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Google, Adobe to Bundle Toolbar With Shockwave

By Jay Lyman
Jun 22, 2006 3:24 PM PT

Software and search heavyweights Adobe and Google joined forces this week, announcing a multi-year distribution deal that pairs the Google Toolbar with Adobe's downloadable Macromedia Shockwave Player.

Google, Adobe to Bundle Toolbar With Shockwave

The Adobe deal is widely viewed as yet another weapon in Google's arsenal against its entrenched rival Microsoft. Indeed, the deal means that Internet Explorer users who download the Shockwave Player will be offered the opportunity to install a free version of Google Toolbar.

"The announcement in and of itself that Google has inked a deal and is teaming up with Adobe is not earth shattering, but the fact that they're making the Google Toolbar available ... on Explorer is clearly a shot across the bow of Microsoft," Yankee Group Senior Analyst Laura DiDio told TechNewsWorld.

Fitting Partnership

Adobe and Google did not disclose the financial terms or duration of the deal, indicating only that the agreement covers Google Toolbar with Shockwave and possibly future Adobe products.

Both Adobe's Shockwave multimedia player and Google's Toolbar for quick browser access to Web searches are available for free download, and will now be offered together.

"As leaders in our respective market categories, it's fitting for Adobe and Google to work together to improve the ways customers engage with ideas and information," said Adobe President and Chief Operating Officer Shantanu Narayen.

Adobe's "savvy, enthusiastic customers" will appreciate Google search capabilities, added Google Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development Omid Kordestani.

More to the Deal

However, the two software tools from Adobe and Google are not integrated, and they represent "a plain old basic vanilla bundling," Basex CEO and Chief Analyst Jonathan Spira told TechNewsWorld.

"I don't see the crossover here," he remarked. If Adobe's users are so savvy, then they most certainly have already heard of -- and had opportunity to download -- Google's toolbar.

There may be more to the agreement, Spira speculated. A more intriguing announcement from the two would involve true integration, or Adobe's Acrobat Reader and Google Toolbar working together, he added.

"It would be interesting if the companies announced a more integrated offering through a relationship," Spira said.

Reminder for Redmond

Similar to Google's announcement of a spreadsheet earlier this month, the Adobe deal may not represent any real dent in the market on its own, but the cumulative effect highlights Google's motives against Microsoft, according to DiDio.

"I think it shows a great deal of agility and prescience on Google's part to do this," she said, adding Google's message to Microsoft is that it will be confronting the elder company in all facets of the market.

"Every one of these things -- and notice they're coming with great regularity -- is not a big deal. Nor does Google's spreadsheet have much chance of competing with or exceeding Excel. But it's part of the larger fabric, and it's certainly giving Microsoft fits."


Should government regulators force the breakup of big tech companies?
Yes -- it's the only way to restore competition.
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