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Cringely Posits Adobe's Purchase by Apple 245

Posted by Zonk
from the now-what-is-he-talking-about dept.
An anonymous reader writes to mention another Robert Cringely piece discussing Apple's future. In his latest article, he lays out some goals for Apple on its quest to desktop dominance. An important link in this chain is Apple's purchase of Adobe Systems. From the article: "Adobe has already made one feint away from Mac development that required personal pressure from Steve Jobs on John Warnock to reverse. If Apple kinda-sorta embraces Windows enough for Adobe to question whether continued development for the native OS X platform is still warranted, well, then Apple WILL just become another Dell, which isn't what Steve Jobs wants. Steve wants Windows applications to run like crazy on his hybrid platform but to look like crap. In his heart of hearts, he'd still like to beat Microsoft on the merits, not just by leveraging some clever loophole. So he needs the top ISVs who are currently writing for OS X to continue writing for OS X, and that especially means Adobe."
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Cringely Posits Adobe's Purchase by Apple

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  • by McDutchie (151611) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:10PM (#15222520) Homepage
    Every article by Cringely, Dvorak, and the like needs to be instantly moderated '-1, Troll' with extreme prejudice. Too bad /. does not have article moderation.
  • Oh please! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:11PM (#15222530) Homepage Journal
    Hey, could that [an Adobe acquisition] be why Apple is rumored to have this week just laid-off its entire Aperture development group?

    Could be.


    Yeah, and it could be that the product never lived up to expectations and saw little market adoption so Apple decided it was time to cut their losses and focus their resources on something else.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
  • by osviews.com (955101) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:13PM (#15222544)
    Whis would this article be labeled a troll? Because you don't like the ramifications?

    I think Cringely's article is probable though impracticle... at least for the time being.

    Microsoft isn't going to drop office for Mac... they make too much money from it... but if they ever do, Apple has a backup plan [osopinion.com] in the way of Windows virtualization.
  • Hope not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:13PM (#15222545) Homepage Journal
    I really hope that Apple doesn't do what Cringley suggests and even if they do that it is squashed by the state department responsible for mergers and acquisitions, since:
        - Apple needs some healthy competition in this domain
        - Even though I am a Mac user, having a competitor in the PC domain also helps Apple keep on their toes
        - Adobe bought Macromedia, so in this field Apple would near a potential monopoly.
  • by interiot (50685) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:14PM (#15222555) Homepage
    It's starting to become a cliche for Dvorak or Cringely to postulate on possible future moves by Apple or Google, and the crazier their suggestions, the more internet posters get riled up, and the more traffic gets driven to their site. Do they really have to pander to the lowest among internet posters?
  • Revenue vs. Profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@xox[ ]et ['y.n' in gap]> on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:15PM (#15222560) Homepage Journal
    What do call a CEO who makes the decision to chop $400 million off his company's profits?

    Although I agree with your sentiment, it's worth pointing out that $400M in revenue -- which would be sales figures -- does not translate into $400M in profit.

    Unless of course you're engaging in a little Enron-style math, that is. Software companies may have high margins, but they're not 100%.
  • by pianoman113 (204449) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:15PM (#15222562) Homepage
    Here's a question for discussion: Would we find these authors so trollish if everything they wrote were not posted immediately to slashdot?
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:15PM (#15222564) Homepage
    Well, the only problem is when people try to turn this sort of editorial of "I think Apple could/should buy Adobe" into a rumor of "Apple is planning to buy Adobe!"

    I mean, if you're a journalist, paid to analyze technology trends and make wild shot-in-the-dark predictions of what might possibly happen one day, or you're writing an article of what business moves might benefit one group or another, that's perfectly fine. Cringly thinks Apple should buy Adobe, and I'm sure lots of people could write articles on why they think Apple shouldn't.

    Let's just not let this get out of hand and become an actual rumor.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:18PM (#15222588) Homepage
    From the article:
    There's only one way to make that happen for sure, and that's for Apple to buy Adobe. Apple has the stock, they have the cash -- such a purchase would effectively cost Apple nothing, the market would like it so well.
    Uhhhhh... "cost Apple nothing," eh? Last I checked, Adobe's market cap [yahoo.com] was $23.65 billion. Apple's [yahoo.com] is not quite $60 billion. Just how much cash and stock does Cringely figure Apple wants to throw around?
  • Crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:24PM (#15222647) Homepage
    This is crap. Apple is not trying to dominate the desktop market. They are trying, and succeeding at producing very desirable products. Apple has carved out their boutique image carefully and they do NOT want to be another Dell. Apple is making alot of profit right now. They do not want to be the new Microsoft+Dell. Jobs would like his vision of the way OSs and computers "should be" to dominate, but he is not trying to position Apple to do this.
  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:26PM (#15222657)

    No, he's still missing the point.

    In his heart of hearts, he'd still like to beat Microsoft on the merits, not just by leveraging some clever loophole.

    No, "in his heart of hearts", he doesn't really care about Microsoft, because Apple compete against Dell and all the other hardware vendors. OS X is a differentiator in the hardware market, not a core product that they are competing against Microsoft with. Intel & Bootcamp fits nicely into that strategy, and I suspect he wouldn't care if 90% of the people who bought Macs ran Windows, because that 90% will have chosen Apple over Dell.

  • Re:Hope not (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:27PM (#15222661)
    Premiere is a joke compared to Final Cut in professional World.

    First and most important problem: AVI based.

    Lightroom didn't make professionals happy too. When will they admit the pros does not need such tools? Yes, it sounded like a nice idea but in real world,it failed. Simple as that.
  • by dakirw (831754) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:39PM (#15222724)
    If Apple bought Adobe, then they'd effectively be pursuing a strategy similar to Microsoft's - trying to control all major app vendors for the respective OS. It'd be costly for one thing, and might discourage other vendors from building on the platform. Not a great idea, in my opinion. Apple probably wants all the developer mindshare that they can get, but doing this is more Borg-like than anything else.
  • by dietrollemdefender (970664) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:39PM (#15222729)
    The sentiment still stands, tho: Adobe makes a shitload of money off the Mac, and given Apple's entrenchment in desktop publusing/pre-press/design, it's as close to a guaranteed revenue stream as you can get. Steve Jobs may be a pain in the ass, but in the business world you learn to deal with pain in the ass clients and take their money.

    Not necessarily - I haven't looked at the filings you've mentioned - I gotta go soon. But a coulple of things to look for:

    How much are those sales costing Appl. Yeah, they're getting $400 million revenue, but are they spending more than $400 million in expenses - cost of goods sold, fixed costs, etc... to make that $400 M?

    Maybe the ROI they're making on those sales isn't worth it. If you use that capital to make even more than $400 mill., then it'd be better to make the money work elsewhere.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:45PM (#15222758)
    cost Apple nothing," eh? Last I checked, Adobe's market cap was $23.65 billion. Apple's is not quite $60 billion.

    If Adobe stock were converted to new Apple shares that properly reflect the increased value of Apple + Adobe, it would cost them the amount of printing the new certificates and mailing them, which is essentially nothing. That assumes a friendly takeover/merger.

  • by mac84 (971323) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:49PM (#15222786)
    Yeah cringley and Dvorak only post this drivel to drive traffic on their web sites. just like Slashdot and all the other news sites that have already posted Cringley/Apple/Adobe headlines today. But it's fun to read and dissect wild speculation. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many posts on /. to this column.
  • It's NOT a rumor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tau Neutrino (76206) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:52PM (#15222817)
    Cringley never said he heard it anywhere else. He made it up.

    It's a prediction, not a rumor, and his record with predictions is not bad.
  • He is insane!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Enrique1218 (603187) on Friday April 28, 2006 @02:12PM (#15222967) Journal

    I finally figure out how he comes up with these illogical predictions. Cringley is in insane!!! The first line says it all.

    Over the past three weeks, we've laid out in this column

    He uses WE to describe himself but he is the only one writing the articles. He obviously has multiple personality disorder. There is more than one person in there and apparently no one is home. Though, he could also think he is a Borg, but that too is equally insane.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday April 28, 2006 @02:26PM (#15223050)
    Or if you believe in going with the simplest possible theory, Apple is not in fact abandoning a product not even six months old that has had a major well-received update just recently and in fact has just restructured the team.

    Since Aperture is still being sold in the Apple store and the pages for the product are all still up, I know which theory I'd buy into!

    If you must believe something a little more juicy, how about an attempt by Think Secret (or someone behind it) to discredit Apple?
  • I dunno... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suzerain (245705) on Friday April 28, 2006 @02:29PM (#15223070) Homepage
    Look, Cringeley's talking out of his ass. That's his job.

    But I don't see why people here are pooh-poohing the idea of Apple buying Adobe so much. I mean, forgetting about what you want, and focusing on what is good for Apple.

    There are two things that will really harm (if not kill) Apple: (1) no Office; (2) no Photoshop.

    However, of the two, I say #2 is even more important for Apple...Apple's core market is still graphics, despite all the mainstream press they've been getting. Without Photoshop there effectively is no OS X.

    Secondly, Apple bought Final Cut Pro from Macromedia, they acquired DVD Studio Pro from (who was it? some company that started with 'A'), they bought Logic. Are any of these pieces of software Apple's 'core' business? No, they aren't. I remember I was more than a little surprised to see Apple even acquire these pieces of software. Not only have they acquired them, they have redeveloped them into really nice apps. So clearly, part of their strategy is to provide extremely nice pro apps for their own OS.

    One segment of pro apps they have avoided -- I am sure partially to not piss off Adobe -- is graphics. They lack a pro 3D app, and they lack a pro 2D app (though by working CoreImage into the OS, they have provided tools that programmers can use to recreate 75% of what Photoshop does easily). Further, Adobe controls the PDF format (which Apple uses fir display in their OS).

    I dunno...I think Adobe would be a pretty much perfect fit for Apple. Other than Premiere (which sucks anyway), very little of their work seems to overlap, and then Apple would have a complete suite of pro apps guaranteed to run on OS X (and if they really wanted to be shitty, they could discontinue the Windows versions, and leave Microsoft high and dry).

    I mean, if this became too much of a distraction for Apple, they could spin off a separate software company (a la FileMaker), but other than potential distractions, I fail to see how acquiring Adobe would be all that bad for Apple, and I can certainly see a lot of potential upside in the thought.
  • Interesting spin (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday April 28, 2006 @02:55PM (#15223277)
    "Desktop market share numbers show resurgent Apple" - the headline of the article you linked to.

    And you DO realize those numbers are sales figures, not install base, right?

    Not to mention those numbers are convieninetly before Intel macs were avilaible that can dual-boot into Windows, or run Windows apps directly as he was noting. That's where the real growth curve comes in, which would increase Apples figures beyond the mere 43% grown in Mac sales they enjoyed last year (again, from your own article).
  • Trust? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:09PM (#15223383)
    If Cringely had done a minimum of research, he might remember that Apple and Microsoft just signed a new agreement to keep Office for Mac around for a minimum of 5 new years. He might also remember that Apple is supporting Microsofts new, open XML file formats.

    I see. And you fully trust Microsoft to honor that agreement if it does not suit them?

    Sure if there's no compelling reason not to they will honor it because they make a lot of money doing so. But if you'd looked over the Slashdot headlines you'd note that Microsoft has suddenly got a "lot more strategic" and "Bill is back in charge". If Microsoft feels like it they will dump Office for the Mac, agreement or no.

    I would imagine he did remember about Apple supporting Open XML since that was a key point in his argument about how Apple could have an office suite that actually read more Word formats than the Official Microsoft word.

    Apple is not going to be so stupid as to let Mac users have to rely on reverse engineering MS Office file formats, when they per date have full access to those formats and hence Office documents.

    Sure Apple would not do that on purpose but they have to have a backup plan in case Microsoft goes wiggy.

    My take is that Apple will not challenge MS office until ECMA has approved the proposed MS Office XML formats as an open standard and implemented them (at least) in the Windows version of Office. Then the ground is open for Apple to rewrite Office - Apple style, but use Microsoft's open XML file formats for data storage.

    WHich is pretty much exactly what was said in the article. His argument relies on Open XML being an offical standard (and thus one Apple can support) along with documents being read and written in that format.

    At the point Apple does that Microsoft will drop Office, just like they dropped IE. Which is why Apple has to be ready to move any time in case Microsoft decides to do something preemptivley.
  • by Arandir (19206) on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:22PM (#15223503) Homepage Journal
    So what? Their actual installed base is much much higher than five years ago. When the market itself is growing, you don't need to take the whole pie to grow. Sheesh.

    Besides, Apple's goal is not to dominate the desktop.
  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:46PM (#15223721)
    Apple's desktop market share is only 3.1%. That's lower than five years ago. Apple's "quest to desktop dominance" is not going anywhere.

    Who is to say that is their goal? I thought the main goal of most companies is to be profitable and to grow their sales numbers and Apple has done both. Their percentage of the market has dropped because the overall market grew faster than their sales numbers growth. You make the common mistake to assume that an increase or decrease in marketshared percentage is directly related to an increase or decrease in sales numbers.

    It is perfectly possible for a company to gain marketshare percentage but see a decrease in sales number year over year if the overall market shrinks. The inverse is also possible if the market grows faster than the growth of the company.

  • by moultano (714440) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:33PM (#15224085)
    . . . should indicate that a lot of us don't want to see articles like that on slashdot anymore.
  • by catdevnull (531283) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:34PM (#15224095)
    Uh, yeah...but we're talking about Cringley, right?
  • As far as I am concerned, the "tagging beta" should filter out all the "troll", "stupid", "evil", "FUD", and other non-helpful tags, because they are not objective descriptions to classify the article, but only negative opinion (and I think we can all read and form our own opinions).

    I can see your point about "troll", but strongly disagree about your other examples. In a story about SCO trying to scare Linux users, "fud" is perfectly reasonable - the story is about FUD, which is different than saying the story is FUD.

    Similarly with Sony suing a 2-year-old and "evil", or people planning to power their homes with tree electricity and "stupid"; the tags refer to the stories' subject and not the stories themselves.

    And finally, there are quite a few real troll stories around here. If the closing sentence is "Once again, Bush wants you to die", or "Microsoft probably sacrifices babies", then a "troll" tag is perfectly reasonable.

    If all else fails, if you have tagging privileges then use them to vote against the ones you dislike. I've done it (successfully) several times.

  • Re:I dunno... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Feneric (765069) on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:44PM (#15224515) Homepage

    I suppose there's even the possibility that they could then use the MS-Windows version of Photoshop as a bargaining chip to encourage Microsoft to continue the Mac version of MS-Office. True, the loss of all the Adobe products wouldn't kill MS-Windows, but it would definitely have an impact. And since Microsoft already makes money from the Mac version of MS-Office, it probably doesn't need too much encouragement to keep it going...

  • Graphics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by letdinosaursdie (809029) on Friday April 28, 2006 @08:27PM (#15225279) Homepage
    Graphics is no longer Apple's only "core market". The purchase of NeXt has brought a lot of Unix fans into the fold. So you have the artists and designers of Classic vintage as well as a whole generation of people that don't feel like writing a batch file full of gotos when they want to shell script on desktop box. Apple's niche is a huge swath of the most influential members of the information tech community. Photoshop isn't going anywhere, and niether are the masses of new converts Apple is gaining each month for a variety of other reasons. They don't need to buy Adobe for this to be the case.

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