compete with Google or Apple.

But for one simple reason Adobe should just walk away. It’s just icky. Like chocolate on roast beef. They both have their place in a good meal but eating them together ruins the experience with both. I won’t explain how I know this. Just suffice it to say that one should never serve chocolate sauce in a gravy boat.

UPDATED : @McBoof’s (Jon Marks) Ryder Cup Analysis of the deal is priceless.

4 thoughts on “The Adobe Microsoft Rumor’s Bad Aftertaste

  1. Sweet Adobe experience? We must have been using different products!

    With each release, Acrobat is slower, Photoshop crashes more frequently, and they try to install more shit I don’t need on my computer. And don’t get me started on Flash on Linux or Mac OS X…

    I can only hope that Microsoft buys them, and everybody starts looking for alternatives.

  2. no – not different products – I am just really old and remember when Photoshop was magical and flash was something that came in a cube and snapped to the top of a camera.

    to your point – that is precisely what will happen. We will be forced to look elsewhere as MS will never be motivated to resolve issues the of users of Adobe tech might have on any O/S other than Windoze. Just ask the FAST search community on non-windows platforms.

  3. Adobe should walk away cos its ikcy Lee?

    The size of the cheque decides if they walk away or not – sad maybe but true….

    BTW: Love the podcast!


  4. yes – exactly – icky.

    But you are probably right it will be deal size not philosophical fit that will drive this. I think this may warrant another post on the importance of corp culture synergies in tech mergers. oil and water as an analogy wouldn’t do the Adobe/MS mixture justice.

    Thanks again for asking me to do the podcast. I had a blast and hope everyone enjoys it.


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