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Google extends reach on desktop via toolbar distribution deal with Adobe

The Shockwave player runs on an estimated 55 percent of Internet-ready desktop computers, according to Adobe.

Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO, believes "Our customers will benefit from the power and convenience of the Google Toolbar, and the popularity and reach of Adobe technology gives Google even broader exposure to a growing base of consumers.” Adobe's Shockwave player runs on an estimated 55 percent of Internet-ready desktop computers, according to the company.

Adobe shareholders, however, are undoubtedly most pleased that the company expects its multiyear distribution deal with Google, announced yesterday, “to represent significant revenue to Adobe over a period of years."

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PaidContent’s Staci Kramer questions Google’s paid traffic acquisition strategy:

Adobe is distributing the Google Toolbar with its Macromedia Shockwave Player downloads. In other words, Google, which once was content to share ad revenue in exchange for traffic, is buying distribution — and usage — outright.

Google's toolbar distribution deal with Adobe follows its deal with Dell to pre-install Google software on Dell PCs. Commenting on the Dell deal at the recent investor conference call, however, Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, engaged in some more “Google Speak”:

“it's unlikely that, in and of itself, we could just buy customers. It typically doesn't work. Usually, those customers are evanescent; they can move from one place to another pretty quickly, not like other businesses, where the customers are kind of stuck. It's a bad business strategy, and it's not consistent with Google's values and business strategy or culture, anyway."

I have submitted questions to Adobe to inquire as to whether Adobe customers are actually “kind of stuck”:

  1. Is the Google toolbar download automatic with the Shockwave Player download, or will the user be asked whether or not it is wished that the Google toolbar is downloaded as well?
  2. Can the user opt-out of the Google toolbar download?
  3. Will purchasers of Adobe applications be able to NOT install the Google toolbar at time of product installation?

The questions are not academic. Well before the Google-Dell deal was announced, my HP PC purchased last Fall came pre-installed with the Google toolbar, much to my unpleasant surprise. The disabling procedure was not obvious, and the Google Toolbar remains lurking on my computer.

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