FBR Capital Markets attended Adobe Systems Inc.'s (NASDAQ: ADBE) annual user conference MAX earlier this week and found that it focused on mobile, tablets and cloud software.
There were several announcements that ranged from new products to a few small acquisitions. The underlying theme behind all of these was the embracing of, and the movement toward, mobile, touch, and the cloud. We spoke to many customers, prospects, and partners and came away mixed, said David Hilal, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets.
There was genuine interest in the many announcements the company made but Hilal couldn't tell if it was the novelty of a new product and therefore was interesting, versus something that would be viewed as essential.
Either way, given that he doesn't believe any of these announcements move the needle for at least 18 months, he says the more relevant debate for investors is customers' appetite to upgrade to CS5.5 and eventually to CS6 next year.
In this regard, customers were less enthusiastic, citing the economy, their tightened budgets and internal assessments about adopting HTML5 and the best way to proceed down that path -- in other words, whether Adobe is still going to be their go to vendor.
Hill also added the analyst day was not held concurrently due to MAX user conference. It is believed to be scheduled for November.
Adobe also announced the Creative Cloud. Initially, this will be a hub for viewing, sharing, and syncing files, which will eventually incorporate many of the content creation applications. The product, however, will not be available before 2010 and no price has, as yet, been announced.
Hill views this as an important move by the company in an effort to make its offerings ubiquitous and it has the potential to drive recurring revenues. However, he does not expect any meaningful revenue in 2012.
Adobe announced Touch Apps that will have a touch-user interface and is aimed, primarily, at tablet users. Six initial apps will be available in November, the most notable being Photoshop Touch; they will debut with a $10 introductory price.
For the professional, the possibility of apps replacing core desktop versions is remote, as computing power on tablets is still inferior to desktops, thereby preventing much-needed functionality (e.g., HDR is supported in Photoshop, but not Photoshop Touch).
Adobe augmented its mobile strategy with the purchase of Nitobi, the maker of PhoneGap, which is an open-source programming tool for creating HTML content on mobile devices.
The other big announcement at the conference was the introduction of Single Edition for DPS. Historically, DPS was geared for large publishers and was prohibitively expensive for one-off projects. Single Edition is priced at $395 per application, which could lead to a lot of interest from freelancers and small design firms.
We maintain our Underperform rating as we believe Creative Suite is going to be a share loser and thereby will lose its ability to drive Adobe's business, and we don't see much to materially offset this. Our $24 price target represents 9 times our FY12 (CY12) pro forma EPS estimate, a multiple in line with the company’s normalized growth rate, said Hill.
Adobe stock closed Tuesday's regular trading up 3.35 per cent at $24.04 on NASDAQ.