61% of Adobe Reader plug-ins are outdated on work computers

IT departments are notoriously slow when it comes to updating their companies’ workstations. But this is just ridiculous.

61% of Adobe Reader plug-ins used by corporate customers were outdated last quarter, according to the latest State of the Web security research report published by Zscaler ThreatLabZ. 52% of Shockwave plug-ins were outdated, as were 41% of Microsoft Silverlight plug-ins.

If other corporate environments are anything like CNN’s, IT administrators put up a firewall, preventing users from downloading certain updates. Rather than call IT every time there’s a Java, Quicktime, Silverlight, Shockwave, Flash, or Reader plug-in updated (you know, every single day), users just ignore those updates.

The problem: most of those updates plug security holes that are being exploited by cybercriminals. So IT departments are really aiding and abetting the destruction their policies are meant to prevent. -David

Chart: CNNMoney.com
Adobe’s stock is getting a nice bump today and people on StockTwits are citing the age-old gossip about Microsoft looking to buy the company. @oktobernv quips: “$MSFT for $ADBE chatter again. Is that 3 or 4 times so for THIS year?”
Still, this may be a classic case of where there’s smoke, there’s fire. After all, The New York Times reported in October that Adobe CEO  Shantanu Narayen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer held a “secret” meeting to talk about partnerships.
At the time, I joked on Tumblr (back when we were  “secretly” posting to an audience of about 5 readers) that Narayen and Ballmer could try and one-up each other about their hatred of Apple and Steve Jobs. 
So if anyone has word on another “secret” pow-wow between Narayen and Ballmer, please do let me know. - Paul

Chart: CNNMoney.com

Adobe’s stock is getting a nice bump today and people on StockTwits are citing the age-old gossip about Microsoft looking to buy the company. @oktobernv quips: “$MSFT for $ADBE chatter again. Is that 3 or 4 times so for THIS year?”

Still, this may be a classic case of where there’s smoke, there’s fire. After all, The New York Times reported in October that Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer held a “secret” meeting to talk about partnerships.

At the time, I joked on Tumblr (back when we were  “secretly” posting to an audience of about 5 readers) that Narayen and Ballmer could try and one-up each other about their hatred of Apple and Steve Jobs.

So if anyone has word on another “secret” pow-wow between Narayen and Ballmer, please do let me know. - Paul

Microsoft and Adobe: The We Hate Apple Club?

The rumors of a Microsoft takeover of Adobe haven’t died down since reports popped up last week that Mister Softee himself, Steve Ballmer, held a “secret” meeting with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen to discuss potential partnerships.

Adobe shares surged 11.5% on October 7. And even though they’ve pulled back a bit since then, shares are still 7% higher than where they closed on October 6. Now it wouldn’t be completely preposterous for Microsoft to have some interest in Adobe since its Creative Suite of Photoshop, Acrobat and Dreamweaver could be a good fit for MS Office. Flash also would be a good compliment to Microsoft’s own media technology. And Adobe’s recently acquired Omniture unit would give Microsoft some new Web analytics tools to play with.

But it still seems odd to think that Microsoft would want to splurge on Adobe, which in many respects is a mini-Microsoft (i.e. it’s getting beaten up by Apple.) Adobe, despite its recent struggles, still has a current market value of about $14 billion. If Microsoft wanted to win Adobe’s hand, it would arguably need to pay a premium. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that a 30% to 40% premium is enough to convince Narayen to agree to a deal. That means Microsoft would have to pay somewhere around $20 billion for Adobe. Even with Microsoft’s $36.5 billion in cash on hand, that seems rich.

That’s why I think anyone buying Adobe on the hope that it will soon do Windows is taking a huge risk. It’s probably a lot more sensible (and cheaper) for Microsoft to partner with Adobe than buy it outright. So instead of spending a lot of time discussing M&A, my guess is Ballmer and Narayen mainly ranted about their common enemy: Steve Jobs. Wonder if anyone suggested pulling a Gillooly on the Apple CEO? Why me? - Paul

Apple backs off its ‘software racism’

Apple’s decision in April to require that iOS app development be done only in its specified programming languages kicked off a geek firestorm — to delve into the details, check out the e-mail exchange between Steve Jobs and developer Greg Slepak, who blasted the policy as “absurd and tantamount to software-racism.”

Apple’s move today to back down and let people develop with whatever tools they like is drawing cheers. And, of course, has people parsing the tea leaves to figure out what prompted Apple’s change of heart. Apple 2.0’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt is hashing out the theories, which basically boil down to “Apple caved before a looming antitrust smackdown” vs “Apple was worried this would help Android win.”

That’s the theory backed by the developer I just spoke with, Brad Manderscheid of ActionMouse. Apple’s AppStore is currently the champ — 250k apps vs 100k or so for Android — but he thinks the momentum was starting to turn: “They’re seeing a lot of developers going to Andoid.” Objective C, the language typically used for native iPhone app development, is painful and expertise is scarce. Letting developers build in other platforms (most notably Adobe’s, but a plethora of other languages and tools are also affected) and port means we might not have to refight the platform Holy Wars yet again.

Manderscheid, for one, is back on board. “I have all these apps I was developing for Android,” he said. “This is going to change everything. I think it’s going to be a big deal for my company — a lot of work that we had pending went away, and I think it will come back now.” -Stacy