Another Reason for Apple to Buy Adobe

Props to you, Fools.

Not even a week after you voted Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE  ) as the company best suited to join Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) in market matrimony, the PhotoShop prince offered still more proof of its usefulness to the iEmpire.

Adobe yesterday rolled out a new media player that, boldly, hopes to challenge everyone offering similar technology, Apple included. I'm not at all sure the company will succeed, but I love the idea.

Why? Adobe media player is, in many ways, a self-contained application. No browser is needed to download content from the Web. Think of it as a TV on your computer with the remote being the control menus in the software.

Of course, if the history of software proves anything, it's that "better" doesn't always mean "winner." Here, Adobe has to face down entrenched competitors such as Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) and its Windows Media Player and RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK  ) and its Real Player. And, of course, there's iTunes.

Open-source media players also exist. VLC Media Player and Miro, for example. Neither has the footprint of Windows Media Player or iTunes, but their very existence is a reminder that competition is everywhere.

If Adobe has an advantage here, it's with Flash, a popular technology that Adobe acquired from Macromedia in 2005 and that helps create animations and other digital doo-dads that enliven today's top websites. Having Flash deeply embedded into a media player could make delivering ads side by side slicker and more relevant, something that's likely to interest both Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) , among others.

Still, iTunes is iTunes, and Windows Media Player is Windows Media Player. Together, they're responsible for more than 100 million user accounts, according to Nielsen Online. But, interestingly, it's iTunes that is the junior partner in that tandem, with some 35.6 million user accounts vs. more than 75 million for Windows Media Player.

Could Adobe help Apple close the gap? An $18.4 billion war chest gives you the opportunity to find out, Steve.

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