History of Adobe Experience Manager2 min read

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What is AEM?

AEM which is short for Adobe Experience Manager is an Enterprise Grade Digital Experience Platform (DXP) Software Product sold by Adobe Systems Inc. AEM is heavily customizable and can be very dependent on custom code. AEM is considered the Gold Standard when it comes to Marketing organizations that are trying to deliver very rich content-based websites.

History and Versions:

Adobe Experience Manager was originally a Day Software Product called Day Communique or Day CQ. Day Software was based out of Basel, Switzerland. Day Software was acquired by Adobe Systems in October of 2010. Versions included the following….

  • Day CQ 3.5 (2002)
  • Day CQ 4.0 (2005)
  • Day CQ 4.1 (2006)
  • Day CQ 4.2 (2008)
  • Day CQ 5.0 (2008)
  • Day CQ 5.2 (2009)
  • Day CQ 5.3 (2010)


At this point, Day’s CQ Product was acquired by Adobe Systems for 240 million dollars in an all-cash deal. Adobe then rebranded as Adobe CQ. Adobe’s goal was to lead the market with the best Web Content Management, Digital Asset Management, and Social Collaboration offerings by merging Adobe and Day Software’s technology.

Versions included the following….

  • Adobe CQ 5.4 (2011)
  • Adobe CQ 5.5 (2012)


The Adobe CQ Product was then rebranded as Adobe Experience Manager. Versions include the following….

  • AEM 5.6 (2013)
  • AEM 6.0 (2014)
  • AEM 6.1 (2015)
  • AEM 6.2 (2016)
  • AEM 6.3 (2017)
  • AEM 6.4 (2018)
  • AEM 6.5 (2019)


Adobe has released a new version of AEM called AEM as a Cloud Service (AEM aaCS). Adobe’s goal with AEM aaCS is to create a better solution for mid-size companies that need a more simple and flexible content manager for their changing business models. It comes with many advantages but may not be the right choice for every use case of AEM. Some advantages are:

  • Smooth updates to the latest version.
  • Increased uptime with 99.99% availability.
  • Potential lower cost of ownership.
  • More flexible licensing models based on usage.
  • Automatic Scaling horizontally and vertically.
  • Higher level of security.


For AEM users with a highly customized installation of AEM moving to the cloud may be difficult as AEM aaCS is less customizable than an on-premises option. We will go into more detail about the advantages and disadvantages of AEM aaCS in a future blog post.

Versions include the following….

  • AEM aaCS (2020)


Although the application is now called Adobe Experience Manager there are still many references to CQ and Day Software. Some legacy Customers may still refer to AEM as CQ. Some Customers may even still be on legacy versions going back to 5.6.x.  


Adobe Experience Manager is one of the most robust and feature-rich Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) applications on the market today. Marketers really like the UI and the capabilities they get with AEM. AEM allows for centralized Authoring and Asset management for all of your web properties. Gartner continuously recognizes AEM as the leader in Web Content Management with Sitecore and Acquia(Drupal) in close second and third. Forrester released their report on WCM platforms and AEM was the leader along with Acquia.

You can see our comparison of Drupal and AEM here.

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