Adobe, Figma Deal Fate to be Decided on August 7 by EU Antitrust Body

EU antitrust regulators will decide by August 7 whether to clear Adobe’s $20 billion (roughly Rs. 1,63,900 crore) bid for cloud-based designer platform Figma after a preliminary review, according to a European Commission filing on Monday.

Photoshop maker Adobe sought EU approval last Friday. A request made a month before the summer holidays suggests the company expects the EU competition enforcer to open a full-scale investigation following its initial scrutiny.

The Commission earlier this year warned the deal threatens to significantly affect competition in the market for interactive product design and whiteboarding software.

Figma’s web-based collaborative platform for designs and brainstorming is hugely popular among tech firms including Zoom Video Communications, Airbnb and Coinbase.

Britain’s competition watchdog on Friday gave Adobe a week to offer remedies to address its concerns or face a deeper investigation.

Adobe said in June that it will offer Firefly, its artificial intelligence tool for generating images, to its large business customers, with financial indemnity for copyright challenges involving content made with the tools.

The move to include compensation comes amid a rise in lawsuits around the image data used in AI services from companies such as Stability AI and Midjourney that can generate imagery from just a few words of text.

Adobe, earlier this year, released a test version of Firefly, its own service which it says was created with legally safe image data.

Adobe said it will start offering Firefly to its corporate customers as part of Adobe Express, a tool aimed at helping business users who do not specialize in design to create images and documents.

In an effort to give those customers confidence, Adobe said it will offer indemnification for images created with the service, though the company did not give financial or legal details of how the program will work.

“We financially are standing behind all of the content that is produced by Firefly for use either internally or externally by our customers,” Ashley Still, senior vice president of digital media at Adobe, told Reuters.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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