Microsoft in talks to buy Adobe - alliance against Apple looms
ABOVE: The big numbers around the three protagonists (courtesy WolframAlpha.com)
On September 9, Apple and Adobe reached a tentative agreement to resolve their feud over Flash, which causes elements of websites (from the Stuff Quiz to various advertisements) to not display on an iPhone or iPad.
Specifically, Apple lifted a ban on developers using Adobe Flash for iPad and iPhone apps - widely seen as a precursor to full-blown Flash support in iPhone and iPad's Safari web browsers.
Adobe investors cheered (the company's shares jumped 12% on the day), and mobile users the world over breathed a sigh of relief.
Not so fast.
This is the technology industry, remember, where things can never be easy - especially at the nexus where it intersects with publishing.
Enter Microsoft, which has made an out-of-the-blue offer to buy Adobe, according to the New York Times.
On Friday, the paper reported an hour-long secret meeting had taken place between the chief executives of the two companies, with a friendly takeover on the agenda.
As things stand, Microsoft is pushing Silverlight, it's alternative to Adobe's Flash, as well as the open HTML5 standard.
Developers, publishers and readers will now have to wait and see whether Microsoft does buy Adobe, and whether the combined company will continue Adobe's putative peace-pact with Apple - or, emboldened, derail the détente and go to war.
Complicating the picture further: on Monday (US time), Microsoft is due to unveil its new Windows Phone 7 mobile platform - handsets based on which will go head-to-head with Apple's iPhone.