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Report: Adobe, Microsoft chiefs meet to talk Apple

The New York Times says that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer met recently in San Francisco with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.

For a while, it seemed like Adobe and Microsoft were destined to be pure rivals. Microsoft seemed to be going after Adobe at every front, from Silverlight taking on Flash to Redmond's planned rival format to PDF.

These days, though, it seems like the two may be drawn to each other, thanks to the common enemy known as Apple.

Apparently the two companies think so too, at least according to a report today in The New York Times which says that Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer met for an hour recently with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, with Apple a big part of the agenda.

"Adobe and Microsoft share millions of customers around the world and the CEOs of the two companies do meet from time to time," Adobe said in a statement. "However, we do not publicly comment on the timing or topics of their private meetings."

A Microsoft representative declined to comment on the report.

Adobe and Apple have been locked in a particularly nasty battle, with Apple keeping Flash off its popular iPhone and iPad devices and the two sides trading shots over who is to blame. Adobe has said that, in response to Apple, it is "shifting its focus" away from Cupertino.

The Times report also hints at the possibility that Microsoft might buy Adobe, something the two companies reportedly have talked about in the past but apparently dropped due to fears a deal would not survive antitrust concerns. Today that might not be as large an issue, with the resurgence of Apple and the rise of Google. At roughly $14.5 billion in market capitalization, though, Adobe would be a pretty large fish to swallow.

However, there is probably room for the two to become tighter, even short of an acquisition. A good first step might be to get Flash running on Windows Phone 7--something that won't happen in time for the product's initial release. Microsoft plans to show off those first Windows Phone 7 devices at an event in New York on Monday.