July 2010
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A Fine Day For Adobe

No, there’s nothin’ you can send me, my own true love,
There’s nothin’ I wish to be ownin’.
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled,
From across that lonesome ocean.

Finally, finally, an acquisition I think I understand. Adobe have just announced they’re buying Day Software (press release) for about USD $240 million – just slightly less than OTEX paid for Vignette. Adobe’s re-entry into the CMS game is well overdue. Some might argue that the Creative Suite tools are becoming more CMS like. They dabbled briefly in it when they aquired Macromedia (remember Contribute, anyone?) and the Product Formally Known As Stellent comes from this line.

This aquisition makes sense from both sides. Kudos to the senior Day team (Erik, David, Kevin, Roy and others) for making Day so attractive. And from Adobe’s perspective I think it had to be either Day or Alfresco. There aren’t many independents left, and a Java based technology fits best with them. Many were surprised it wasn’t Alfresco due to the recent love affair between the two of them. The wise ECM Architect, Jeff Potts, says it best so I quote him here:

Honestly, I thought Adobe would acquire Alfresco by the end of last year and I was surprised when it didn’t happen. They had done a big OEM deal making Alfresco part of LiveCycle and they did a gigantic Alfresco implementation as part of standing up Adobe’s acrobat.com site. Heck, Adobe even hosted Alfresco’s community event back in 2008. All small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, I know, but I can’t help but feel like the proud parent who’s daughter brought home a keeper, only to find out the guy’s been dating a hottie from Switzerland the whole time.

I must admit I’m also partly saddened by the news. I rather liked having a few smaller, more nimble independent players. The bigger guys all seem to be getting sidetracked by M&A activity and posturing, and innovation seems to have ground to a halt. I can’t even begin to get my head around the impending clusterfuck that would be an Autonomy Interwoven and Open Text merger. If there is any truth to that rumour, put on a hard hat, run for cover and sell your shares in both as quickly as humanly possible. But more on that later perhaps.

I’m guessing that operationally this merger will affect Day very little, if any, in the short term. Hopefully it just gives them a bit more money and clout. A few big questions spring to mind, and hopefully we will get clarity on them soon:

  • Day has a good track record contributing to open source projects, particularly the Apache ones. Hopefully this continues.
  • Will Adobe have any intentions of integrating the Day products with existing Adobe ones, specifically Adobe Content Server and Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite? I hope it is the end of ColdFusion
  • Will Day integrate even more closely with Adobe’s other big recent purchase – Omniture?
  • Day’s big event, Ignite, promises iPads to all. I hope the Adobe – Apple squabbles don’t interfere with anything.
  • I hope Day doesn’t ONLY focus on “technologies that create and deliver rich online and offline experiences leveraging the ubiquity of Flash and PDF”. I wonder what the latest Day employee, @kasthomas, makes of this.
  • Speaking of which, there is a huge amount going on in the publishing industry at the moment around tablets and magazines and shit. Adobe have been in the thick ofthings with the wildly successful Wired App, and CMS is going to be a big part of this. But I’m not allowed to talk about this right now, am I?

Day and Flash have always been close. I remember debating with David whether Flash should be considered a first class citizen of the web. Bigoted me thinks it is a second class citizen. See point 7 in David’s slide deck below:

In closing, I think it’s also really important to note that I’m writing this from a beach in Lanzarote. It hasn’t been easy to divert my attention from the Spanish Sun, Spanish Sea, Spanish Sangria and Spanish Boobies Bouncing Around, but yours truly belives it is crucial to keep you all abreast of the latest in CMS developments so has taken a hit for the team to write this up. Signing out, and see you all back on the soggy island for #LastThursdayCMS tomorrow night …

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