Adobe CEO: Omniture Acquisition 'a No Brainer'

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Although some industry observers were surprised by Adobe's recent agreement to buy Web analytics company Omniture, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen considers the move "a no-brainer."

"Adobe is in a really unique position to offer any media creator anywhere in the world the ability to create content for all devices, but even more importantly now, the ability to close the loop and optimize that content," Narayen said Thursday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Last month, Adobe announced it had agreed to buy Omniture for US$1.8 billion in cash, a 45 percent premium over Omniture's average closing price for the prior 30 trading days. The deal is expected to close in Adobe's fiscal fourth quarter, which ends Nov. 27.

At the time, Adobe said it wanted the Omniture technology to add Web analytics and content optimization capabilities to its publishing and design products, such as Flash, Dreamweaver and Acrobat.

Asked whether having products that combine publishing tools and traffic-tracking capabilities raises potential privacy concerns, Narayen acknowledged that Adobe needs to tread carefully in that respect.

"You raise a really important point," he told conference chairman John Battelle, who interviewed him on stage. "Making sure we maintain the trust of customers is very important to us."

However, he said that Adobe has historically had a conservative approach toward dealing with customer data, always securing permission from them before doing anything with it, he said.

Regarding the competition Flash faces from Microsoft's Silverlight, Narayen acknowledged the pressure is real and that Adobe can't rest on its laurels.

"If we lie down and play dead, we'll certainly lose this market," he said. "If we stand still, we'll lose, but we won't stand still."

Narayen also said Adobe is working closely with Google on the latter's Android and Chrome operating systems, to make sure Adobe technologies work well with them. Adobe and Google share a vision of the Web as the operating system of the future, he said. "We're very aligned on that," he said.

He pleaded ignorance when asked why Apple hasn't made it possible for Flash to run in the iPhone's browser, saying he doesn't know the answer. "We'd love to work with Apple to make that happen," he said.

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