Adobe to acquire web analytics vendor Omniture

Adobe, developer of such ubiquitous document creation tools as Acrobat and Photoshop, has announced its intention to acquire web analytics vendor Omniture for $1.8 billion.

The move into web analytics marks a departure for Adobe, whose tools are more commonly associated with creating content, not analysing its use. But the company has some visibility with web managers and content creators, thanks in part to its 2005 acquisition of Macromedia, which brought with it the widely used multimedia platform Flash. Cross-selling these web developers the tools to analyse how people view their creations is therefore plausible.

Adobe’s typically non-IT user base fits with Omniture’s strategy of selling to the marketing department. “We want to allow the marketers to market,” Omniture CEO and co-founder Josh James told Information Age last year. “They shouldn’t be thinking about technology, customer IDs and marrying up data.”

Omniture’s business is growing quickly in spite of the downturn: in the most recent financial quarter, ending June 31 2009, the company’s revenues grew 22% to reach $87.6 million. However, it has consistently lost money for many quarters, making it ripe for the cost cuts and synergies that should – in theory, at least – follow an acquisition.

Adobe, meanwhile, has been hit hard by the downturn. The company revealed yesterday that it earned revenues of $697.5 million in its third financial quarter of the year, down 21% from the same quarter of last year. Net income was $136 million, down 30% from last year.

Certainly, Adobe needs to find a way to make more money from its familiar brand. Selling web analytics could be the answer, but the toughest challenge will be selling the benefits of Omniture’s expensive products over Google’s free web analytics service.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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