The chief executive officers of Microsoft and Adobe met recently to discuss how best to deal with their common foe - Apple -- and whether a Microsoft buyout of Adobe might be in the cards, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Citing unnamed sources, the Times reported that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (below) met with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen to discuss "Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could partner in the battle against Apple."
Microsoft declined to comment on the report. In a statement, Adobe acknowledged that Ballmer and Narayen had met. "Adobe and Microsoft share millions of customers around the world and the CEOs of the two companies do meet from time to time. However, we do not publicly comment on the timing or topics of their private meetings," Adobe said.
As Apple gains both developers and users with its iPad and iPhone products, Adobe and Microsoft run the risk of being pushed aside on mobile devices, the most exciting platform for today's software developers.
Microsoft has tried and mostly failed to generate enthusiasm for past versions of its mobile-phone software, and Adobe is under pressure after Apple decided not to allow Adobe Flash applications to be approved for use on its devices. Ballmer and Narayen did talk about Apple's Flash prohibition, the Times reported.
Another discussion point was whether Microsoft should buy Adobe outright. Microsoft considered such a move years earlier but backed off because of antitrust concerns, the Times said. With Microsoft no longer the industry force it once was, there may now be an opportunity.
Such a deal could add to Microsoft's credibility with designers, developers and other creatives -- or reduce Adobe's.