It would be a bad thing if Adobe simply squashed competition out of existence by doing everything themselves. Keeping an active base of third party developers alive is good for the graphics software industry and keeps fresh minds active. Also buying up or competing with these companies would put the price of the program even more.
Think of the poor users who will never need this added refinement but still have to pay for it!
I was hoping that LightRoom would be the answer but they made a database out of it instead of a pixel editor. The dust and scratch removal is a joke and the GDF is buggy. Basicly I think that the third party developers need the incentive to keep striving for improvements. Third party developer FocusMagic hasen't improved or added any capapility in over three years. As to increasing the price, Adobe is already overpriced. I have every version of PS since 3.4 and I'm still waitning for Adobe to really add the things a photographer needs as apposed to supporting the MAC graphics artist community which is probably less than 3% of market. ACR needs a batch capability as good or better than DXO with a built in healing brush. I personaly want a one stop program that is state of the art. If I have to go to third party developers that means PS is not state of the art, but is getting by on reputation.
There are many things that Adobe COULD do. #1 is to get rid of C++ and go back to K&R + assembly. C++ is dependent on hardware to make up for its bloated and slow operation. An example is DCRAW which could be intergrated into a execellent version of PS.
I can see why they don't invest R&D in the NR Algorithms, yet I don't understand why they prevent the other companies from accessing the RAW data for NR.
NR on the RAW data have the potential to be much better.
I would like to see an API integrated into ACR which let 3 party companies access the RAW data for improve NR and Demosaicing algorithms.