No, I'm really not calling Bruce Chizen a horse. Far from it. But I did find it interesting to read this News.com article yesterday, interviewing him. Though we've all read the tiny bits of information that came out when the acquisition was first announced, this interview develops it just a bit more — basically discussing and confirming the reasoning behind it.
I particularly liked his candidness about the “why Macromedia” question:
Every year we go through our previous strategy plan…When we sat down this year, we talked about how to give users more of a rich experience, more animation, more graphics, more video and more collaboration around Acrobat. Then we took a look at Macromedia and said, “Jeez, if we had Macromedia as part of our asset base, we could speed up our execution against our strategy.” Without that, we might have been late. That was driving me more than scale.
Stephanie's translation: We realized we needed to give users a more rich experience. We realized Macromedia had already done that. We decided to shortcut the process and acquire them instead of taking the time to develop it all ourselves and risk being left behind by Macromedia.
A smart strategy really. Another confirmation of the “Macromedia shortcut” was this:
My view is (that) more people will view, consume and interact with information on non-PC devices than PC devices. It is going to be less on a PC and more on mobile devices. Two to four years from now it will be through an HDTV that has a satellite box or a video game or a cable box or maybe just natively has computing capability … It means that even though most of our customers will want to create and manage and deliver that information using their PC, we have to make sure that that information can easily be consumed on a non-PC.
With Macromedia's obvious goal of putting Flash in every non-PC device, I'm sure it was a no-brainer for Adobe as to where to go with their business goals.
Since the survival of Flash and Macromedia's Flash-based programs is a given, all that's left for us non-Flash developers to wonder about is — What's going to happen to our favorite graphics programs? Personally, I didn't see the removal of Freehand from the Studio as a sign of the end. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it was a smart move on the part of Macromedia, and should have been done with or without the upcoming Adobization. Contribute and Flash Paper, which didn't exist when the Studio was first created, are much wiser choices for a web developer. Letting a print program remain in its own realm is simply a logical business move (how many print-only creators care about purchasing the whole Studio). Giving web developers Contribute, allowing them to administer client sites without having to purchase it as a stand-alone, will likely help Macromedia sell a great deal more single licenses. There won't be any more excuses as to why they're not going to recommend it for thier client's simple web updates. (I personally love Contribute and have many of my clients using it to take care of content changes.)
As to the development of Freehand and Fireworks through Macromedia/Adobe, we can only speculate now. I love Fireworks, and I can't lose my vectors. So if either program is divested, I pray it is to a loving home. One that will develop them to the level they each deserve.
Read Bruce's full interview, Adobe under construction, at News.com.