10.08.10

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Microsoft More Likely to Split Than to Merge With Adobe

Posted in Microsoft, Rumour at 10:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Adobe binary

Summary: A reality check amid rumours that Microsoft may be interested in Adobe’s assets and more bad news about Vista Phone 7 [sic]

Due to some reports like this one, people have begun to speculate that Microsoft might buy Adobe, which is extremely unlikely for reasons that were brought up in IRC. If Microsoft ever thought about buying Adobe, then it confirms yet again it has an identity crisis (as new internal documents appear to suggest). The article from the New York Times begins as follows:

Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, recently showed up with a small entourage of deputies at Adobe’s offices to hold a secret meeting with Adobe’s chief executive, Shantanu Narayen.

The meeting, which lasted more than an hour, covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could team up in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options.

Microsoft has been poaching Adobe employees for a while, it has products that compete directly with Adobe (hello redundancy and antitrust), and it does not have money to buy Adobe. These are just some of the many reasons why an acquisition is not going to happen. Rather than Microsoft growing through stealthy deals it appears as though it may shrink by splitting up, just like it was supposed to after antitrust violations in the 90s. Such a ‘radical’ suggestion came from Goldman Sachs a few days ago and here it is in the news again:

Goldman Sachs, at one time the most respected Wall Street investment bank in the world, is urging Microsoft to shed its Xbox (and the entire entertainment division, actually) branch into its own company, and for Microsoft proper to just focus on the business, operating system and office software stuff.

Goldman Sachs has also expressed dissatisfaction with Microsoft’s next attempt at the mobile market. It was not alone. As IDG puts it:

Windows Phone 7 Buzz Muted by Naysayers

[...]

In fact Microsoft is facing a wall of naysayers leading up this Monday when it will introduce its first batch of Windows Phone 7 phones. Analysts and investors are wary about Windows Phone 7′s prospects. Third-party application developers are giving mixed reviews about the new smartphone platform. And average Joes and Janes are just making wisecracks.

Here’s a look at what people are saying about Microsoft.

Microsoft Downgrade

Market research firm Gartner on Wednesday predicted that Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows Phone 7 will not buoy the company’s sagging mobile handset fortunes. Instead, Gartner predicts, Microsoft’s global market share will drop from 4.7 percent in 2010 to 3.9 percent by 2014, according to Information Week.

Gartner’s prediction follows Goldman Sachs downgrade of Microsoft’s stock on Monday from “buy” to “neutral.” The investment firm dinged Microsoft for its failure to gain “a firmer foothold in the growing migration to mobile devices,” according to Bloomberg.

It’s not hard to see where that criticism comes from. Apple’s iPad, for example, has become the tablet device to beat and inspired a slew of competitors, and this has all happened in less than a year. Microsoft, meanwhile, has been trying to inspire tablet PC adoption for years without much success.

It may not take long for Vista Phone 7 to die and join this list, at which point buyers of such phones will be greeted by messages like this one:

Customers can continue to enjoy the full benefits of MSN Direct, along with service and support, up until that date. Pro-rated refunds for unused portions of existing One-Time Payment and 12 month subscription plans will be automatically credited after January 1, 2012. Customers may cancel service at any point prior to that date and receive a pro-rated refund for any unused portion of their subscription. Microsoft customer support is available to answer any questions about existing subscriptions or refund eligibility at 1-866-658-7032.

Why would Microsoft bury about 40 products only to spend ~15 billion dollars buying Adobe (the company’s market cap is around $14.3 billion at the moment)? Microsoft hardly even makes acquisitions anymore. It just makes no sense.

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A Single Comment

  1. lightpriest said,

    October 9, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Gravatar

    Personally, I think that the demos of phone 7 are not that bad, unlike those weird leaked reviews on their so called tablet, where the reviewer says “it’s very responsive” as he tries swipe-scroll a page on IE and it selects text instead (my guess is that it was a “PR leak”).

    It really looks like a not so bad overhaul, although lacks many features other companies are already finding ways to make more useful (like voice commands on the Android).
    The main problem older versions of Windows phone had were responsiveness, if they were as responsive as the iPhone – I think they wouldn’t fail as they did.

    On the other hand, they won’t support copy/paste on this new piece of software and it points to one thing: They are pressured to release it, no matter how it is. Who knows what other stuff it lacks?
    As always, they release a piece of software that’s not really ready to be used. PR won’t sell for them as better and cheaper solutions exist.

    Plus, PR only affects a small portion of the sales, if the product is not good – it won’t succeed. Even if they had 5% of market share, it won’t be enough to cover all the losses from their recently dead products, and the future (already failed) 7 based tablet.

    And as a side not, I hope it would fail. As a website developer, when I develop for smartphones I enjoy the world of standards (without having to adjust to IE) with webkit – where references just work :)
    Who knows how bad the current version of IE on the phone would be…

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