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Should Apple Buy Adobe And Stop Developing For Windows?

The row between Adobe and Apple is reaching epic proportions with Apple going on the offensive by preventing its own developers from specifically porting Flash applications onto its popular iPhone OS platform.

Earlier this year, we wrote about whether Microsoft should buy Adobe or not. Now we're asking whether Apple should not buy Adobe and make the Cupertino-based company the most powerful entity in Silicon Valley.

Obviously, we're not the first one to put that theory forward. Back in December 2005, John Kheit of the MacObserver suggested that acquiring Adobe might give Apple the leverage "it needs to ensure Microsoft keeps making Office for the Mac".

Since then, the market dynamics have changed, Apple has become a massive player in the mobile market with the launch of the iPod Touch, the iPhone and the iPad.

Not only has the market capitalisation of Apple soared to $220 billion (nearly four times what it was five years ago), it also has a massive cash chest worth around $24 billion.

In comparison, the market capitalisation of Adobe has barely changed; It was $17 billion back then and reached $18.5 billion today. As for the reasons why Apple should buy Adobe, there are quite a few of them.

It would give Apple exclusive rights on PDF and Flash; in one swoop, the only cross-platform rich media technology capable of truly rivalling with Apple's mobile solution would disappear overnight.

The Cupertino-based company would also inherit from the best creative applications on the market and would allow it to push forward its home advantage, wiping out Windows in the creative market.

Just like Adobe did back 1996 by deciding to bet its future on Windows (something that Jobs apparently was incensed about), Apple could buy Adobe and decide that the future of the creative market resides on its platform rather than on Windows.

That's a pretty powerful argument for me, especially as the rise in Apple's shares as well as the revenue generated would almost certainly allow it to recoup the price it paid for Adobe within 24 months.

Apple is both a hardware and a software company and surprisingly although its hardware is generally quite expensive, Apple software is, by comparison, relatively affordable.

One can expect that Apple will slightly reduce the price of Adobe applications soon after the acquisition and start a culling of inferior products; no more dilemma between Aperture and Lightroom, Final Cut or Premiere.