When Redmonk’s James Governor opined that Cisco might make a play for Adobe Systems, bells went off in my head. It suddenly made a lot of sense and made me realize I should really be paying more attention to Cisco.
Cisco competing with Apple? Who would have thunk it? To really make its ambitions count I believe Cisco will make a play for Adobe, filling out a video internet value chain from low to high production to the web.
Adobe is arguably the predominant enabler of web video, with much of the web firmly invested in Flash and all of it’s platform components & accessories. Cisco knows how to make hardware and has not been at all shy about their goals in the consumer digital market, pursuing rich internet-enabled media on set top boxes and in TVs. Recall not too long ago the legal battle with Apple over the term “iPhone”. And at CES in January Cisco is expected to introduce a new line of consumer media products.
Cisco Systems, the dominant provider of the digital pipes that run the Internet, is making a big play in digital entertainment. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January in Las Vegas, it plans to introduce a new line of products, including a digital stereo system that is meant to move music wirelessly around a house.
That is the first small move in a long-term strategy to take on Apple, Sony and the other giants of consumer electronics. Cisco is working on other gadgets that will let people watch Internet video on their televisions more easily. And its biggest bet is that people will want to use a version of its corporate videoconferencing system called Telepresence to chat with their friends over their high-definition televisions.
While this article notes the looming battle with Apple & Sony it should be considered that the set-top and video market is clearly of interest to Adobe, as well as the obvious similarities between Telepresence & Adobe Connect for video conferencing solutions. Cisco & Adobe are both invested in the Open Screen project but the relationship between the two will surely get closer whether or not some sort of acquisition is in play.
The strategy for Cisco, of course, is to encourage more high-bandwidth content running through all those Cisco routers that will need to be upgraded to keep up with the throughput. There’s no greater bandwidth hog than video and its just exploding with the boom in cheap consumer video hardware and turnkey hobbyist solutions. Adobe would be wise to pursue the authoring side of this hobbyist video boom, and focus on an aggressively marketed, cross-platform Premiere Express solution, as well as developing an ecology for video capture and publish from mobile devices. Meanwhile, their set-top Flash initiative will continue to intrigue Cisco and if the two are not already talking to make sure Cisco is using Flash everywhere possible, then somebody at Adobe needs to get busy and make it happen.
It remains to be seen whether Cisco might make an acquisition play or Adobe but it seems likely that the future of the two companies will be tightly coupled.