The tech press was abuzz yesterday when the New York Times reported a high-level confab was under way between Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen -- and that a potential merger was on the table. The short-sighted see nothing but downside in such a tie-up, ignoring the management genius that such a move would represent. After all, if your company has a glaring weakness, the best way to plug that hole is to find a business partner with a very similar problem, right?
Just as one half plus one half equals one, weakness plus weakness equals strength! Let's take a look at the various opportunities for synergy in a Microsoft-Adobe tie-up; you'll find that the two have so much in common it's hard to believe they aren't the same company already.
1. A shared dependence on bloated, long-in-the-tooth flagship products. We're sure the teams behind Office and Creative Suite will have a lot to talk about, since they both produce software suites that everybody needs and everybody seems to have a gripe about. Working together, they'll make sure neither suite ever gets a desperately needed ground-up rewrite, and that decades-old code keeps running (and crashing) on computers everywhere.
Not that the groups won't have something to learn from each other! For instance, the Creative Suite team could help the Office folks up their productivity and come out with a pricey new edition every year or two, instead of their current longer lead time; and Microsoft could teach Adobe how to make each Creative Suite version produce slightly incompatible versions of files that are supposed to be in the same format.