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Google's Answer To MicroHoo: Buy Adobe

Moments before being ravished at the hands of Microsoft, Yahoo will have the opportunity to throw its bouquet to the bridesmaids. By tradition, the recipient of this parting shot is next in line for a merger. If Yahoo wants to exact some measure of revenge on its unsolicited suitor, it will aim for the lovely Adobe.
Moments before being ravished at the hands of Microsoft, Yahoo will have the opportunity to throw its bouquet to the bridesmaids. By tradition, the recipient of this parting shot is next in line for a merger. If Yahoo wants to exact some measure of revenge on its unsolicited suitor, it will aim for the lovely Adobe.Adobe is considerably less pricey than Yahoo at the moment. It has a market cap of just over $20 billion, compared with almost $40 billion for Yahoo. Its stock is trading only a few points above its 52-week low. For Google (or Apple), it could be an appealing acquisition.

Google began online and has only lately awoken to the need to function offline. Toward that end, it launched Google Gears last year. But not a lot has come of that initiative.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has been moving in the opposite direction. It continues to build its online platform atop an already formidable desktop empire.

It might seem anathema for Google to invest in the desktop when all eyes are focused on the Internet, but doing so would allow it to attack Microsoft in several vulnerable areas.

By buying Adobe and making Flash open source, Google would immediately put a stake in the heart of Silverlight. It also would take control of the PDF-based advertising technology Yahoo has been testing with Adobe; Google could certainly figure out how to monetize ads in PDFs using AdSense instead of the Yahoo Publisher Network.

Google also would gain control of the major offline media creation applications, specifically the Adobe Creative Suite. A free, ad-supported version of Google Photoshop Online, with premium pricing for advanced functions, would likely prove quite popular.

Google also would gain access to Adobe's many corporate clients.

Finally, Google would be able to turn AIR and Adobe's associated development apps into open source projects. This would make it easier and more affordable for developers to create rich Internet applications that connect to its cloud services.

Google could probably sell certain Adobe properties to Apple, which might be willing to pitch in on the purchase price for a piece of the action.

Adobe might not like this idea. But as Yahoo has found out, business propositions can't always be refused.