Microsoft and Adobe chiefs meet to discuss Apple and possible merger

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen set up an hour long secret meeting to discuss a variety of topics, including a possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft. According to The New York Times, some of the discussions focused on how the two companies could also take down Apple's mobile market share.

As Apple continues to dominate the mobile market, with Google quickly catching up, Microsoft is stepping into the mobile game, possibly a little too late to make a strong impact within the next year. However, that hasn't stopped Microsoft from doing whatever it can to make the largest impact possible.

The discussions between Microsoft and Adobe have remained quiet, but sources say that talks regarding Microsoft acquiring Adobe were mentioned. Discussions of a possible merger might even end here, but this is pause for thought for both Microsoft and Adobe, after all, this is how Microsoft came about a search deal with the second largest search giant, Yahoo!

When Microsoft launched Silverlight in 2007, they became a direct competitor of Adobe Flash. If Microsoft does acquire Adobe, we could eventually see a slow phase out of Adobe Flash Player, and see Microsoft Silverlight slowly take its place. With Microsoft holding 100% of the market, Apple and Google could potentially be in trouble, unless web developers decide to adopt HTML5.

At the time of posting, Adobe stock soared over 11% on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Thanks to Mephistopheles for pointing this out on the Community Forums!

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HTML5 is developed by W3C and NOT by Apple by any mean. Stop thinking about Apple as the paladin of HTML5 because if you do so you are not getting correctly the facts.
Further more I think Microsoft + Adobe has more to do with tablets and phones than with other platforms.

While its sounds potentially big, I don't think it will result in some acquistion. I see Adobe and Microsoft collaborating more closely, share technology, etc. Beyond getting Flash and allow Adobe to profit from apps on Windows Phone 7 it would be great to see Microsoft and Adobe working together around TV and advertising.

Apple has always being criticizing Adobe for flash and I don't think HTML5 will take down flash anytime soon, this gives me a stronger hint that flash will be on WP7 or Zune HD come release of windows phone 7 in the world.

Can you imagine? MicroDobe Live Premiere Maker, Live DreamWriter, SilverFlash, InPublisher, etc..

And Adobe tools with a Ribbon would be the worst thing ever. I this "merger" happens, which I doubt, I hope Microsoft keeps Adobe team intact.

The thing with this, is that we'd have practically 2 design software companies in the planet (jut by their sheer size): Microsoft with web, print and video and Autodesk, with 3D. That can't be all that good. If I were Apple I'd be crapping in my underpants and all over the place non stop though.

Flash vs Silverlight
Dreamweaver vs Visual Studio and Expression Web
PDF vs XPS

What would happen to these technologies if this happened?

If they actually got rid of Adobe Flash in favor of Silverlight (a far superior platform), then I'd be happy with the merger.

On the other hand, this would leave Microsoft with two of the worst written pieces of widely used software with lots of vulnerabilities: Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Flash. Plus, they would also inherit the other most pirated software, Adobe Photoshop, which--considering how many people say they have it--must be up there with the number of people that pirate Windows.

"Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen set up an hour long secret meeting to discuss a variety of topics, including a possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft."

Not very secretive if everyone knows about it and blogs about it. LoL

Assuming Microsoft and Adobe were to go through with the merge, couldn't they simply improve flash with all the capabilities of silverlight to avoid the controversy and make flash more efficient?

Here are the possibilities

1) M$ buys Adobe and make Silverlight (XAML) & Flex (MXML) both output swf, so that M$ can use both C#/VB/AS developers & Flash Designers to develop applications for WP7

2) Once they do the above, say in 3-6 months, Flash will run both Flex & Silverlight files in WP7, Android.

3) Then, Flash can be used to sell Ad's in both WP7, Android

4) As already Apple relaxed it's rules, M$ can release Flash/Silverlight App development and integrate it with VS.NET, so that instantly iPhone app's development platform will be Windows again.

5) M$ get's revenue from Photoshop, Adobe products from all platforms

6) M$ can then dictate Google how a lesson and put a full stop in making Ad revenue in Mobile space

Flash would become de-facto for Mobile for next 10-20 years, like IE for PC all these years.

Nice strategy.

Regards
jinishans

Brammie2118 said,
stopped reading after m$....
+1

Tired of people saying M$. It's a company. Their goal is to make money.

$un (sold for shareholders benefit). Orac£€. Goog£€. App£€. B€$t Buy. Gam€$top. $la$hdot (they run ads). It goes on.

I guess Adob€ is okay though. It's not like they're upgrading their Creative Suite yearly to gouge people, or anything.

Still, jinishans had a point beyond the M$ stuff, and it was pretty good and at least provocative. I would absolutely love writing Silverlight apps that ran on an iPhone, but I think it goes against the License Agreement that iOS developers sign, which I believe requires a Mac for development; I could be wrong, and it could simply be a de facto thing since the tools only exist on a Mac.

Also, I absolutely do NOT want to see mobile ads written in Flash. I am not a fan of the fact that Apple moved horizontally again, and added iAds to the iOS, but it was done well, and at very little risk to the security model. Even if MS takes the security issues in Flash seriously, which I am sure they would once it's under their brand, then it still requires a huge burden to fix. Whereas Silverlight is a much more efficient, and much less risky product.

I think most people have already shown that they do not like the annoying Flash-based ads that already exist on the web within a normal browser. Throw a Flash ad onto a mobile browser, or one that takes up the whole screen and I would be even less amused. Security vulnerabilities, performance, and battery life would all open up to negative effects.

Edited by pickypg, Oct 8 2010, 2:22pm : M$ in double quotes causes a parsing mistake. Probably related to a string formatter.

I would approve of this under a few conditions.
- Dreamweaver be ditched
- Flash gradually replaced by Silverlight
- The current Adobe staff still working on the Creative Suite
- Microsoft to be responsible for OS integration, and security checks on the software
- Windows Update to replace Adobe's updater
- PDFs to be overhauled along with Acrobat and Acrobat Reader
- Mac software still supported, and those adobe mac developers to help microsoft deliver zune to mac OS, so iTunes can be shown up for the ugly rubbish it is

As someone who started using Macromedia products and then Adobe when they bought them, IMO either Apple or Microsoft owning them would be a terrible idea.

I really hope a merger happens. It'd be great if Adobe's products could be placed under the Microsoft banner, obviously with Microsoft improving them and hopefully making the interfaces more in-line with some of their own interfaces.

I strongly doubt of any merger buzz between Microsoft and Adobe. I see better a partnership in developing strategies and software for windows, azure and windows phone platforms.
However, if that were the case, it would make Apple and Google two marginal figures more than what they really are now by cash.

This better not happen. I don't want one big Monoply company. I don't have any problem with adobe working with microsoft. I especially would like a light weight Adobe PDF viewer Bundled with Windows 8 like they do for OS X.

brent3000 said,
The largest software company is about to get bigger

Which oddly seems to make you happy. I guess you like being screwed by monopolies.

TRC said,

Which oddly seems to make you happy. I guess you like being screwed by monopolies.


Do you really have a problem with "monopolies" - Microsoft never had one since beeing founded -, or do you just hate Microsoft?

Gabotril said,
If this happen, the war between Final Cut Pro vs Premiere Pro will be epic.

They both suck. Go Avid.

Key word: possible. Personally, I don't think it's going to happen. If it were to happen, it would mean Microsoft has control over Flash as well as other Adobe products like Reader, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, and more. To me, that seems like too much control.

Anaron said,
Key word: possible. Personally, I don't think it's going to happen. If it were to happen, it would mean Microsoft has control over Flash as well as other Adobe products like Reader, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, and more. To me, that seems like too much control.

Agreed, Microsoft needs to be split up as it is now instead of gobbling up even more companies.

TRC said,

Agreed, Microsoft needs to be split up as it is now instead of gobbling up even more companies.


And what is suddenly going to become better by splitting up Microsoft?

Anaron said,
Key word: possible. Personally, I don't think it's going to happen. If it were to happen, it would mean Microsoft has control over Flash as well as other Adobe products like Reader, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, and more. To me, that seems like too much control.
I agree, it would give Microsoft too much control. I can't see it happening either.

omnicoder said,

And what is suddenly going to become better by splitting up Microsoft?

A lot of things. A company that gets too big and tries to do too many things tends to do none of them well. They also tend to abuse their power over the market. Their hardware division should be split off as a separate company at least. It would also encourage competition, meaning better quality products at lower prices.

TRC said,

A lot of things. A company that gets too big and tries to do too many things tends to do none of them well. They also tend to abuse their power over the market. Their hardware division should be split off as a separate company at least. It would also encourage competition, meaning better quality products at lower prices.


The hardware division? Nice a new company that produces mice and keyboards... The XBox is part of the Entertainment Division...

Wow, that's crazy. Many people are thinking of "Yay, MS get to own Flash", but just think.. Photoshop, Premiere, uh... I'm not sure what to think of this. Completely depends on Microsoft's vision for these products.

Northgrove said,
Wow, that's crazy. Many people are thinking of "Yay, MS get to own Flash", but just think.. Photoshop, Premiere, uh... I'm not sure what to think of this. Completely depends on Microsoft's vision for these products.

I'd laugh if MS did spend billions just to buy Flash, so..buying it when in the twillight of its years, yeah good business

evo_spook said,

I'd laugh if MS did spend billions just to buy Flash, so..buying it when in the twillight of its years, yeah good business


You act as if flash is the only thing Microsoft gets out of this deal. Adobe made a billion dollars in Q4 last year. If Adobe's products stayed at even nearly the same success level they'd make it up in 3-5 years.

I suggest that adobe flash is standard since it is so widely used. And it is funny how I was reading that that the W3C said that to halt or slow the adoption of HTML 5 sincei it is unfinished. But it is very unlikely that such merger willl be allowed. Then again it is not possible after we saw Microsoft and Yahoo merged in search area.

Let alone this merger, Macromedia and Adobe should never have being allowed. The digital publishing market went from being able to choose between rival products and the advantages of that to be closed into one companys products.

evo_spook said,
Let alone this merger, Macromedia and Adobe should never have being allowed. The digital publishing market went from being able to choose between rival products and the advantages of that to be closed into one companys products.

Ahh the good ol days of Macromedia Dreamweaver

ASIF thats going to happen. The EU for a start would be all over that sort of deal. Let alone any other trade practises group approving it!

Raa said,
ASIF thats going to happen. The EU for a start would be all over that sort of deal. Let alone any other trade practises group approving it!

F the EU brother. Do you think any US entity's give 2 cents about the EU?

kabix said,
Take down Apple? Simple - make better products.

I think thats all that matters to the average brain dead Neowin poster

kabix said,
Take down Apple? Simple - make better products.
Not exactly. Sure, that'd help. But we all know how Apple's followers are -- weird.

evo_spook said,

I think thats all that matters to the average brain dead Neowin poster


and, now the Apple elite have come out to have their say. . .please let us brain dead people here at Neowin bow to you and your great intelligence.

Mr aldo said,
Not exactly. Sure, that'd help. But we all know how Apple's followers are -- weird.

Just WHAT DID YOU sa- oh maybe.

Mr aldo said,
Not exactly. Sure, that'd help. But we all know how Apple's followers are -- weird.

Yea all those hundreds of millions of Mac, iPod, iPad and iPhone owners are weird. Luckily you are special.

evo_spook said,

I think thats all that matters to the average brain dead Neowin poster

Like you Sr. posting here on Neowin. Are you average enough?

oh dear, I seriously worry about the intelligence of the Neowin posters that believe such a merger will A: Be allowed. B: Would be a good thing.

deary me..

evo_spook said,
oh dear, I seriously worry about the intelligence of the Neowin posters that believe such a merger will A: Be allowed. B: Would be a good thing.

deary me..

+1

Windows7even said,
love how people think this is a good thing..thats just really dumb thinking
If you think it is bad, please, do tell. I personally have no opinion in this other than just "yay" since I like Microsoft But why is it bad?

Windows7even said,
love how people think this is a good thing..thats just really dumb thinking

Care to indulge us lesser minds or do you just like sounding elitist?

Paired with Windows Update and a couple of years under Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle, Adobe's products could actually be secure. That alone is enough reason to make it a good idea.

Microsoft isn't going to buy the company and fire everybody in it, and they're unlikely to stop making and selling the Mac versions of Creative Suite. I strongly suspect that the Adobe name wouldn't even be dropped and the scenario would play out to be more of a very close, technology-sharing relationship than a straight up merger. Could even end up like Bungie, buying back their independence some years down the line and coming out as a much stronger company as a result of the time spent under Microsoft.

Shadrack said,

Competition is a good thing. Monopoly is a bad thing.

Well until Silverlight, Flash was one of a kind and you had to have it. But now with HTML5, it no longer matters what happens to the two platforms since both already have their gravestones in the ground ready to suck the two platforms into the afterlife.

Basically, both have a ticking time bomb. Nobody wants several plugins, the less the better. Obviously Silverlight has it's own advantages with it being very young and new to the market, but Flash has it's own advantages too.

Both together would mean one plugin to have to get, one plugin to be much more secure, one plugin to excel, and just one plugin until HTML5 comes and wipes the need for it out.

DARKFiB3R said,
Would this mean I'd be able to view .psd thumbnails in Windows? YAY!!!
Um, I am pretty sure that is an Adobe thing...

Paint.NET has their own special format, .pdn IIRC, and it has thumbnails. There is undoubtedly a way to make .psd's have thumbnails, Adobe just needs to do it.

Mr aldo said,
Um, I am pretty sure that is an Adobe thing...

Paint.NET has their own special format, .pdn IIRC, and it has thumbnails. There is undoubtedly a way to make .psd's have thumbnails, Adobe just needs to do it.

I've looked into this for the applications I've written that use my own file type.... the documentation for how to use thumbs.db for your own custom file type is..well..non-existent.

Shadrack said,

I've looked into this for the applications I've written that use my own file type.... the documentation for how to use thumbs.db for your own custom file type is..well..non-existent.


It's heavily documented for Vista/7.

Mr aldo said,
Um, I am pretty sure that is an Adobe thing...

Mac OS X has PSD support out of the box, including icon previews in the Finder. No Adobe software required.

Quick Shot said,
One giant step for Microsoft.
So I'm guessing they'd take over the photoshop market as well correct?

hopefully they wont turn it into MS Paint

Quick Shot said,
One giant step for Microsoft.
So I'm guessing they'd take over the photoshop market as well correct?

Or end up killing it allowing a new compitor to take it away, anyone remeber Photodraw or that beta appilication they were developing to compete against photoshop they ended up dropping.

I do not how that willl be good for consumers while Microsoft control a web standard that mostly people used. Remember that the same problem that developers had when IE has the most share. Pooeple. Although I see a change of attitude with Microsoft as lately, it remains to see and understand how a merge will benefiit us as consumers.

And the same not, I reallly like siverlight and I think it does have a some reallly real potential as web standard.

The Black Mamba said,
I do not how that willl be good for consumers while Microsoft control a web standard that mostly people used. Remember that the same problem that developers had when IE has the most share. Pooeple. Although I see a change of attitude with Microsoft as lately, it remains to see and understand how a merge will benefiit us as consumers.

And the same not, I reallly like siverlight and I think it does have a some reallly real potential as web standard.

I could be wrong, but I don't think Flash is a standard.

Either way, Flash has most of the share, but there aren't issues with developers, other than flash being a memory hog and what not.

The Black Mamba said,
I do not how that willl be good for consumers while Microsoft control a web standard that mostly people used. Remember that the same problem that developers had when IE has the most share. Pooeple. Although I see a change of attitude with Microsoft as lately, it remains to see and understand how a merge will benefiit us as consumers.

And the same not, I reallly like siverlight and I think it does have a some reallly real potential as web standard.

Sorry, but Silverlight will never be a "standard"

I doubt it would get through Antitrust regulators. Plus, that's an expensive aquisition. Adobe is worth north of $13 billion, right?

Merger seems somewhat applicable, but having control of Flash or Silverlight doesn't stop Apple from HTML 5. Is there anything that Flash and Silverlight can do that HTML won't be able to do especially within a couple years?

Although, most mac users I know use many Adobe products... oops, we only support Windows now... that might something for the bottomline for MS.

I just don't see the mobile impact at all. Unless it's a legal thingy.

majg said,
Plus, that's an expensive aquisition. Adobe is worth north of $13 billion, right?

$13billion? pssh, i bet Mr.Gates has that sitting in his basement. I'm sure he'd be glad get it out of his way lol

APAstyle said,

$13billion? pssh, i bet Mr.Gates has that sitting in his basement. I'm sure he'd be glad get it out of his way lol

+1

Bill uses 100-dollar bills as napkins

APAstyle said,

$13billion? pssh, i bet Mr.Gates has that sitting in his basement. I'm sure he'd be glad get it out of his way lol


You do realize Billy doesn't work for Microsoft anymore, right? And $13 billion is a HUGE number for any company.
I'm surprised Adobe is only valued at $13 billion. Seems kinda low to me.

And antitrust suits? It's been a while since I've seen a significant one. I mean, look at the airline industry lately.

OrangeFTW said,

You do realize Billy doesn't work for Microsoft anymore, right? And $13 billion is a HUGE number for any company.

Billy didn't work for Microsoft, Microsoft worked for Billy.

OrangeFTW said,
You do realize Billy doesn't work for Microsoft anymore, right?

yeah I know, but being the founder of said company doing the potential aquiring, Microsoft, I'm sure he'd be more than glad to donate some of the funds he aquired from it to a cause that would immensely benefit the company he started.

OrangeFTW said,

You do realize Billy doesn't work for Microsoft anymore, right? And $13 billion is a HUGE number for any company.
I'm surprised Adobe is only valued at $13 billion. Seems kinda low to me.

And antitrust suits? It's been a while since I've seen a significant one. I mean, look at the airline industry lately.

They do only $3.55 billion in revenue with a current market cap (after today's huge gain) of $14.88 billion. Their market cap to revenue ratio is 14.88 / 3.55 = 4.19.

Compare to MSFT which has a market cap of $212.27 billion and $62.5 billion in revenue:
212.27 / 62.5 = 3.39

Microsoft will have probably have to pay a premium of 30% to 40%, which would put the purchase price based on today's closing between $36 to $40 and a market cap value between $19 billion and $21 billion. That's definitely a lot of money for company that does less than $4 billion in revenue and has a net income of less than $500 million. Hell, that's what Microsoft paid for Danger. Adobe would have to do a full year's worth of sales to earn enough to purchase a company that Microsoft acquired without batting an eye.

APAstyle said,

$13billion? pssh, i bet Mr.Gates has that sitting in his basement. I'm sure he'd be glad get it out of his way lol

Where have you been for the last 2 years? Bill Gates doesn't run Microsoft anymore...he stepped down.

Does this mean possibly no Creative Suite for OSX in the future? Apple mightest well just kill its OSX department. haha

fourinjuly4ij said,
Does this mean possibly no Creative Suite for OSX in the future? Apple mightest well just kill its OSX department. haha

lol, ms office for mac? im pretty sure they will still make mac versions cause adobe makes good money with those expensive products

AKLP said,

lol, ms office for mac? im pretty sure they will still make mac versions cause adobe makes good money with those expensive products

Oh I know. Just my initial thought. A big What if.

FMH said,

Does this mean next Photoshop will have a "Ribbon UI" like Windows 7's paint or Office 2010 ???

I actually would be a fan of that idea!

FMH said,

Does this mean next Photoshop will have a "Ribbon UI" like Windows 7's paint or Office 2010 ???


Wow, I hope not, Photoshop needs all the screen estate it can get to work on the image.

sbdb said,

Wow, I hope not, Photoshop needs all the screen estate it can get to work on the image.

You can minimize ribbon.. and you can still get access to all the tools pretty quickly when it's minimized.

sbdb said,

Wow, I hope not, Photoshop needs all the screen estate it can get to work on the image.

If this merger happens it will screw Apple more than any one else. I know a whole lot of professional photographers who buy Macs only because Photoshop works better and faster on it than on a Windows PC. M$ can then really squeeze Apple family jewels !

Quattrone said,

I guarantee that the government regulators will not approve this.

Why not? Anything goes in the New Conservative United States(tm), and if you don't like it? Lobby your favorite corporation to fund the political candidates that will bend existing law to your will.


This is a very very smart move! I'm sure Microsoft's share might have jumped, at this news.

If this deal happens how long will it take before MS will actually buy Adobe?

zkid2010 said,

Why not? Anything goes in the New Conservative United States(tm), and if you don't like it? Lobby your favorite corporation to fund the political candidates that will bend existing law to your will.


The big issue will be the Flash and Silverlight merger if it goes ahead for most regions... However... In saying that how long has Adobe held 100% share over this uncomparable technology...

Think of what will happen to youtube if Flash goes the way of the do-do..

brent3000 said,

Think of what will happen to youtube if Flash goes the way of the do-do..
They'll switch to HTML5 exclusively. No big deal.

brent3000 said,

The big issue will be the Flash and Silverlight merger if it goes ahead for most regions...

According to all the Microsoft haters, nobody uses Silverlight, so this shouldn't be a problem.

bj55555 said,

According to all the Microsoft haters, nobody uses Silverlight, so this shouldn't be a problem.


That's not true. Microsoft uses Silverlight on many of their websites. I've not seen it anywhere else, though.

bj55555 said,

According to all the Microsoft haters, nobody uses Silverlight, so this shouldn't be a problem.

According to Netflix, thats not true. Netflix streaming uses Silverlight.

zkid2010 said,

Why not? Anything goes in the New Conservative United States(tm), and if you don't like it? Lobby your favorite corporation to fund the political candidates that will bend existing law to your will.


You mean like the giant insurance give-a-way commonly refered to as Obamacare?

Quattrone said,

I guarantee that the government regulators will not approve this.

Why, what are the products that compete that would create a monopoly or over large share? Silverlight and Flash don't count, as Flash had 100% of the same market just a couple of years ago before Silverlight existed, and even now there is HTMl5, JAVA, etc.

If they would have restricted this type of merger, then Aldus, Macromedia, etc type of mergers would have not already happened - as they did have more products that were in competition and did cover the majority of the market.

Darrian said,

That's not true. Microsoft uses Silverlight on many of their websites. I've not seen it anywhere else, though.

I think some people here need to get some glasses, because there are a LOT more sites than you think that use Silverlight (CNN, ABCNews, CBS, etc), but that's the beauty of Silverlight, it's doesn't get noticed, it's also btw a technically more advanced product than Flash ask any developer who has seriously worked with Silverlight.

sbdb said,

I think some people here need to get some glasses, because there are a LOT more sites than you think that use Silverlight (CNN, ABCNews, CBS, etc), but that's the beauty of Silverlight, it's doesn't get noticed, it's also btw a technically more advanced product than Flash ask any developer who has seriously worked with Silverlight.


This is especially good news after ""W3C says to hold off on using HTML5""->http://www.neowin.net/news/w3c...-to-hold-off-on-using-html5

bj55555 said,

According to all the Microsoft haters, nobody uses Silverlight, so this shouldn't be a problem.

No, I think everyone agrees that virtually nobody uses Silverlight. What's its market share? 0.01%?

Microsoft_Bob said,

No, I think everyone agrees that virtually nobody uses Silverlight. What's its market share? 0.01%?

Not Flash level but still quite high, and trending up last time I looked.

Microsoft_Bob said,

No, I think everyone agrees that virtually nobody uses Silverlight. What's its market share? 0.01%?

It was about 40% last year.
Just die already Mr. Troll.

Quattrone said,

I guarantee that the government regulators will not approve this.

Of course they won't - and it wouldn't make sense for either of them to do it anyway.

bj55555 said,

According to all the Microsoft haters, nobody uses Silverlight, so this shouldn't be a problem.

I like the rich snarkiness and sarcasm of this comment! +1

Microsoft_Bob said,

No, I think everyone agrees that virtually nobody uses Silverlight. What's its market share? 0.01%?

It's probably bigger than the market share of both OSX and Linux combined X 5 in terms of PC OS, but I guess that's not saying much.

mikefarinha said,

You mean like the giant insurance give-a-way commonly refered to as Obamacare?

Typical. When are people going to learn to look past ideology? It is utterly meaningless. It is almost undefinable, and really a by product of another century. No one plays a single hand. Not people, not companies and surely, not corporations. The name of the game is survival, and you can't do so while being on the outside. As for candidates, they can't get elected without "selling out," as many phrase it.

They, which will remain nameless for purposes of increasing dramatic theater win if:
a). Classic conservatives take office
b). Neo-Conservatives take office
b). Liberals take office
c). Tea party takes office (they already sold out)
d). Ultra left-wing takes office (they have always been there to)
e). Moderates take office... probably, the most problematic

In summary, those with the most to gain will always game the system. There is nothing that anyone can do about it. You will always be playing catch up (those trying to regulate). The most you can really do is place moderate (not politics) obstacles in their path. Campaign and other political reform makes the war on drugs and poverty look promising (and winnable).