adobe_flashI had intended to write a post about Google’s Chrome Operating System, but then the New York Times called looking for an Op-Ed piece on exactly that so I gave it to them.  Look for the column to appear Monday and I’ll put a link to it here.

The Times column is here.

Beyond the broader implications of the Chrome OS, one reader asks about the strategic involvement of Adobe Systems in the project, since Adobe is in the short list of companies mentioned in the Chrome OS FAQ.  Why is Adobe on this list, asks the reader, and is Google likely to buy Adobe?

I have no inside information here, just the usual informed guesswork.  The logical acquirer for Adobe, if the company is to ever be acquired, is still Apple, which would gain some real synergies in its entertainment endeavors as well as some needed technical depth.

What Google needs from Adobe is primarily Flash video.  Remember that YouTube made Flash video a factor in the streaming market and Google now owns YouTube.  Remember, too, that Apple’s iPhone has specifically shunned Flash, somewhat to its detriment.  Apple’s reasoning — that Flash takes too much horsepower for smart phones — no longer really stands with the iPhone 3GS shipping.  So Google’s embrace of Flash video for the Chrome OS AND Android helps YouTube while differentiating both products from Apple.

But does Google also need Adobe’s Flex and AIR platforms?  That is less clear.  Both Flex and AIR are runtime environments for cross-platform applications (Open Source applications in the case of Flex). Knowing a bit about how Google thinks, it is very possible that Flex and AIR will be seen as too heavy and — more importantly — too non-Google.  So we might see Flex but not AIR, for example.  I simply don’t know.

But I seriously doubt that Google will be buying Adobe or, for that matter, making ANY huge acquisitions in the months ahead.