Apple + Adobe

Boy, that Cringely fellow’s pretty out there. I’ve only just started reading him, and I didn’t realise until he started talking more about Apple how unmerited some of his ideas are. Consider his piece this week. Apple to buy Adobe? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Just quickly: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a hypothetical buy of Adobe by Apple? What issues would Apple face? What would it do with all that interesting software?

  • Lightroom would be gone. Instantly. Without pause for thought. The team working on it would have some damn handy tips for Raw support, though.
  • Apple would have an expert OpenType layout engine for Mac OS X, rather than having to roll their own. Plus a whole lot of excellent font tech, especially relating to multilingual support. Plus a whole lot of beautiful fonts to sell and (partially) distribute freely with Mac OS X.
  • Flash would be rolled into Quicktime. That’s a much more natural fit than into PDF. (Even if it is 3D PDF.) If everyone on earth didn’t have Quicktime installed already due to iTunes, it’d be a certainty now. Take that, Real. (Windows Media has given up on the Mac, an issue which I’m a little concerned but wholly uninformed about.)
  • PDF would continue as if nothing ever happened. The stagnation would be good for it. Seriously. No-one wants an evolving document standard. People are upset enough as it is that old PDF renders can’t handle new documents, despite initial promises this would be so. Well, that’s probably only a negligible problem.
  • Here’s the big dilemma: what happens to the Creative Suite? In the past, Apple has discontinued Windows versions of the software its subsumed (e.g., see Shake). But if it did this for the Creative Suite, there’d be riots in the streets. On the other hand, there’s no reasonable competition for it. Almost whatsoever. Which is kind of scary when you think about it.
  • The same problem presents itself with Premier and its relations. Apple just can’t kill of the software for Windows and force everyone to buy a Mac. On the flip side of the coin, it doesn’t want to actively develop separate apps for Windows. That’d just be silly. But porting Final Cut Studio to Windows would be an enormous effort, and slow down innovation incredibly on the Mac side of the fence.

These last two are pretty intractable problems, in my eyes. It would be impossible for Apple to buy Adobe and kill Windows support. It’d probably be prosecutable, even. And I just can’t see Apple entering the Windows software market in such a major way. I’d much more likely put my money on a bit of flirting between the companies with money going from Apple and expertise coming from Adobe to ensure a happy relationship for the coming years. It’s not like Apple hasn’t done something like this before with its $150m deal with Microsoft.