What would an Apple-Adobe merger mean to Microsoft?

Pundit Robert Cringely thinks an Apple-Adobe merger makes sense on a variety of fronts. If it ever did come to pass, it would make for interesting competitive times vis-a-vis the pair's relationship with Microsoft.

We interrupt our ongoing series of Microsoft reorg posts to speculate on one heck of a speculative post by pundit Robert Cringely.

Cringely thinks an Apple-Adobe merger makes sense on a variety of fronts. If it ever did come to pass, it would make for interesting competitive times vis-a-vis the pair's relationship with Microsoft.

Apple, with its growing share of the retail PC market and its monopolization of the digital-music player one, competes with Microsoft on a number of retail fronts (Vista, Zune, IPTV, productivity apps). Adobe, with its designer tools, RIA (Rich Internet Architecture) products, document-management wares, etc., competes with Microsoft on the Windows/Office/Silverlight fronts.

Microsoft has been building up its stable of products aimed at Adobe. Recently, I heard talk about a Microsoft-incubated product under development, known as SmartFlow. SmartFlow is meant to be a head-to-head competitor with PhotoShop LightRoom post-production software for professional photographers. If and when Microsoft decides to turn SmartFlow into a commercial product, it will be just one more component in its growing family of Windows-specific tools, interfaces and services targeted at amateur and professional photographers.

Meanwhile, there's been continued speculation Microsoft is going to try to deliver more Apple iLife-like apps for Vista (Microsoft "Monaco," anyone?) And "Fiji" (which I now hear Microsoft is calling Media Center + 1) has been described as “Media Center + fixes + some (Apple) iLife-compete work.”

Even if Apple doesn't end up buying Adobe -- which is my crystal-ball prediction -- Microsoft is on an increasing collision course with both of these companies as the Redmondians try to turn up the volume on their own consumer-focused products.

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