Nothing like a rumor to kick-start a moribund tech stock

Shares of Adobe Systems jump nearly 12% in wake of reported meeting with Microsoft

Remember the beating shares of software maker Adobe Systems took last month after it gave a revenue warning for its fourth quarter?

Shares tumbled from about $33 to below $26, and I wrote, "You can pretty much expect Adobe shares to linger in the mid-20s in the foreseeable future."

And linger they did -- until this afternoon, when Adobe Systems stock (NASDAQ: ADBE) soared as high as $30 per share on rumors that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently dropped by Adobe's San Jose headquarters to chat with chief executive Shantanu Narayen.

Adobe closed Thursday at 28.69, a gain of 2.96, or 11.5 percent, over Wednesday's close. Shares actually had hit a 52-week low Thursday of 25.45 before responding to the Microsoft rumor. Thursday's surge gets Adobe Shares about half of what they had lost after the Q3 revenue warning.

A New York Times article on the "secret" meeting posted Thursday afternoon said the discussion "covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could partner in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options."

It's hard to tell how long ago the meeting was, but it's hard to believe they could talk about the mobile phone market without mentioning Google's Android, which is threatening to overtake RIM's BlackBerry and the iPhone.

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