Blog Post

Why Apple Should Buy Adobe

The rumors of Adobe (s adbe) being bought by Apple (s aapl) come up every so often. Apple could easily afford such a purchase and the results would be interesting. I would love to see Adobe restructured by a company like Apple. Adobe has many applications that are the gold standard but it seems to lack focus. These are my thoughts on what Apple could do with Adobe’s biggest apps and make everyone’s life a lot easier.


Adobe’s video market could be trimmed down. Anything that can already be done in Final Cut Studio should be gone, including Premiere and Soundbooth. I’m not sure if After Effects would even be worth it in the end. Most believe that Final Cut is a very nice video suite on the Mac platform and in the PC world, AVID holds the crown. Why is a program like Premiere needed? It’s not quite AVID but way better than Windows Movie Maker. Now throw Sony Vegas in there and it’s starting to get crowded. Apple could create Final Cut for the PC or forget about them altogether. This would come down to money in the long run. I personally don’t think Apple needs to worry about the PC side unless they are going to legitimately compete against AVID for dominance.


Photoshop and Illustrator go hand in hand with Apple. The general public thinks of Apple when Photoshop is mentioned and vice versa. This is known as one of Apple’s strongest markets. Most believe that these design apps run better on a Mac but as we know, Adobe is slow in keeping these flagship apps on the cutting edge. Apple could force them to be designed for the latest and greatest environments. While they’re at it, stop releasing new versions every year that don’t have any significant improvements. Adobe needs the money to keep rolling in through yearly revisions but Apple wouldn’t have this problem. Make a new version when real features are created. In an educational environment, we are forced to upgrade every year because the textbooks only cover the newest versions. This puts a large strain on software budgets.


Acrobat should also be restructured and brought back to its core purpose. Every other week we hear of an exploit in PDF’s and it’s because they don’t do the simple task they were conceived to do. Strip out all the extra junk and just make PDF’s do what they need to do. Reader should be killed for the Mac OS also, Preview is way quicker and does the job just fine.


Then there’s the elephant in the room, Flash. Oh my dear old friend, you were once so cool. Animations, games, crazy navigation menus and long site intros were such a treat. Now I have grown bored with you.

The problem is that Flash is so ubiquitous with the web that it can’t just be tossed out into the street. Apple would need to clean it up significantly and keep it around until HTML5 took over. They should only provide security fixes but no new features. This would allow it a peaceful death.

Adobe has so many products that it’s kind of ridiculous. Most of them could either be worked into existing Apple products or forgotten forever. If Apple did purchase Adobe, what about the PC side of Adobe’s business? They would have to crunch the numbers to see what products are worth the extra cost of development, but Apple could really limit what’s available for Windows. Whether that would that be a good or bad thing, I’m not really sure. In Apple’s mind, if it sells more Macs then it’s worth doing.

I believe Apple could really improve Adobe’s products and make them more reliable than they ever have been. It would end the grudge that they have against each other and hopefully get applications like Acrobat and Flash back to their roots. Adding useless features just to sell a different version every year will not win you any fans. Make it a worthwhile upgrade or inexpensive and I will gladly support you.

157 Responses to “Why Apple Should Buy Adobe”

  1. Seems to me the author doesn’t use a Mac for anything more than just dicking around online.

    Drop After Effects? You seriously think that Motion, especially now that Shake has been shitcanned, has anywhere near the same level of functionality & scope as After Effects? It integrates flawlessly with Photoshop, Illustrator, Encore & Premiere, which unfortunately without the help of Automatic Duck, AE & Premiere don’t talk with Final Cut. And, most importantly for Premiere, it operates on both Windows and OS X, which works wonders for me as I use both platforms.

    Both camps know that all us end users of the CS suite in its various incarnations & Apple’s equivalents use a mix of programs from both sides. Nobody in their right mind works exclusively in Adobe or Apple programs at the expense of the other as to do so limits what you can do. The sooner that the program makers realise this and make their products more user friendly, the better.

  2. Apple wants a closed market, monopoly and control over everything that comes out on their products, while Adobe enables everyone to create and share on any platform.
    Apple must certainly dream of killing Adobe so that creative content can only be created under a strict Apple NDA and only distributed when Apple gets 30% of every sale.

  3. adobe may have the gold standard with illustrator and photoshop… but really those apps could and should be so much better. They are bloated and jaded. They look like 10 year old apps.

  4. Are you guys serious? Apple buying Adobe would be like buying an Indian garage shack (no pun intended to any Indian). Adobe is just not fit for making software. Ever talked to people who work with CS4? Everything is glitchy, the UI is inconsistent, even such simple things as software suite wide shortcuts. Flash will die in the near future, PDF may be Adobe’s invention, but there are better ways to deal with them as with Adobe’s software. Premiere is in no way a match to Final Cut. Dreamweaver sucks and blows at the same time. Much better ways to code HTML. The only thing left is Photoshop… I user Pixelmator, but it’s not comparable to the full range of Photoshop, but suits the needs of 90% of all users.

  5. Jameskatt

    Amusing article.

    However, for the same price as Adobe, Apple can buy controlling interest in Sony. Now THAT is a better buy.

    Not only would they have Sony electronics, cameras, computers, and Ericson cell phones but they would also get Columbia pictures and music. Apple would become one of the big movie studios and one of the big music studios.

    They can shape up Sony in their image. And they would have a great collection of movies for the iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV and Macs.


    Buy Sony for only $19 billion – less than half of Apple’s every growing cash hoard.

    Make Sony a subsidiary of Apple.

  6. I’ve been moaning about this for weeks! I work with Adobe products 20 hours-a-day and I can’t think of anything better than Apple buying them. They have too many products and their lack of competition has allowed them to become arrogant and slowed innovation. Their programs have become bloated and slow even on the newest Apple hardware.

    At the least, I wish Adobe would condense (not eliminate) their software programs. Example: Flash, Fireworks and Shockwave could be rolled into Dreamweaver; Illustrator could be rolled into InDesign, etc. I believe Apple would streamline Adobe into a much more user friendly, profitable company while giving us truly innovative products.

    I see this as only a complete win for Apple. They could truly make these programs scream on their hardware and corner the market once again for creative professionals.

  7. What as if Adobe supports their products? Ever try and call Adobe for support? They did make great products now they just abuse their installed base.
    Dreamweaver the industry standard for web development is a total disgrace!
    They need something and Apple could not do worse!

  8. Not gonna happen. Apple likes a lean and mean fighting form — an Adobe acquisition would be way too distracting. Already too much going on and Jobs knows it.

  9. “Quartz does not use Postscript as its internal graphics representation language. Instead, it uses Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) standard which is a superset of Adobe Postscript. PDF has several advantages over Postscript, including better color management, internal compression, font independence, and interactivity. (Check out the PDF specs for more information.) PDF is also is a free and open standard, which saves Apple from paying Postscript licensing fees.”

  10. After Effects is not worth it???!?! … just because you may have never used it, doesn’t make it worthless. It is probably the best and the easiest application for creating Motion Graphics!!

    And I seriously hate designers who build their aesthetic sense around Apple computers and products. Why shouldn’t the Creative Suite be available to people who use PCs? Not every designer in the world can afford a Macbook Pro or an IMac.

  11. Man-0-man…

    as a graphic designer what I would not give to kill Creative Suite off all Windows machine!

    Oh how I do miss the days when adobe products were ONLY available on Macs!

    • Oh please. Design software (Photoshop etc) run just as fine on a PC as on a Mac. I used CS4 every day in my job and I am using a PC at work. You want Apple to kill CS on the PC and force us PC designers to buy Macs (which I don’t like, btw)?? lol

  12. They way you put things in this post make no sense. Why should Apple spent a minimum of $20 billions (adobe market cap is over $18b and we know companies sells at a premium) for Adobe so it could just take part of Adobe and kill the rest.

    It make no sense. But after reading your ideas for After Effects, Acrobat and the PC business its clear to me that you just write this to meet a deadline on a post or you are not very smart from a business standpoint.

  13. Gazoobee

    Adobe and all their products are a big steaming pile of you know what. This makes sense since Adobe has their head so far up corporate America’s ass that how could they produce anything else?

    I’ve used them *all* since the very first version of each and all the precursors that Adobe bought up and ruined in their own special way as well. They are junk, and the codebase is junk. They use a Windows development environment and pretty much none of their products even run half-assed on the Mac anymore.

    So … you’re arguing that Apple should buy this pile of poo, and spend billions polishing the turd a la Microsoft … why again?

    It just doesn’t make sense. Adobe has zero technology and zero patents or code that would be useful to Apple. They would have to rewrite every single application from scratch with Cocoa, and then probably somehow support windows versions because dumping them would just create competitors. Why, why, why?

    Better to buy Pixelmator and blow Photoshop out of the water within two revisions. It’s already *almost* as good even with just the two guys working on it.

  14. iphonerulez

    What a laugh. Apple buy a Adobe and shut down Flash the next day. I could see all those Flash fanboys wailing and crying about Flash’s relevance to the web. Of course, it’s possible that Apple could redesign Flash so it isn’t bloated, slow and vulnerable. Nahhh. Just get rid of it and let HTML5 proceed at a faster pace. Too bad it won’t happen, but it is a fun dream. Those iPhone competitor companies would then have to shut their pieholes about them supporting Flash and the iPhone doesn’t.

  15. commandersprocket

    Apple buy Adobe….HELL NO. Flash is going bye bye thanks to HTML 5, Apple can and does design better design tools (premier vs finalcutpro). There is nothing here for Apple. Apple has 40 billion dollars in the bank, they can create something as forward thinking as the original mac and apple lazer printer was in 1984.
    I can’t wait to buy my Breaburn wearable computer in 2012, it records everything I see with HD quality, gives me 24/7 access to the internet, creates augmented reality when I want it to and monitors my health….no, no, you’re right, instead Apple should spend the money on mergers and acquisitions (which don’t work 75% of the time, largely because of the multiple collisions of corperate culture, finance, development etc).

  16. The last thing Apple needs is to acquire a company loaded with slow, bloated overpriced software suites.

    The last thing Adobe wants to do is be bought by Apple and have them clean house and changing every aspect of their core business. Adobe doesn’t seem to like change very much. They prefer the status quo and slapping on a few features into their software every year.

  17. Are you absolutely out of your mind?
    What you are suggesting is clearly one of my worst nightmares. Adobe is a fantastic bastian of innovative application development and constantly branching (while integrating) their products in order to cater to the multifaceted nature of communication design and multimedia. They are also well on their way to making and utilising open source models to great potential. If you for one minute believe that Apple could BETTER Adobe through it’s singular mindless focus, closed development, and dumbed down attitude to the provision of technology – you’re DEAD WRONG. Also, have you forgotten that you don’t live in a Mac only world? While some of us own a few Apple products for their industrial design and some neat applications, we have PC’s for the bulk of our computing – especially in corporate environments, and Apple would do an appaling job of maintaining the support and direction of Adobe’s interests – which are greater than the CS suite that you seem so hell bent on focusing on as well might i add.
    Narrow minded, laughable, and terribly misinformed. Please educate yourself and leave Adobe well alone.

  18. This is the most ridiculous blog post I’ve seen in a while. I don’t know if you’re just superficial or blinded by fanboyism…

    Trust me, as product manager you’re worth zero, stick to blogging (about something else).

    Kill AE? Really? HTML5 being a substitute of Flash? In which alternate reality?

    Adobe is a LOT more than just the Creative Suite. And suggesting that the company should drop their PC market is just insane, OSX isn’t nearly as big in any country other than the US, this would mean to every extent and purpose killing the product line.

    Honestly, this post is for the posterity to laugh at.

    • I agree with Luca. The writer displays a real lack insight into the value Adobe brings to users around the world. So are we suppose to buy the fact that because Apple practices predatory practices… such as fencing off the sandbox on the iPhone and iPad (blocking things like Flash)… that HTML 5 is the solution to expanding media needs on the web. For anyone with real experience with any flavor of available web markup languages, such as XHTML, HTML, and SVG make it easy to understand that Apple’s hyper focus on things like HTML 5 instead allowing for the use of Flash is really about protective fencing of a critical market or family of products (i.e. Mac OS and required hardware) rather than a promotion of new standards that better the internet community. There is a need for Web HTML content that is accessible and rich media formats or rich internet applications and in the case of rich media standardized playback is a critical requirement. This is where offerings like PDF, and Flash neutralize all the platform inconsistency and interoperability problems.

      As other writers have noted the Mac OS user audience is a blip on the radar in comparison to other platforms. So it silly to continue to entertain enduring Apple vs. Microsoft war for dominance… and aggravating to knowledgeable reader to see the writer employing a collection of generalizations that amount to some illustration of Apple having Adobe as a arrow in its quiver. Nothing could be further from the truth… Apple became a closed ecosystem when Jobs killed the Mac Clone offerings and with that reconfirmed that Apple’s focus with hardware. On the other hand Adobe is software focused and platform neutral. Apple pioneered the concept of Rich Internet Applications… transforming the original Flash interactive media utility into a real application development platform and delivery method (free from OS trappings. Microsoft lures people into its ecosystem with ubiquitous Word Processor, Presentation tool and Spreadsheet apps and Apple lure people into its ecosystem with a closed an clean unified product offering (software + hardware… along with thins like keynote and iTunes). Apple provides it base offering as freebies and then supplies rich development and design tools that make creation a joy (rather than a dread). The real movement in technology right now is hardware neutrality and cloud based computing, and from this vantage point Adobe carries more weight than Apple. New products from Adobe like Air really deliver in this hardware neutral space and stand notions of hardware and operating systems on their head… the same application can run on Mac, Windows, or Linux.

    • Did you read the first paragraph?

      Apparently not.

      The article is just speculation. A what if piece.

      Claim down and take your Valium and kiss your picture of that worthless Shantanu Narayen!

      P.S. Flash WILL be gone in a couple years. Apple wags the dog, not Adobe. Adobe is a follower!

    • Leo's hairpiece

      I think I grinned a bit too much, too, to take it seriously.

      With respect, I think the author is showing their narrow experience in some key areas. Just because one person doesn’t use (or see much use) of products such as Premier, Acrobat, or After Effects doesn’t mean that there’s not a whole world out there that doesn’t use them more than the entry-level crowd.

      Yes, some products have problems with forward momentum but in many regards you’re comparing products of different strata – consumer, prosumer, and professional. I’m sure most college kids think Final Cut is the big stick but Avid, PC or not, is really the production workhorse in major studios everywhere. It’s not a platform distinction it’s an industry standard tool distinction.

      I use FCP, yes, but that doesn’t mean I’d try to pass it off as having a larger share in the professional world than it does.

      Acrobat – there simply isn’t another contender.

      Flash – it’s more than just games. There’s an entire advertising revenue empire built around it. HTML5 doesn’t address the entire spectrum that Flash is used in.

      I think one needs to dig a bit deeper (me included) but I know enough to know this article is far too dismissive to be taken seriously.

    • Agreed. I would have expected a little due diligence before dropping a comment like that. After Effects is widely used in film, broadcast, and a number of other industries. It is the standard that other compositing programs are measured by. Dropping that app would be catastrophic for many business and individuals.

      I think a Apple-Adobe takeover would be interesting, but some of the assumptions here indicate the author has a lack of experience in using any of the applications mentioned, or the innovations that come along with the different program upgrades.

      You want another example of lack of innovation in upgrades? What was so grand about Snow Leopard?

      Now that I think about it, I’d actually hate to have Apple mess with Adobe. How long was it before Aperture was finally upgraded?

    • CryoGen

      I was scratching my head about this post until I got to the After Effects line. Omigod. What exactly does Apple or anyone in the industry have to replace AE? Nada. Hollywood by itself would lose their collective minds. If you just hate Adobe, say so. But I don’t want you making corporate decisions that shear an entire market for no good reason.

    • I’m not saying that dropping After Effects would be a great idea, but from some of the comments posted here, I’m betting some haven’t used recent versions of Motion. It wasn’t a viable replacement initially, but it certainly is now. This isn’t just my opinion, other third party reviews have indicated as much.

  19. What the hell’s happening here, am I reading an Aldous Huxley / George Orwell book? I don’t want everyone to buy up everyone else, what about good old choice :( I’d argue that; before there were two, Macromedia and Adobe, and Flash was good and exciting, then there was one, Adobe, and now it’s [Flash] been stagnated and turned into everything and nothing because of massive board meetings and crappy conglomerate direction, no doubt.

    Usually I’d be critisied for being an optimist towards the great computer maker, but no mé gusta what Apple are going with all this. I liked an Apple that created partnerships / competition, not an awe of consumption.

    If Apple indeed bought up Adobe I’d have fear. I’d be the first to say it’s a bad, becuase (using photoshop as an example):
    – It would turn into an iPhoto with big buttons and auto-red eye remover for dummies all over the place
    – Employers would (think they) want ‘certified’ Apple PS users. Don’t like.
    – My PC friends would hate me for my computer vendor of choice stealing PS
    – etc.

    Anyhow, Adobe, get your act together and make good software still and don’t be bullied.

  20. johnny

    yes just like: final cut, logic, & shake all bought form others. i was especially sad when they bought emagic GmbH hw sw the german company that made logic and its components along with hardware. sad they took out all the hardware and the xs key + now everythign is pre made in logic (i like the old days when i had to do everything from scratch, and actually learn stuff) . even a cave man can make music these days. (especially apple fan boys)

    so if apple buys adobe, they will have it all. apple will be next Microsoft.

    see. apple has gone so streamline now its insane. people we need to think about quality over quantity. less = more.

  21. Maybe I was harsh. Competition is good. As you compare one product against another you see redundancies. Your comparisons are interesting.

    I work on both the Mac and the PC, and have found the ability to go back and forth using the same programs on both. This is valuable, as I design packaging, catalogs, circulars, and other print media on the Mac. I use the PC to create web sites, because most of the world in on a PC. Same images and graphics on different platforms has been an incredible advancement.

  22. I think this is ridiculous! When you put everything in the hands of one entity you give them the power to say, as Quark once did, take it or leave it. No tech support, no concern with public demand, no realistic upgrades. That is just to name a few of the problems.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely! This doesn’t just apply to dictators.

  23. By dismissing Acrobat in one short paragraph, you’re showing a complete misunderstanding of what Adobe is all about. Their market for Acrobat meets or exceeds their market for the entire Creative Suite.

    There are products like Live Cycle and other PDF based information management tools that don’t even have names for the retail market. Things that as a Business Development Manager with an Adobe Gold Partner-level company that I couldn’t even sell to my clients.

    Used so widely in business and government markets, on untold numbers of PCs worldwide, PDF is a very powerful tool for storing, capturing and managing information. Online forms that submit their contents back into a database, documents that contain live 3D models. High-resolution print-ready artwork for magazines and catalogues.

    There is a lot more to PDF than you realise.

    Having said all that, yes, the Adobe Reader can be a pain, and having it install it’s web plugins for Safari is annoying, but this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be done with PDFs and Adobe is all about selling the tools that enable this.

    • TN_Mike

      I agree with Kai, PDF is the most valuable thing Adobe has. Forget saving Flash, it would take to much money, the second gem for Apple would be to kill Flash for good. Maybe they could sell of the creative suite or create a child company like Claris/FileMaker.

    • the bit about preview renders this kind of pointless. Preview is a lot faster than acrobat reader. and pages can export to PDF, so there really isnt a need for acrobat at all.

  24. adam jackson

    I always felt from a strategic standpoint

    A) streamling their product line
    B) kill anything not making money
    C) 64-bit, dual-core and cocoa everything
    D) make flash full h.264 and full standards to work on any device
    E) Stop developing software for windows.

    E is risky but apple is in the business of selling hardware. A bold move that may pay off big time for apple.

    • So Apple should start ignoring the vast majority of their market for iPhones? Because most iPhone and iPod users are PC users, chum; the iPhone wouldn’t be very big at all if you needed to buy a mac to use it.

    • I disagree with E – simply because Apple would have the unique advantage of shaping what could be the standards of Windows software. Remember that iTunes is successful on Windows machines too (perhaps Safari is a bad example). Not every designer and video editor is a Mac user (I know… crazy, right?!) because the reality is no matter how inferior the computers are, businesses still use PCs because it keeps costs down with cheaper hardware and less training.

      Either way, I don’t believe Adobe is for sale, but if Apple did buy it, I’d be happy because then I wouldn’t have to choose between Aperature and Lightroom, or Final Cut v Premiere, because Apple would get rid of the inferior product and sell the better one.

    • adam jackson

      Before you say I’m a total idiot, I never said I’m some seasoned CEO w/ an MBA from Stanford.

      I’m just a dude that was trying to think creatively.

    • Driveby comment:

      E) Stop developing software for windows

      That’s like 90% of Adobe’s revenue. That’s some real strategery!

      Combine that with B) kill anything not making money, and you’ve got a recipe for real success!

      Nevermind that:

      1. Hostile takeover of Adobe is virtually impossible due to poison pill provisions.

      2. Adobe’s shareholders wouldn’t agree to any sale that will harm their value.

      You got an MBA from Stanford?