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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13 comments to A Fine Day For Adobe

  • Kudos for the commitment even from the beach!

    As tech categories consolidate in the inevitable cycle of technology maturity, pause just a moment to think of the poor customers, who, to add to their day-to-day challenges of managing web operations, will now be wondering if they will soon need to think about migrating content away from Day and into yet another ECMS platform. Still, it keeps the tech word turning…

    • Thanks. Turns out the iPhone screen and suntan lotion work well together.

      However, I don’t think Vamosa should rush out a Day Rescue Program quite yet. Day customers should be happy about this – noone will be leaving it in a hurry. If anything, plan for more migrations into Day. Time you polish your JCR connectors ….

  • George Knox


    Interestingly, we have seen a big upsurge in migrations into Day this year across North America and Europe. Especially in the life Sciences and Commercial sectors. I agree with you that i think the momentum will increase in moving to Day as the acquisition by Adobe will move Day from a niche player into a mainstream Enterprise solution. There are still hundreds of Interwoven and Vignette customers out there who have been looking for a strong Java CMS platform with the right brand name behind it. My feeling is that we could start to see many of those IWV and Vign clients make a move to Day as they perceived a IBM solution was maybe they only alternative.

    Exciting times ahead and we will see a real push around the whole Web Experience management that Day was leading.

    PS The rescue plan you refer to from Fatwire never rescued anyone

  • Matt

    Jon, is there any disclosure you would like to make regarding the fact that News Intl is a Day customer (as of their recent report) and you are a lead architect at News Corp?

    • Nope :-) This blog is, always has been and always will be purely personal. I don’t talk about my projects, even the stuff I’m allowed to talk about. Cool kids don’t kiss and tell. Was the same at my previous job at LBi. Search my archives – you’ll never find a client or project referred to. I’ve used a lot of CMS systems, Day included, but I need to keep things generic.

      That said, News Intl/News Corp is a big place. Day is one of at least 6 major CMS vendors used across the various business units. And that is just the ones I know about …

      P.S. Before you ask – yes, News Corp use Adobe products too.

  • This is big news of course for Magnolia CMS and the whole JCR-space. I agree with you that this is one merger that makes sense for Adobe, and sense for Day shareholders that for about a decade where hoping to get something out of their investment (check this chart and you see what I mean: http://tinyurl.com/34hcz7l

    But what will be the impact on the rest of us? Read my thoughts. Summit: bad for Day customers. Good for Magnolia. Alfresco? Who is Alfresco?

    Adobe buys Day. Impact on Magnolia and JCR?

    - Boris

  • bex

    I don’t get it…

    A quarter of a billion dollars can buy a lot of things. Like perhaps a dev team that can create a decent HTML5 IDE?

    This appears to me to be a double-down on the losing prospect of long-term viability of Flash/Flex… probably because Adobe willfully refuses to see the road ahead.

    This is a modestly intelligent tactical move, when Adobe really *REALLY* needs to think more strategically. I see no net increase in long term shareholder value here.

  • A very exciting story for Java platform side of the CMS industry and as a mid-tier vendor we’ve been following it closely. I’ve a few comments/topics that perhaps some analysts / bloggers might take up else where but I just thought I’d dump my thoughts:

    1) Adobe don’t have a successful track record with enterprise solutions with a long sales cycle and consultative implementation process (with respect to WCM) often taking many months or years, so I’m not sure how Adobe are going to scale the Day business without making major changes.

    2) The valuation figures are very interesting, I haven’t had time to run the financial multiples but from what I can see Adobe have paid about 40% more than other acquisitions over the past 5 years. I do think Day deserve a premium but I think it is also indication that CMS/WCM/DAM are becoming a core requirement as part of larger firms plans.

    3) What does this mean for Cold Fusion? In particular Cold Fusion based content management systems?

  • Nice commentary, Jon. I agree that it is long overdue for Adobe to get back into the CMS game. Remember when Adobe tried taking on Quark and QPS to build a better print management system? And they just gave up because it was too hard, too costly and couldn’t see the long road? I can’t help but think that had they succeeded in creating a CMS for print all those years ago, and continued to invest in that platform using open standards, they might well have been AHEAD of Apple in having a system publishers could use to easily create magazines and books for tablet computers. Now, they’re playing catch-up via acquisition…

    Hope to see you at a future .

  • Hey Jon.. I always wondered when Adobe would take this plunge.. In my past life we might have hoped it were us… As everyone has stated it is a very different type of sales/consulting model for an enterprise company. Perhaps some of the lesson with OMNTR will help.


  • How does the CMS program create navigational elements? Can users add and delete pages easily and do the menus automatically adjust?

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