Is the Fat Lady Singing — Macromedia/Adobe Merger

by Stephanie Rewis on October 14, 2005

MarketWatch is reporting that the acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe has won US Antitrust clearance. It appears if things continue as planned, Macromedia will no longer “be”, as we know it, by the fall.

The article goes on to show Adobe in “a graphics light” and Macromedia in “a web light.” Of course, this is fairly accurate — but the fact that the DOJ didn't force either company to divest itself of their nearly matching graphics programs doesn't speak well (to me) about the future health of Fireworks and Freehand.

I've read articles giving us hope that Adobe, with all its money and muscle, will develop our favorite products even further. For me, of course, that's Dreamweaver (and Fireworks), and I'm not really fearful about DW's continued existence. What I'm most saddened by is losing “the spirit of Macromedia” … or is it the Macromedia experience? I've heard the reports about how Adobe wants to keep the open communication MM has with their users. About how they value the community Macromedia has built. And I believe they mean it. It rocks! But what remains to be seen is whether a company of that size can actually do it.

Will they really value and foster the input of the community in the earliest alpha/beta stages. If the input is still sought after, will it actually hold the same kind of weight it has with Macromedia. Will they reopen closed issues because the community says it's important to them — that they want their tool to have some particular ability or for some legacy bug to be fixed? Will they keep their wits about them when developers criticize something they've worked hard on — and then try to make it right?

All these traits are strong in the people that are Macromedia. Macromedia listens and reacts. It's almost as if, by using their products, we are a part of Macromedia. In fact, some days, they almost feel like family. Adobe — are you listening? You may be a giant, but you've got some big shoes to fill. I truly hope you're up to the task.

For now, I remain optimistic — maybe we're just increasing the size of the family. But I can't help but get those twinges that feel like I'm “losing a friend.” A company is its people and the people that comprise Macromedia are truly some of the best. Now before I choke myself up, I've got to go pack. I've got a whole lotta friends to see at MAX.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

St├ęphane Bergeron October 14, 2005 at 9:53 am
Stef. October 14, 2005 at 10:15 am

I agree with you on most counts. Freehand is likely sunk (I was hoping they would be forced by the DOJ to sell FH). Fireworks MAY be safe since I agree that the vectorism that is FW is definitely different than Photoshop (thus the reason I love receiving FW comps to work from so much more). :)

While I do agree with some of the points at Daring Fireball, I am choosing to believe that the real reason behind the purchase of Macromedia is Flash. Pure and simple. They see the potential, they couldn’t build it, so they bought it. I think many of the Flash-based products will also be safe (Breeze, Flex, Captivate) for the same reason. Dreamweaver’s good since it’s the market leader. MM undoubtedly owns the web as far as professional development goes. So now, the market Adobe hasn’t been able to penetrate, is theirs.

That’s my theory anyway — obviously time will tell.

ethan October 14, 2005 at 5:31 pm

i’m more negative about the outlook. I don’t see adobe changing their ways and actually valuing community input. I alsop don’t think that buying MM will suddenly turn adobe into a community centric company. Why haven’t they done this before during CS and CS2 development. Because they are not interested in that form of relationship-they are much more Microsoft-like in their approach.

Owen Dearing October 22, 2005 at 10:36 am

The really worrisome thing to me is the fact that MM and Adobe will no longer be competing, which in the long run means we will pay more for future products, and there will not be as much pressure on Adobe to come up with new or updated software until they feel they want to. In the digital camera realm, Canon is the sales leader, but Nikon is always hovering somewhere in the background. If Canon were to purchase Nikon, I suspect that new Canon cameras would not be as quick to be released, and prices would go up substantially. Another example, take Apple out of the picture entirely, and maybe we’d all be using Windows 98 still! I don’t have any feelings one way or another towards any of the above mentioned corporations, but I do think that the trickle down to us web designers with Adobe now being the monopoly cannot be good.

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