The vendor famous for bringing us PDF-files, Adobe Systems, announced their intention to acquire CMS-vendor Day Software last week. Day had been rumoured as an acquisition candidate for a while, but not by Adobe. The acquisition is expected to close in December and with the unanimous support of the Board of Directors of Day, this looks like a done deal.
As usual when this happens, the vendor to be acquired is very optimistic about the future prospects. To quote from a message to Day Software customer and partners:
this will serve as a new catalyst for Day to accelerate our investment in product innovation, our customer community, and our global ecosystem of channel and technology partners
The Day management team is understandably in a happy mood, but when it comes to product improvements, Day really has a case to prove over the coming months. Most in our community did not see this as good news for the product or for the standards that Day has been championing. I've been talking to customers in the past weeks and here is our take on what the acquisition could mean to customers:
- Until the deal has been closed, Day will continue to operate as a separate company with its own partner and customer community
- Product updates are likely to be delayed: Day is known for letting itself distract by such things as open source and standard involvements with less focus on delivering a solid and easy-to-use product. It will now inevitably be seriously distracted for a while, whilst getting to know the ins and outs of the new owner and whilst trying to teach a large sales force how to work enterprise web content management deals.
- Don't expect CQ5, Day's main product, to receive much attention inside Adobe. To put things in perspective, Day is a very small fish indeed next to the whale that is Adobe. Adobe has 8,600 employees compared to Day's less than 150. Compared to previous acquisitions by Adobe, e.g. Macromedia (1,400 employees) and Omniture (>1,000 employees), this is quite a small deal.
- No overlap with existing Adobe products. Quite unlike recent industry acquisitions, e.g. when Open Text bought Vignette or when Oracle bought Sun, there seems to be no product overlap. As part of the expected integration of the two companies, Day will operate as a product line within Adobe's Digital Enterprise Solutions Business Unit
- Adobe emphasised integrating proprietary technologies such as Air and Flash in the acquisition announcement and did not mention anything about Day's work on standards. This was quite worrying to several Day customers.
- CQ5 moving down in the market. At the moment CQ5 is overkill for anything but complex and global websites. Expect that to change when Adobe begins to put its engineering footprint on the product.
What should you do as a customer?
- Use the change and added uncertainty to get discounted rates or freebies. Day has an expensive product but is known to be flexible on licensing models
- Keep reminding your Day Software contacts of your existance, while they are busy closing the deal. Expect some new faces in 2011 as the organisational integration kicks in and as always make sure you get an experienced team on your project.
- Prepare to listen to some funny stories from the competitors. Usually some use an opportunity like this to spread some good old FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Fellow Swiss-vendor Magnolia have already started this with a public blog: Day to be acquired by Adobe - implications?
More detailed and interesting coverage of the deal:
- CMS Wire: Perspectives: What the Adobe + Day Software Deal Means, Part 1
- ComputerworldUK: Will Adobe See the Light (of Day)?
- Jon Marks: A Fine Day For Adobe
- mwd advisors: Adobe acquires Day Software to flesh out enterprise portfolio
- Real Story Group: ECM Perspective and DAM Perspective
and finally for extra credits read: In defence of PDF, an interesting perspective from a new Day employee saying that "Day has a strong prejudice in favor of HTML as the one true and proper Web format for documents".