Adobe Ain't No Flash in the Pan

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Adobe Systems (NAS: ADBE) sees better days ahead -- and is stepping on the accelerator.

In the just-reported fourth quarter, Adobe enjoyed a 14% year-over-year revenue boost to $1.15 billion. Non-GAAP earnings came in at $0.67 per share. Most encouraging of all, operating cash flows scored a big boost to $497 million. If you're keeping score at home, that's nearly 50 cents of operating cash squeezed out of every revenue dollar.

In the wake of a very public spat with Apple (NAS: AAPL) , Adobe is shifting its strategy away from proprietary technologies like Flash and into building a robust framework for industry standards such as HTML5. The recent acquisition of Nitobi, for example, allows Creative Suite users to build full-fledged mobile applications on cross-platform HTML technologies.

The company is also poking a tentative finger at cloud computing. Other cloud-based platforms from Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) , salesforce.com (NAS: CRM) , or Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) keeps a mix of items hosted out in the cloud. Adobe's solution hosts data on the company's servers and then lets client computers do the heavy and expensive lifting such as program execution and data analysis. This makes for a low-cost cloud service on Adobe's end. We'll see how this model resonates with Adobe's customers over the long term, but the company is off to a decent start.

The cloud is driving Adobe's momentum these days. Many other companies are driving down that hugely profitable road -- check out some ideas on how to invest in the cloud, courtesy of our Motley Fool analysts.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorAnders Bylundholds no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, salesforce.com, and Amazon. We have also recommended creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft, a diagonal call position in Adobe, and shorting salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Check outAnders' holdings and bio, or follow him onTwitterandGoogle+. We have adisclosure policy.

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