June 20, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

Microsoft and Adobe to square off?

After two decades of successfully steering clear of Microsoft, Adobe Systems is edging closer to the software giant's crosshairs.

Since its launch in 1982, when Microsoft was 7 years old, Adobe has built up a commanding lead in the markets for digital document and image editing software, among the few areas in PC software Microsoft has failed to dominate.

Microsoft's test release last week of the Acrylic graphic design tool and the demonstration of its Metro digital document format indicate that the company may be growing less tolerant of Adobe as it encroaches on Microsoft's turf with the proposed acquisition of Macromedia and its Flash and Flex framework for building Web-based applications.

News.context

What's new:
After two decades of successfully steering clear of Microsoft, Adobe Systems, with its pending buyout of Macromedia, is edging closer to the software giant's crosshairs.

Bottom line:
With the next version of Windows--Longhorn--delayed; the graphic design tool Acrylic still in a test version and earning mixed reviews; and digital document format Metro tied to Longhorn's fate, many see plenty of breathing room for Adobe. Still, Microsoft has clearly become ill at ease with Adobe, and Microsoft is Microsoft.

More stories on Adobe

The combined forces of Adobe's PDF and Macromedia's Flash particularly, say analysts, have brightened the bull's-eye on the San Jose, Calif., graphics software company.

"Microsoft is already showing signs that Flash is more than just an annoyance," said Burton Group analyst Gary Hein. "Announcements like Metro, Avalon and Acrylic show that Microsoft is taking Adobe plus Macromedia much more seriously. (Adobe Chief Executive Bruce) Chizen should be worried."

In the race to sell technology for building Web-based applications, the competitive landscape is far from stable. Microsoft has described its vision of Windows applications integrated tightly into the Internet through the company's Longhorn operating system, but numerous delays have allowed alternatives such as Flash and "AJAX" to gain traction.

Adobe declined to comment on the strategic implications of its proposed acquisition. But Macromedia called "ridiculous" the idea that it is competing with Microsoft's operating system at all.

"I don't think Flash is any threat to Windows," said Kevin Lynch, chief software architect for Macromedia. "We're a really small company compared to Microsoft. Flash is specifically designed for Internet use, for Internet applications, and that's very different from an operating system."

Analysts take a different view of the strategic importance of Flash, and compare it to the threat the Web posed to Windows before Microsoft launched its defensive, ultimately successful campaign with the Internet Explorer browser 10 years ago.

"I'd agree that Flash is not a direct threat to the OS, but it's a threat to portions of the OS" such as developers' tools, said Hein. "It's kind of

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52 comments

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Add your comment
This willbe a contest....
... that will be fun to watch.

I have no love for Adobe, since I am not a 24/7 graphics artist
working at the professional level. And Adobe has abandoned all
its basic consumer application focus. What's left is overly
complex bloatware that, for he average user, is useless, So far, I
have eliminated almost all Adobe's programs from my
company's publication operations

I also have no love for MS, but that's due more to MS's
'innovation' behavior than to MS's bloatware apps. Office is not
bad, but it needed a better core design. WIndows is a marketing
tool not an OS. And many of MS's independent apps are visual
and functional losers (Have you seen the Acrylic Beta yet???).
Of all MS's apps, I am still using Office.

But, obviously, both MS and Adobe has legions of devoted users
who have nothing but praise for the companies and their apps.
So, watching Adobe and MS 'duke it out' for dominance will be
quite entertaining. And I can remain impartial - it makes no
diffference to me whoever wins.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yep...
Absolutely no graphic design talent and I actually prefer Paint Shop Pro from JASC (now Corel) 'cos I can have it running with more programs at once than Photoshop.
Posted by DoohanOK (51 comments )
Link Flag
This willbe a contest....
... that will be fun to watch.

I have no love for Adobe, since I am not a 24/7 graphics artist
working at the professional level. And Adobe has abandoned all
its basic consumer application focus. What's left is overly
complex bloatware that, for he average user, is useless, So far, I
have eliminated almost all Adobe's programs from my
company's publication operations

I also have no love for MS, but that's due more to MS's
'innovation' behavior than to MS's bloatware apps. Office is not
bad, but it needed a better core design. WIndows is a marketing
tool not an OS. And many of MS's independent apps are visual
and functional losers (Have you seen the Acrylic Beta yet???).
Of all MS's apps, I am still using Office.

But, obviously, both MS and Adobe has legions of devoted users
who have nothing but praise for the companies and their apps.
So, watching Adobe and MS 'duke it out' for dominance will be
quite entertaining. And I can remain impartial - it makes no
diffference to me whoever wins.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yep...
Absolutely no graphic design talent and I actually prefer Paint Shop Pro from JASC (now Corel) 'cos I can have it running with more programs at once than Photoshop.
Posted by DoohanOK (51 comments )
Link Flag
Macromedia/Adobe much more than Flash or Flex...
Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia is more than just a new home for Flash. Macromedia have gone from strength to strength with many key products and technologies. Adobe will acquire these like Flash Comm Server, Flex, ColdFusion, Breeze, Dreamweaver, etc.

ColdFusion with the latest incarnation is enjoying continued growth - how many other "not free" web technologies ever reach 10 years of age (July 13)? And being built on J2EE but still being incredibly powerful and easy to use.

Flex and Breeze are also extremely popular whilst Studio MX 2004 brings best of breed web development tools to both Wintel and Mac platforms.

Adobe have responded to criticisms about the time it takes to load certain "readers" like Acrobat - but with MM they also get Flash Paper. Should be interesting to see what new tools and technologies the merger produces.

I was always worried it would be Microsoft that acquired Allaire, then Macromedia and maybe now Adobe. Microsoft grabbed Vermeer for the poor FrontPage remember.

The new Adobe will be hard to beat as they will cover alot of bases with superior (if not pricey) solutions.
Posted by DoohanOK (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But on the other hand...
Everything Adobe has bought from another company or the company itself they have managed to flush down the toilet. When Adobe starts forcing their poor support, poor user to user forums, lack of good third party developer support (look at the number of Photoshop plug-ins available today compared to 5 years ago. The number has dropped), and then to top it all off when Adobe starts Adobeising the Macromedia products interfaces. You will end up with a bunch of dogs like GoLive, PageMaker, FrameMaker, ImageStyler, LiveMotion and many others that Adobe has managed to flush down the toilet.

Adobe is going to have to make some major changes in attitude, support, third party developer support and most importantly not screw up the Macromedia products if they expect to stand a chance.

And, please don't take this as my support for Microsoft. I don't care for them either.

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
Link Flag
Macromedia/Adobe much more than Flash or Flex...
Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia is more than just a new home for Flash. Macromedia have gone from strength to strength with many key products and technologies. Adobe will acquire these like Flash Comm Server, Flex, ColdFusion, Breeze, Dreamweaver, etc.

ColdFusion with the latest incarnation is enjoying continued growth - how many other "not free" web technologies ever reach 10 years of age (July 13)? And being built on J2EE but still being incredibly powerful and easy to use.

Flex and Breeze are also extremely popular whilst Studio MX 2004 brings best of breed web development tools to both Wintel and Mac platforms.

Adobe have responded to criticisms about the time it takes to load certain "readers" like Acrobat - but with MM they also get Flash Paper. Should be interesting to see what new tools and technologies the merger produces.

I was always worried it would be Microsoft that acquired Allaire, then Macromedia and maybe now Adobe. Microsoft grabbed Vermeer for the poor FrontPage remember.

The new Adobe will be hard to beat as they will cover alot of bases with superior (if not pricey) solutions.
Posted by DoohanOK (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But on the other hand...
Everything Adobe has bought from another company or the company itself they have managed to flush down the toilet. When Adobe starts forcing their poor support, poor user to user forums, lack of good third party developer support (look at the number of Photoshop plug-ins available today compared to 5 years ago. The number has dropped), and then to top it all off when Adobe starts Adobeising the Macromedia products interfaces. You will end up with a bunch of dogs like GoLive, PageMaker, FrameMaker, ImageStyler, LiveMotion and many others that Adobe has managed to flush down the toilet.

Adobe is going to have to make some major changes in attitude, support, third party developer support and most importantly not screw up the Macromedia products if they expect to stand a chance.

And, please don't take this as my support for Microsoft. I don't care for them either.

Robert
Posted by (336 comments )
Link Flag
Doubtful MS will lure professionals
If MS develops creative apps anything like Word or Powerpoint,
then they don't stand much of a chance with professional
designers. MS does not seem to be able to create an intuitive
application like the ones Adobe and Apple can deliver. Creatives
want to use a tool that helps them deliver their ideas quickly and
painlessly and not one that is bloated and unorganized. I know
of no one (designers and non-designers) who does not cringe
when having to produce anything of quality or complexity using
Word or Powerpoint. Of course, these are not programs targeted
at professional designers, but they simply are not intuitive or
well thought out. Even the Help in these apps is poorly
organized adding to the frustration of getting something to
work as it should.

Hopefully (for them), MS will take a whole new approach to
development and perhaps learn something from developers at
Adobe and Apple.... OR maybe they'll just target the weekend
creatives and mom & pop businesses where image is not a top
priority.
Posted by edgedesign (290 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe what Adobe and MS need...
... is to pursue the concept of linked apps, rather than one big
bloated app. Like with Word, start with a focused word processor
with fonts and all the other basic word processor functons. Then
provide a linked page setup program, which can take the word
files are build a basic document using the Word files and
apropriate graphics files. Then provide a Final Document
program which can add all the pops, bells, and whisles to s
finished publication.

Then the suer can go as far as his needs require and skills
permit. At least it sounds like a good idea - much better than
having everything crammed into one program.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed
However, it is good to see a little motivating competition if you can call it that at this point.

For creative professionals Adobe will smoke Microsoft. Microsoft is just giving its office user guys more toys to play with and frustrate color houses output efforts. (IMO)
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Link Flag
Doubtful MS will lure professionals
If MS develops creative apps anything like Word or Powerpoint,
then they don't stand much of a chance with professional
designers. MS does not seem to be able to create an intuitive
application like the ones Adobe and Apple can deliver. Creatives
want to use a tool that helps them deliver their ideas quickly and
painlessly and not one that is bloated and unorganized. I know
of no one (designers and non-designers) who does not cringe
when having to produce anything of quality or complexity using
Word or Powerpoint. Of course, these are not programs targeted
at professional designers, but they simply are not intuitive or
well thought out. Even the Help in these apps is poorly
organized adding to the frustration of getting something to
work as it should.

Hopefully (for them), MS will take a whole new approach to
development and perhaps learn something from developers at
Adobe and Apple.... OR maybe they'll just target the weekend
creatives and mom & pop businesses where image is not a top
priority.
Posted by edgedesign (290 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe what Adobe and MS need...
... is to pursue the concept of linked apps, rather than one big
bloated app. Like with Word, start with a focused word processor
with fonts and all the other basic word processor functons. Then
provide a linked page setup program, which can take the word
files are build a basic document using the Word files and
apropriate graphics files. Then provide a Final Document
program which can add all the pops, bells, and whisles to s
finished publication.

Then the suer can go as far as his needs require and skills
permit. At least it sounds like a good idea - much better than
having everything crammed into one program.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed
However, it is good to see a little motivating competition if you can call it that at this point.

For creative professionals Adobe will smoke Microsoft. Microsoft is just giving its office user guys more toys to play with and frustrate color houses output efforts. (IMO)
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Link Flag
This is news?
Come on now, this article is in the front page?
Recycled material...next!
Posted by (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I know
This is the third time they have written about this same exact topic, which, even the first time around, is a non-story. The feud between Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson has more news value.
Posted by Chung Leong (111 comments )
Link Flag
This is news?
Come on now, this article is in the front page?
Recycled material...next!
Posted by (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I know
This is the third time they have written about this same exact topic, which, even the first time around, is a non-story. The feud between Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson has more news value.
Posted by Chung Leong (111 comments )
Link Flag
Look to your friends
Adobe should look to its friends.

Apple has embraced Photoshop, PDF, and Flash.

While MS wants to compete with it.
Posted by (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Look to your friends
Adobe should look to its friends.

Apple has embraced Photoshop, PDF, and Flash.

While MS wants to compete with it.
Posted by (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why Microsoft cannot never have a niche market product like Adobe.
Every time I turn the paper, all the blog heads are always singing praises how Microsoft is going to catch up to someone elses product. I have always wondered what product line has Microsoft ever been the original developer. Rather, they just wait in the wings for somebody to come up with an idea before they jump in and pollute the water.

History:

Spreadsheet - Lotus 123 vs. Excel, till date Microsoft won the war not because of superior product, rather because of money and power. I still use Lotus for better analysis.

Word Processor: who will forget our loved WordPerfect? To my amazement many lawyers still rely on WordPerfect 5.1 for their paper work. Microsoft was not the pioneer; however they won the war because of bundling. And who will forget our historical Icon - Harvard Graphics, which Microsoft PowerPoint still cannot match, even twelve years later.

Those are their success stories: This will not be the first time that Microsoft has tried and failed woefully. Remember the first time Microsoft tried to challenge Adobe, (the Blog Heads will not remember) in the graphics design application with stolen name from Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw; the program was called Microsoft Photo Draw - Disaster.

People need force Microsoft to put up superior products and not wait in the wings for somebody to come up something and bid brother Microsoft will jump in.

Note: This is about Microsoft and not about Bill Gates, whom I think is a wonderful human being. I know people will ask, what is the difference?
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why Microsoft cannot never have a niche market product like Adobe
I think you are right Emi. You can say Microsoft always steal other ideas and bundle with its products. I think government should split Microsoft into two: One for Operation System (OS) and other for Software. So that we can see a fair competition with other companies. Right now, Microsoft always has advantage to other companies.
Notes: Don't judge Bill Gates through his donation. Judge him how he kills many companies with their owns ideas.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
Okay....
.. What's the differecne?????
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Why Microsoft cannot never have a niche market product like Adobe.
Every time I turn the paper, all the blog heads are always singing praises how Microsoft is going to catch up to someone elses product. I have always wondered what product line has Microsoft ever been the original developer. Rather, they just wait in the wings for somebody to come up with an idea before they jump in and pollute the water.

History:

Spreadsheet - Lotus 123 vs. Excel, till date Microsoft won the war not because of superior product, rather because of money and power. I still use Lotus for better analysis.

Word Processor: who will forget our loved WordPerfect? To my amazement many lawyers still rely on WordPerfect 5.1 for their paper work. Microsoft was not the pioneer; however they won the war because of bundling. And who will forget our historical Icon - Harvard Graphics, which Microsoft PowerPoint still cannot match, even twelve years later.

Those are their success stories: This will not be the first time that Microsoft has tried and failed woefully. Remember the first time Microsoft tried to challenge Adobe, (the Blog Heads will not remember) in the graphics design application with stolen name from Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw; the program was called Microsoft Photo Draw - Disaster.

People need force Microsoft to put up superior products and not wait in the wings for somebody to come up something and bid brother Microsoft will jump in.

Note: This is about Microsoft and not about Bill Gates, whom I think is a wonderful human being. I know people will ask, what is the difference?
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why Microsoft cannot never have a niche market product like Adobe
I think you are right Emi. You can say Microsoft always steal other ideas and bundle with its products. I think government should split Microsoft into two: One for Operation System (OS) and other for Software. So that we can see a fair competition with other companies. Right now, Microsoft always has advantage to other companies.
Notes: Don't judge Bill Gates through his donation. Judge him how he kills many companies with their owns ideas.
Posted by (2 comments )
Link Flag
Okay....
.. What's the differecne?????
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Hot on Adobes Heels?! LMAO
eom
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hot on Adobes Heels?! LMAO
eom
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hello Adobe/Macro/Apple: It's MicroSith.
It is painfully obvious that Citizen Gates is out to be the Darth Vader of creativity computing.

MS has attempted for years to topple Adobe & Apple in the arenas of professional press publication, ColorSync, Acrobat & digital photo / video processing.

Citizen Gates even went to the great lengths of buying millions of photographic rights, building a huge digital photo database & opening Corbis as his own company outside of MS, so he could control & make billions of royalties from professional photographers & publishing houses.

MS has lamely attempted to put out "prosumer" PhotoPC software for years without success to the point that they have to give it away with "Discount Dells".

Citizen Gates has also attempted to alter & undermine native Java / Flash coding with "Windows-compatible" versions of their own "interpretations" of Java/Flash in order to derail & dillute NON-MS coding on the Internet.

Gates has recently be very public about developing an Adobe Acrobat PDF killer-app within ShorthornOS in 2006/07/08/??.

MS doesnot have a built-in / included "Apple iLife Suite" equivilant (not even close) with MSXP.

This is such a slimy attempt to kill Photoshop/iPhoto/RAW file protocols within the entire digital creative industry in order to have world dominance in the realm of digital media all being "managed" through MSOS.

DOJ are splineless drones bowing down to the one they serve. All Hail Darth Gates!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmmmmm
Only on CNET.........jeesh. How many cans of Jolt Cola went into
that "analysis".
Posted by mcthingy2 (64 comments )
Link Flag
Hello Adobe/Macro/Apple: It's MicroSith.
It is painfully obvious that Citizen Gates is out to be the Darth Vader of creativity computing.

MS has attempted for years to topple Adobe & Apple in the arenas of professional press publication, ColorSync, Acrobat & digital photo / video processing.

Citizen Gates even went to the great lengths of buying millions of photographic rights, building a huge digital photo database & opening Corbis as his own company outside of MS, so he could control & make billions of royalties from professional photographers & publishing houses.

MS has lamely attempted to put out "prosumer" PhotoPC software for years without success to the point that they have to give it away with "Discount Dells".

Citizen Gates has also attempted to alter & undermine native Java / Flash coding with "Windows-compatible" versions of their own "interpretations" of Java/Flash in order to derail & dillute NON-MS coding on the Internet.

Gates has recently be very public about developing an Adobe Acrobat PDF killer-app within ShorthornOS in 2006/07/08/??.

MS doesnot have a built-in / included "Apple iLife Suite" equivilant (not even close) with MSXP.

This is such a slimy attempt to kill Photoshop/iPhoto/RAW file protocols within the entire digital creative industry in order to have world dominance in the realm of digital media all being "managed" through MSOS.

DOJ are splineless drones bowing down to the one they serve. All Hail Darth Gates!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hmmmmm
Only on CNET.........jeesh. How many cans of Jolt Cola went into
that "analysis".
Posted by mcthingy2 (64 comments )
Link Flag
Not yet
For MS to compete in the professional markets they need to do several things:

1. Make a product that can match the features and usability of their taget app. In the case of Photoshop, they have nothing that can come close to matching it, and nothing in the works(ie anything coming out in the next 12-18 months, probably longer).

2. Give legitimate reasons why a professional graphics house should spend the money on it, as well as possible OS switch. That is an extremely expensive switch. If the MS product is windows only, and not compatible with photoshop, it is dead before it gets a change to grow. Unless MS can show that their app is heads above its competitors, including tech support, useability, and compatibility, what is the incentive to go through a time consuming and expensive switch.

These articles about MS taking on Adobe are silly and pure fiction. If company X releases a very simple text editor, are they now competitors to Word? Microsofts current graphics app in beta is as close to photohop as the simple text editor is to Word.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not yet
For MS to compete in the professional markets they need to do several things:

1. Make a product that can match the features and usability of their taget app. In the case of Photoshop, they have nothing that can come close to matching it, and nothing in the works(ie anything coming out in the next 12-18 months, probably longer).

2. Give legitimate reasons why a professional graphics house should spend the money on it, as well as possible OS switch. That is an extremely expensive switch. If the MS product is windows only, and not compatible with photoshop, it is dead before it gets a change to grow. Unless MS can show that their app is heads above its competitors, including tech support, useability, and compatibility, what is the incentive to go through a time consuming and expensive switch.

These articles about MS taking on Adobe are silly and pure fiction. If company X releases a very simple text editor, are they now competitors to Word? Microsofts current graphics app in beta is as close to photohop as the simple text editor is to Word.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Analyst are funny people.
Really why does everyone think MS can take on any company.
This is to funny. Adobe has a stronghold on the Design industry
and once they acquire Macromedia a near monopoly. No
professional designer is going to take anything Microsoft makes
seriously.

As a professional designer I would not buy MS software let alone
that I work on a Mac. But the web is moving away from WYSIWYG
tools. It's all CMS software running on servers and HTML/CSS
web sites that will rule. AJAX applications will control server
interaction for the future. Why would MS try and compete in
such a mature market?

This is just ridiculous and if Adobe stock drops again that means
buy, buy, buy!
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Analyst are funny people.
Really why does everyone think MS can take on any company.
This is to funny. Adobe has a stronghold on the Design industry
and once they acquire Macromedia a near monopoly. No
professional designer is going to take anything Microsoft makes
seriously.

As a professional designer I would not buy MS software let alone
that I work on a Mac. But the web is moving away from WYSIWYG
tools. It's all CMS software running on servers and HTML/CSS
web sites that will rule. AJAX applications will control server
interaction for the future. Why would MS try and compete in
such a mature market?

This is just ridiculous and if Adobe stock drops again that means
buy, buy, buy!
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is there any Tech company Microsoft_doesn't_ compete with?!
Sheesh.

I wish they would just go away.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is there any Tech company Microsoft_doesn't_ compete with?!
Sheesh.

I wish they would just go away.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is Lunacy! Adobe is way ahead.
Whenever MS attempts to enter a market that they have no
experience CNET always says that the company who has that
market should be somehow scared. As a media pro, I've been
on top of this every day. PDF is the format of choice on all
platforms andf across all OSs. Microsoft's format is Windows
only and doesnt interface with the billion dollar graphics
industry. PDF files sent over the net can be viewed on any
machine using any OS with any browser. By Microsoft's nature
they limit their stuff to their stuff. Will you be able to view docs
in Firefox? On a Mac? On Linux? I dount it. I tried Acrylic and
frankly it stinks. Photoshop doesnt have to be worried. Adobe
has 20 years of development in these products and seems so far
ahead of the curve--and they keep moving forward. MS is trying
to catch up and is merely a blip on the radar. MS should stick to
it's virus plaqued OS and Spyware happy browser and fixing all
the issues surronding those.
Posted by richl59 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is Lunacy! Adobe is way ahead.
Whenever MS attempts to enter a market that they have no
experience CNET always says that the company who has that
market should be somehow scared. As a media pro, I've been
on top of this every day. PDF is the format of choice on all
platforms andf across all OSs. Microsoft's format is Windows
only and doesnt interface with the billion dollar graphics
industry. PDF files sent over the net can be viewed on any
machine using any OS with any browser. By Microsoft's nature
they limit their stuff to their stuff. Will you be able to view docs
in Firefox? On a Mac? On Linux? I dount it. I tried Acrylic and
frankly it stinks. Photoshop doesnt have to be worried. Adobe
has 20 years of development in these products and seems so far
ahead of the curve--and they keep moving forward. MS is trying
to catch up and is merely a blip on the radar. MS should stick to
it's virus plaqued OS and Spyware happy browser and fixing all
the issues surronding those.
Posted by richl59 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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