The chief executives of Microsoft and Adobe have reportedly had a secret meeting with discussions centred on how they can tackle Apple.
Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer sat down with Adobe president Shantanu Narayen to discuss strategy, with the acquisition of Adobe touted as a possible option during the meeting, The New York Times reported.
Neither Adobe or Microsoft officially confirmed the meeting, but Adobe’s shares jumped by 12 per cent, signalling talk of a possible takeover.
“Adobe and Microsoft share millions of customers around the world and the CEOs of the two companies do meet from time to time,” Holly Campbell, senior director of Adobe’s corporate communications, said in a statement sent to V3.co.uk.
“However, we do not publicly comment on the timing or topics of their private meetings."
The two software companies have not been on the best of terms after Microsoft Silverlight was launched in 2007, competing directly against Adobe Flash. However, the software firms appear more than willing to set aside any differences as they both dislike Apple to its core.
Microsoft and Adobe have been around for a very long time, but of late these vendors have been relegated to the chorus line with Google and Apple now occupying centre stage, Richard Edwards a principal analyst at Ovum told V3.co.uk.
"Despite Microsoft's best efforts with Windows 7. Apple iOS and Google Android are now the new platforms for innovation, with the mobile phone replacing the PC as the must have tool for information workers," he said.
"The mobile 'apps' business is now the place to be for software development companies, and Microsoft and Adobe have yet to make any real or significant impact in this market. If the two companies were to merge then it would have to be the mobile apps market driving the deal, as this is where both companies need to score big time."
Adobe’s founders have been involved in a high-profile public spat with Steve Jobs after he publically banned Flash from all of Apple's handheld devices labelling it as "no longer necessary".
Microsoft, meanwhile, has been left trailing Apple in the smartphone market despite heavy investment in the area.
The launch of its Windows Phone 7 devices next week is likely to mark a turning point in the history of Redmond. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft can claw back a respectable market share from the increasingly popular Android and Apple iOS4 platforms.
Ironically, the Windows Phone 7 platform will not ship with Flash, but the plug-in is expected to become available at later date.
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