RUMOR: Apple quietly shopped around its entire pro apps portfolio at NAB

PBS’s Robert X. Cringely is reporting that Apple was “quietly shopping around its entire professional application business to prospective buyers at the recently completed National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. These include Aperture, Final Cut Pro, Logic, and Shake — applications that are hardly also-rans in their segments and none of which are antiquated in the least. Final Cut, of course, absolutely dominates the video editing business.”

Cringely wonders, “Why would Apple want to give that up?”

“Apple’s recent hardware successes have come at the expense of Dell and HP,” Cringely writes. “If that’s the case, then the typical Wall Street drone would say, ‘Why not kill the professional apps, since they seem to no longer even be necessary for Apple’s success?’ In Wall Street’s quarter-to-quarter perspective, selling off Apple’s professional applications makes perfect sense. Except that Steve Jobs tends not to think quarter-to-quarter so much as decade-to-decade. This is a guy with a LONG horizon, which is why he appears, frankly, to be the only one of his peers with either a plan or a clue. As Jobs did with the iPod and iTunes and now with the iPhone, he is setting the standard and most Apple competitors are mainly waiting and reacting, which is hardly a way to lead anything.”

“Apple’s decision to not yet ship systems with Blu-ray drives or even support third-party or external Blu-ray drives in its professional applications has caused consternation in the $4 billion event video industry… This has hurt Mac sales and Final Cut sales, and since Steve Jobs isn’t stupid it is probably deliberate,” Cringley writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Come now, Mark, er… Robert, has it really hurt Mac sales and Final Cut sales? If so, please quantify the “hurt” and do so with something called “proof” (for once).

Cringley continues, “There is only one real reason why Apple would sell off its professional applications and that’s to avoid antitrust problems when/if Apple buys Adobe Systems… While in my opinion the Apple video software is clearly better, Jobs couldn’t be at NAB trying to sell Premiere — software he doesn’t yet own. Maybe there’s a planned bait-and-switch, seeing who is interested in Final Cut then trying to shift them to Premiere.”

More in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve long hoped that Apple would buy Adobe and — drumroll, please — begin phasing out Windows versions of applications a la Shake. You want Photoshop? Get a Mac. Illustrator? Get a Mac. Dreamweaver? You know what to do. It’s time to start driving the stake through Microsoft’s cold, shriveled, black, non-beating heart. Even if Steve doesn’t want to be that ruthless yet, at least Mac users would get much more timely updates from Apple than from Adobe. Unlike Adobe, Apple knows how to use Xcode.

Apple is currently worth $158.52 billion and has nearly $20 billion in cash on hand. Adobe’s current market value is just $21.41 billion. Pull the trigger, Steve!

[UPDATE: 5:31pm EDT: “This rumor is false. Competitors have been trying to spread it around for a few months now. Apple’s Pro business is thriving and it is not for sale. Period. Steve” – Comment posted below in Reader Feedback (stamped May 02, 08 – 05:13 pm) from “Steve Jobs” did indeed come from an Apple Inc. IP address in Cupertino, CA. We’re not saying it is from Mr. Jobs, but it did come from Apple.]

78 Comments

  1. More rumor-mongering about Apple:

    …they were, “quietly shopping around its entire professional application business to prospective buyers…”

    Oh really?? Says who? What are your sources?

    MaWo: ‘simply’. As in, ‘Cringley is simply stroking himself and fomenting baseless conjecture.’

  2. come on ppl –
    what Cringely is suggesting is a dumb move,
    and Cringely may be dumb, but Steve Jobs isn’t.
    So let’s just call this report – ‘reaching for hits’ instead of
    ‘insider knowledge’. No need to get bent outta shape.

  3. If Apple would buy Adobe, I simply can’t see them selling off Final Cut Pro and then trying to market the newly-renamed Apple Premiere. It would make more sense if faced with antitrust issues to stop making Adobe’s current pro products. I don’t know too much about the video industry, but I do get the impression that it’s pretty much just Avid and Apple.

  4. It’s a pretty weak analysis IMO. Cringley’s main reason for the purported sell-off is anti-trust issues, yet this would only be the case with Final Cut Pro, not the other pro apps. Also, he bases a lot on the mysterious intractability of Apple when it comes to including blue ray support yet there is another much more widely held and plausible explanation for that. Blu-Ray requires Apple to implement highly invasive, hardware supported DRM in every Mac that has a Blu-Ray drive. This kind of support is the very reason it takes Vista 20 minutes to transfer a 100 Megabyte file from one disc to another. Blu-Ray is not supported by Apple because it’s an “anti-consumer” technology and no one is buying blue ray discs right now anyway. You don’t have to look any further than that for explanations.

  5. If so, Apple wants give up the Pro market and go total “Sony” retail consumer.
    I am sure their Pro apps business is very, very small.

    And if they wanted to buy Adobe, they would and just kill off or integrate its products with adobe products.

  6. Cringely is wrong – yet again.

    The Pro Apps sell Pro Macs. Simple. Apple will not walk away from that. Adobe products whilst good in some cases is not sufficient cause to sell off the Pro App line.

  7. ‘Hey PC users have Publisher and Corel… And Word…What else do they need for top quality output for print’

    I double dog dare you to take a file in any of these formats to a printer! Printing flyers aren’t the only things these industries do . . . think every t-shirt you have with something on it, everything that comes in a package, etc., etc. These are files that are all postscript dependent; it doesn’t matter how many brochures etc. die a pitiful death for web based material, the software is still necessary. Not to mention professional photographers, printmakers, art galleries, the list goes on and and on. I’d love to see someone try to create a fine giclee print in Word. If Apple bought Adobe, I’d do a little dance, but If they are shopping around the pro apps they have, why would they bother?

    Or maybe you were being sarcastic.

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