Analyst: Photoshop CS3 to Drive Pro Mac Sales

by , 7:50 AM EST, January 24th, 2007

The public beta of Adobe Photoshop CS3 is receiving positive feedback, and will likely have a positive impact on pro level Mac sales, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. He noted that the lack of an Intel-native version of Photoshop has been holding back many pros from upgrading from G4 and G5 Macs.

Mr. Munster commented "According to our compilation of data from 83 Photoshop beta testers the feedback has been positive; 71 percent of beta users were 'very satisfied' and 17 percent were 'satisfied.'" The remaining 12 percent responded with "neutral."

Adobe is expected to release Photoshop CS3 and the rest of its Creative Suite 3 product line as Universal Binary applications that run natively on Intel and PowerPC-based Macs some time in April. As graphic pros upgrade to the new version of Photoshop, there is a good chance that they will also upgrade their aging workstations to current MacPro and MacBook Pro models.

"We believe that the success of the Intel-optimized CS3 will drive sales of Apple's pro-level computers, as Adobe creative pros ( about 15 percent of the Mac user base) are waiting to buy Intel machines until CS3 is released," he said.

The anticipated surge in Mac sales is expected to result in a 9 percent upside in Piper Jaffray's fiscal year 2007 EPS of US$1.45, and does not include any additional positive impact from Mac sales to outside of the current Adobe user base. The boost in sales could increase the Mac's market share by about 1 percent for calendar year 2007, representing an average market share increase from 2.4 percent in 2006 to 3.5 percent in 2007.

Mr. Munster is maintaining his "Outperform" rating and target price of $124 for Apple stock. Apple is currently trading in the pre-market at $86.35, up0.65 (0.76%).