Adobe to buy Macromedia
April 18, 2005 1:03 AM   Subscribe

Adobe to buy Macromedia I almost choked when I saw this press release, Adobe is going to buy out Macromedia for $3.4 billion in stock. Adobe is paying about $9 over the current share price, which means the investors will make out nicely. With the two largest design software companies becoming one, the new Adobe will be a monopoly (if it isn't already with Photoshop). I just hope they remove the ability to make really annoying Flash movies...
posted by jonknee (92 comments total)

 
this could be really awesome, or really crappy.

i hate that.
posted by dopamine at 1:07 AM on April 18, 2005


Oh great. I can only hope that the buggy quirks of the MX apps and the lack of anything really new or innovative from CS will be merged together into one SUPER product.
posted by Josh Zhixel at 1:07 AM on April 18, 2005


Wouldn't this need to fly past the FTC?
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:07 AM on April 18, 2005


Strewth! This is something I'd thought would never happen. As long as they don't knock Fireworks on the head in favour of Image Ready, I'll be happy. This is going to be amazingly interesting (or, as dopamine said), really crappy. I'm quite surprised that MM are valued at approximately $3.4 billion - it seems an awfully high figure. Things I can see happening:

GoLive being mulched in favour of Dreamweaver, Adobe's SVG work getting shunted even further back now that they have Flash and FreeHand being assimilated into Illustrator.

Potentially there's scope for some amazing products.
posted by TheDonF at 1:15 AM on April 18, 2005


They didn't mention needing fed approval, maybe because it's software that you need to purchase (it doesn't come standard on 99% of computers like Windows). Not sure, but you think it would have been mentioned if it was needed.
posted by jonknee at 1:17 AM on April 18, 2005


Just as I said that, I read in the Wall Street Journal (sub req.):

"The companies said both boards had approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the fall, subject to regulatory approvals and the approval of shareholders of both companies."

They didn't mention any possible conflicts in approval. We'll see I suppose.
posted by jonknee at 1:19 AM on April 18, 2005


This should have some interesting implications for Adobe's support of the SVG format.
posted by waxpancake at 1:46 AM on April 18, 2005


As in dropping it cold, yeah.
posted by catachresoid at 1:50 AM on April 18, 2005


Wouldn't this need to fly past the FTC?

The FTC only cares about monopolies relating to national infrastructure - things like energy, telecommunications, and transportation.

You don't want an enron to dominate the energy transportation business because once they do so ti is nearly impossible for anyone else to build a competing energy distribution network. Enron then gets to set arbitrary prices, and those arbitrary prices could sink the US economy.

But consolidating all of the graphic design software into a single company creates a very weak monopoly. Sure all the software comes under the same brand, but it is no harder to get 200 software developers together and build a competing product than it was prior to the merger. There aren't any tangible industrial chokepoints that this combined company will control, so there is little reason for the FTC to care one way or another.

<soapbox>
I think this, along with the mergers in the music-software industry is great. It creates a monolithic corporation that depends on one specific way of doing graphic design (or music), that draws heavily on the metaphors of pre-digital design. One of the fundamental problems with creating monopolies that are not explicitly protected via state sanctions (utilities, patents, etc.) is that competitors often come out of the blue and seriously shake things up (for the better). This is exactly what Microsoft did to IBM, and what the Japanese car manufacturers did to the US big-three.

Photoshop is certainly a nice tool, but it is designed to make traditional photo-retouching more efficient by moving to the digital domain. It would be a lot more interesting if it was a pure digital tool that didn't care much for traditional metaphors like canvasses, brushes and textures.

Similarly, contemporary digital audio software only scratch the surface of what digital tools can do for music and sound design. Logic/Cakewalk/Cubase are really electronic sheetmusic. Acid, Live and FruityLoops are somewhat more innovative, but are still deeply entrenched in traditional process.

Software development is easier and cheaper than ever, get out there and make some cool stuff!
</soapbox>
posted by b1tr0t at 2:03 AM on April 18, 2005


So we're likely to see... Acrobat documents with embedded Flash animations?
posted by sveskemus at 2:12 AM on April 18, 2005


now although I know that there are many mefi'rs on the continent and in other places where it is daytime now, I would still like to attribute the fact that this already has 11 comments to the fact that designers -- the people with a vested interest in this story -- are probably, like me, up at quarter past five working against a deadline and surfing mefi. Which, as a tactic, is not getting these drawings done any damn faster.
posted by hautenegro at 2:18 AM on April 18, 2005


So we're likely to see... Acrobat documents with embedded Flash animations?

No, the horrible idea is that, since both PDF and Flash are vector-based...why not merge them!

But we are likely to see Adobe branded ColdFusion errors on Metafilter.
posted by catachresoid at 2:19 AM on April 18, 2005


This is bad.

There is less and less competition between softwaremakers. People usually complain about evil Microsoft, but ALL companies like a Monopoly in their markets.
posted by homodigitalis at 2:33 AM on April 18, 2005


Yeah, more interesting to me than the Flash stuff is the question of what this merger will mean for all of Macromedia's server products (ColdFusion, Flex, Breeze, etc etc).
posted by flaneur at 2:42 AM on April 18, 2005


Say Aah! Oh no! hello to one more almost monopoly. We got a hardware monopoly, Intel, an OS monopoly, Microsoft, and now all the interesting content on those machines will be developed on software from one single company. Nice.
posted by Termite at 2:52 AM on April 18, 2005


This is forcing my first post after years of lurking. I spent the entire day trying to decide whether to dump Golive for Dreamweaver -- and finally hobbled back to Golive since I'm so heavily invested in the entire "creative" suite.

Maybe this will result a nice, friendly manual for GoDream or LiveWeaver.
posted by filament at 3:13 AM on April 18, 2005


Macromedia's (vector apps + server apps) + Adobe's (bitmapped apps + page layout apps) = OMFG.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:21 AM on April 18, 2005


DreamLive... GoWeaver... Illhand... Freelustrator... Imageworks... FireReady... CSMX... GoFreeWeavill...
posted by hal9k at 3:23 AM on April 18, 2005


Mike Chambers adds more on his blog about this news.
posted by sjvilla79 at 3:32 AM on April 18, 2005


We can only hope that the GIMP will evolve into something like OpenOffice 2.0 - otherwise we won't see any real alternative to Photoshop.

I fear that prices for suits, full und upgrade versions will skyrocket.
posted by homodigitalis at 3:39 AM on April 18, 2005


I've waited ten years for an update to Fontographer. Curious what Adobe will do with it.
Remember when Adobe bought Aldus? Kept PageMaker and sold Freehand to Macromedia. Now Adobe get it back. But it remains too strong a competitor to Illustrator to glom features between the two or kill off altogether. So what company gets it? Go ahead. Name another company. Claris? Silicon Beach? Kai Power Tools? General Magic? Acius? Caere? Please don't say Quark.
posted by hal9k at 3:53 AM on April 18, 2005


Ulead!
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:17 AM on April 18, 2005


Wow, this is huge.

I'm wondering which applications will be blended and which ones will go by the wayside. Personally I am hoping that Freehand goes byebye. The interface doesn't seem aligned with that of the other Macromedia products and I've never found it as intuitive as Illustrator. On the other hand, if they weighed off the best features of each and combined them, I'd be willing to accept a new learning curve.

On another note, this will likely give InDesign an even better upperhand in the page layout market. I wonder how Quark employees are feeling right now? Or Macromedia employees for that matter?
posted by blackturtleneck at 4:32 AM on April 18, 2005


Jasc?
posted by dum2007 at 4:32 AM on April 18, 2005


Er, Corel... (Where the hell have I been?)
posted by dum2007 at 4:33 AM on April 18, 2005


Adobe have InDesign and Illustrator - I wonder if they'll take bits of FreeHand, throw them into those products and kill it?
posted by TheDonF at 4:34 AM on April 18, 2005


Hopefully the new company will be able to succeed on the basis of the quality of its developer products rather than having to resort to sleazy cross marketing (visiting link under Internet Explorer leads to a page that installs Yahoo! toolbar with the Flash player unless user unchecks the box). That sounds like a snark but I mean it sincerely, the idea that it is impossible to make money as a software company without keeping a bit of dignity depresses the hell out of me.
posted by teleskiving at 4:46 AM on April 18, 2005


Uh should have been "while keeping a bit of dignity".
posted by teleskiving at 4:49 AM on April 18, 2005


It's kind of funny how Adobe keeps ending up with fireworks. They first got it when they bought Aldus, sold it off to Altsys which in turn was bought by Macromedia.

If history is going to repeat itself, they will sell it off to a third party company which in turn gets taken over by Corel. It would seem as if Corel is building a collection of graphic apps that have gone astray through these types of mergers. Sooner or later, they should end up with some killer app worthy enough for Adobe to buy them out.
posted by Timeless at 4:59 AM on April 18, 2005


I just hope they don't make the Flash tools too much like Illustrator. They're good for different things, Flash being great for a quick mock up, Illustrator being more suited for more detailed finish work (imho). Those of you worried about the 3 minute flash intro with no skip button, how long has it been since you've been to one of those sites? It seems to me that designers have finally started to take a more restrained approach to the use of Flash content (unless you're talking about a band/recording artist site).

Also, I hope this will somehow help all of the old school Quark hold outs to move to InDesign. Anyone used Quark in a while? It's like they're trying to make your life more difficult. Quark is definitely one of my least favorite programs ever, but we still use it all fucking day long where I work.

I hope this goes well & they don't combine everything I hate about both companies into their software.
posted by password at 5:02 AM on April 18, 2005


At the risk of being an entity of one, I've never found Adobe products intuitive. To me, software with a steep learning curve peppered with trips to the help files or message boards is far from "intuitive" [which in this case means, easy to figure out without looking anything up or outside help]. Not that MM is perfect, but it's a bit better, IMHO.

It's a shame that software designers can't be quality driven as opposed to [shrinking] dollar driven. In many cases the better product has dropped the ball on marketing and the inferior product runs away with the ribbon. DataCAD vs AutoCAD, for example. In the same vein, I always thought Micrografx was a great little tool - it was the first graphics tool I ever used (about 6 years ago), and not once did I open the help window.
posted by yoga at 5:06 AM on April 18, 2005


Jasc sells PaintShop Pro - a pretty capable package - for much less money. It ought to be much more popular.
posted by madman at 5:11 AM on April 18, 2005


Claris? Silicon Beach? Kai Power Tools? General Magic? Acius? Caere? Please don't say Quark.
posted by hal9k at 3:53 AM PST on April 18 [!]


Corel
posted by beelzbubba at 5:11 AM on April 18, 2005


Interesting. I really want to know what will happen to the various applications... ImageReady for example I never use for anything, but I did get a lot of use out of Fireworks for a few years (at the time, the PNG tools were better than what Adobe had). I'm wondering if the bastard child of GoLive and Dreamweaver will produce code that is uglier than either parent product currently does (hard to imagine, but we will see.)

Which name they choose to keep for specific apps will likely tell us a lot about what features they will build into each product. I can't even begin to think about how much extra it will start to cost for upgrades.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:03 AM on April 18, 2005


This should have some interesting implications for Adobe's support of the SVG format.
posted by waxpancake at 1:46 AM PST on April 18 [!]


As in dropping it cold, yeah.
posted by catachresoid at 1:50 AM PST on April 18 [!]


I'm not really familiar with Flash and SVG, but would Adobe owning Macromedia not mean that Macromedia might be encouraged to have some sort of "export as SVG" facility in their Flash software? Or am I just living in cloud cuckoo land?
posted by chill at 6:05 AM on April 18, 2005


This worries me since Adobe has never shown a lot of insight into the web. The last few years of Adobe releases have been hardly essential. And yes, Yoga, Adobe has been mucking up their interfaces for years now with dubious 'improvements'.

Macromedia, with much smaller resources, has much better excuses for their misfires, and their successes are also that much more impressive.

I hope some of this is because Adobe likes MM's plans and MM needs resources, not just an opportunistic elimination of competition.
posted by KS at 6:05 AM on April 18, 2005


I'm not too keen on this.

I remember when Macromedia acquired Allaire there was going to be all these "synergies" between all the apps. Never really saw that happen much. When Adobe acquired GoLive I thought they would do something with the server product GoLive had been working on. 5 years later Adobe seems to have announced something similar to be in CS2. But that doesn't give me hope that Adobe finally gets server-side application development.

I also like Macromedia's equal opportunity support for Mac and Windows, something I've seen Adobe move away from the past few years, particularly in the video realm, but defintely also including Acrobat, and some consumer products. Why should I believe Adobe won't do the same thing with Flash, Dreamweaver/Contribute, or anything else?
posted by infowar at 6:06 AM on April 18, 2005


Adobe have InDesign and Illustrator - I wonder if they'll take bits of FreeHand, throw them into those products and kill it?

My guess on the restructuring is that Adobe will phase out Illustrator and integrate its main functions into PhotoShop. Then they'll keep FreeHand as the vector/print-media-centric app.

For me, the most hopeful prospect is integration between Photoshop, AfterEffects, and Flash. The idea of creating some images, and slapping them straight into Flash, then switching right over to AE for video export has me gurgling with joy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:30 AM on April 18, 2005


And here I thought Adobe would buy a 3d company and go that route instead...that seems more logical.
posted by Hands of Manos at 7:07 AM on April 18, 2005


The idea of creating some images, and slapping them straight into Flash, then switching right over to AE for video export has me gurgling with joy.

I couldn't agree more. I, however, have always found Flash to be clunky and have longed for an Adobe-style interface for the tool. Adobe LiveMotion had great promise for folks who were partial to the AfterEffects way of doing things, but had limited (or no) scripting capabilities which probably led to its demise. It will definitely be interesting to see if Flash will be fully integrated into AfterEffects or an entirely new product aimed at the broadcast community.

On the coding side, I have been using DreamWeaver for about 5 years and really like the way it has evolved. I really hope they don't screw with it too much.
posted by itchylick at 7:12 AM on April 18, 2005


As others have mentioned, it'll be very interesting to see which products get upgraded and repackaged and which ones get tossed into the trash. I see this having more potential for positive developments, assuming they create leaner and more focused products with only the best of both worlds. That's a pretty big assumption though.
posted by prostyle at 7:18 AM on April 18, 2005


I'm hoping they sell Homesite to someone who's willing to develop as a separate tool (again), and add full functionality for the numerous scripting languages that are now out there (PHP, Python, etc.). I've tried a good many of the HTML + (insert language here) IDEs out there, and found nothing as intuitive and complete as Homesite.

Also, what XQUZYPHYR & itchylick said about Flash.
posted by Al_Truist at 7:34 AM on April 18, 2005


Unless Adobe has a profound come-to-Jesus moment what will probably happen is: 1) ColdFusion sold off to a company with server-side experience; 2) HomeSite dies sans dignity; 3) Dreamweaver wins against GoLive however its interface is all but destroyed, though it may become signifcantly less buggy; 4) Buh bye Contribute; 5) Illustrator vs. Freehand? Illustrator, alas; 6) Photoshop vs. Fireworks vs. Imageready? Photoshop, obviously, and probably some kind of bastardization of both Fireworks and Imageready into a new program; 7) Flash? It's an unstoppable train of insanity. No other product in the history of the web has managed to get non-techie execs so massively worked up in the course of a 90 minute presentation at the local Hilton; 8) FlashPaper becomes part of AdobeAcrobat--probably one of its versions: ordinary, Professional, FlashCrazy, etc.
posted by gsh at 7:42 AM on April 18, 2005


My Prediction:

Golive: Dead
Freehand: Dead
Fireworks and Imageready: Dead- features absorbed into Photoshop

They create Creative suite for print:
Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign and Acrobat

Creative Suite for Web:
Photoshop, Illustrator (maybe), Flash, Dreamweaver.

The After Effects/Photoshop/Flash thing is interesting but probably not a priority- my guess is they'll keep AE integrated with the current video apps for the PC and add Flash support.
posted by jeremias at 7:43 AM on April 18, 2005


Sigh. I use products from both companies on a daily basis. There was some bad blood in the past, wherein one company sued the other over detachable floating menus; for what it's worth, I've always found both companies' products to be less than intuitive and less than ideally stable.

Does this significantly impact the web? Nah, because you can still make images with the GIMP and use a plain text editor to write HTML/CSS/Javascript code. This does significantly impact the corporate web development space, though, because now all your license eggs are in one basket. As someone else mentioned above, get ready for license cost increases and poor support compared to their current product line.

At least the Quark folks are still around to compete with InDesign, so hopefully there will be some nice competition-driven innovation there. Or perhaps Adobe will buy them out, too.
posted by davejay at 7:53 AM on April 18, 2005


Fireworks and Imageready: Dead- features absorbed into Photoshop

That'd be fabulous. Have they finally dropped ImageReady in the new Photoshop CS2?

I just hope they remove the ability to make really annoying Flash movies...

People make them, not the company. Do you hope they'll remove the ability to make really annoying HTML pages as well?
posted by juiceCake at 7:58 AM on April 18, 2005


I just did a run-down of where I think the different products will go, based on this. So here, in all its shameless self-link goodness, is the entry with my predictions.
posted by TNLNYC at 8:07 AM on April 18, 2005


I think Adobe is building a super-uber CMS that will let you edit structured content usable for print publications via the web (and obviously also web publications- but that's nothing new). They have all of the pieces now. IBM's been plugging away at dynamic PDF production with XML.
posted by Caviar at 8:17 AM on April 18, 2005


I am a little worried by the consolidation, but at the same time... layered PSD import into Flash would make me really happy.
Vector export from After Effects would be nice too... oh yeah, and some filters in Flash, too!
posted by grimcity at 8:31 AM on April 18, 2005


Gahh, I hope they don't kill Fireworks, it's a fantastic blend of vector and bitmapping that is unstoppable when it comes to building gui elements. It's a product that really bridged the gap between Illustrator and Photoshop for me, I'll be crushed if they trash it, it's vastly superior to the hated Imageready.

I'd love to see a more AfterEffects-like version of Flash though!
posted by Scoo at 8:35 AM on April 18, 2005


Well, we've already got GIMPshop (handy Windows installer), so where's my open source flash killer app? Is this the best way to do it? What about a nice open source pdf app, too?
posted by blendor at 9:07 AM on April 18, 2005


For me, I hope that Director is retained and perhaps some of the good user-model from After-Effects, particularly the keyframe model, finds its way into a future release.

I agree that Flash could also do with some AE user model refinement. The Flash keyframe model has always seemed counter-intuitive to me, even way back when it was Splash.
posted by bz at 9:07 AM on April 18, 2005


] [
(I think this is bad)
posted by tomplus2 at 9:09 AM on April 18, 2005


yoga, you are not alone. never been fond of adobe interfaces.

FlashPaper is gonna die, FreeHand, GoLive and Fireworks will probably be cannibalized. Adobe already owns the lion's share of fonts, and now Fontographer. great.

The only thing good about this is the idea of the assholes at Quark peeing their pants and wailing like ninnies.
posted by whatnot at 9:27 AM on April 18, 2005


I'd love to see a more AfterEffects-like version of Flash though!

You were going to, anyway. Macromedia has been working hard on incorporating more video into the next version of Flash. They have made deals for top notch codecs. My creative partner believes that this deal has more to do with online video than anything.
posted by KS at 9:41 AM on April 18, 2005


Toucha my Fireworks and I'll show you some Fireworks.

The idea of having to go back to Photoshop to do web graphics makes me literally nauseous.
posted by weston at 10:12 AM on April 18, 2005


as long as every product comes with a drop shadow, lens flare, and inner bevel, we're golden.
posted by stenseng at 10:12 AM on April 18, 2005


I've always liked choosing which programs I use from each company (Dreamweaver+Photoshop). And although I will miss that ability, I have faith that they will be able to combine the two quite fittingly.

Unfortunately, I am also worried about the monopoly aspect of the merger. Over the last few years, we've noticed lots of stagnation in the creative design software front. For example, not much innovation went into Photoshop between 3 and 5, you could say, until it got pushed by Fireworks. One of the more annoying ones was Quark's lameness in updating Xpress, which InDesign pushed. I don't want that push to go away.

If this merger does go through, I will probably end up hoping for Microsoft and/or Apple to launch their own products to compete with "Macrodobe," as it may become easier to compete against one than two. I mean, why doesn't MSFT buy PSP and market the hell out of it?
posted by dequinix at 10:44 AM on April 18, 2005


DreamLive... GoWeaver... Illhand... Freelustrator... Imageworks... FireReady... CSMX... GoFreeWeavill...

Or as one Slashdot commenter suggested, Freehand + Illustrator = Frustrator.

My two cents on the whole thing: as someone who owns licences for the largest suites of both, I don't think this is a good thing. Adobe is one of those companies whose responsiveness to its customers is proportionate the the quality of their competition. Absorbing the competitor that did more to keep them on their toes than any other can only be a bad thing. Worst-case equation:

Adobe + Macromedia = ((Adobe - threat) + (Macromedia - innovation))
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:55 AM on April 18, 2005


Get ready to see your graphic design apps get a whole lot more expensive.
posted by clevershark at 11:17 AM on April 18, 2005


Wait, photoshop will still be free, right?
posted by eatitlive at 11:45 AM on April 18, 2005


most irrelevant quote ever...

"After 9/11, we both realized that being enemies didn't make sense," Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen said in a conference call Monday.

will they use flash to fight the war on terror? is flash the ever-elusive weapon of mass destruction? details at 11!
posted by howling fantods at 12:23 PM on April 18, 2005


It seems to me that designers have finally started to take a more restrained approach to the use of Flash content...

Sure. There's definitely no overzealous self-righteous developers using it for basic headline text anywhere, nope, no-sir.
posted by odinsdream at 12:30 PM on April 18, 2005


I think that KS (or their partner) is right, this is about content creation (and later delivery) in forms other those which adobe is already king. So, i think that they'll keep all of MMs Server Side Stuff (SSS) and it will be adobified.
posted by blindsam at 12:43 PM on April 18, 2005


Anybody catch the typo in the Wall Street Journal's "What's News" blurb about this? "Slowdown with Microsoft" indeed.
posted by me3dia at 12:46 PM on April 18, 2005


Didn't Adobe sue Macromedia a few years ago for copying Adobe's color palette interface? Well, that was money well spent!
posted by quadog at 12:58 PM on April 18, 2005


W.r.t. Coldfusion/JRun and all Macromedia's server side work: I assumed they'd keep it. Then somebody up-thread mentioned a blue-sky system in development at Adobe, and I realized that yes, it's probably dead.

Which is monumentally stupid, but more important, monumentally arrogant. Which is why I think they'll do it -- sell off Coldfusion/JRun, that is. After all, Adobe is the buyer, here; this isn't a merger. If they do, then web app development becomes basically a game for MS and IBM.

As for the graphics apps, it's been really interesting to read what people have to say about them. I only regularly use Fireworks and Dreamweaver; Fireworks gives me fits, but I assume that's because I don't know it well enough. I hate the interface on both of them (and on Photoshop, for that matter), and it's my considered opinion that the high regard in which their UIs are held by users is analogous to the love of an abused spouse for his/her mate.

Dreamweaver, though -- clunky interface elements (especially on a Mac) or not, that's some powerful shit. I still remember how excited I was when I first started experimenting with importing my websites into DW, and saw that it utterly failed to destroy them...
posted by lodurr at 1:02 PM on April 18, 2005


Macromedia was not long to be an independent company. As crappy as this news is, the thought of Macromedia going to Microsoft was far, far, crappier....
posted by jalexei at 1:15 PM on April 18, 2005


jalexi: mmmmaaaayyyybe. But it's also possible that an occurence that crappy could have shaken some complacency out of the marketplace. From great evils come great goods, yada yada...
posted by lodurr at 1:20 PM on April 18, 2005


Personally I am hoping that Freehand goes byebye. The interface doesn't seem aligned with that of the other Macromedia products and I've never found it as intuitive as Illustrator.

Two words for you: Paste Inside. The only reason the bloated UI of Freehand still kicks Illustrators ass.

If they would have kept FreeHand 3.1 I would have been a happy camper... back in the day ya see we had to design uphill... in the snow... boths ways!

PS. Photoshops interface ROCKS! How dare anyone say otherwise.
posted by tkchrist at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2005


Photoshops interface ROCKS! How dare anyone say otherwise.

It's OK, tkchrist, we can get you into a shelter where Photoshop will never find you.
posted by lodurr at 2:37 PM on April 18, 2005


At least the Quark folks are still around to compete with InDesign...

You call Quark releasing Express 6 being competitive? Express 3 was innovative they haven't done anything breathtaking with that program since. I've been a designer for 8 years, 7 of those using Quark Express and I'd rather be punched in the chest while eating soup than be forced use their products again. The only reason they still exist is most designers are too busy and lazy to learn a new program. It's entrenchment, not great software that keeps Quark alive.

To hell with their crap program, arrogant customer service and draconian upgrade policy. I hope this merger hasten the demise of Quark when they go bankrupt I'll throw a party and create the flyers on InDesign.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:48 PM on April 18, 2005


I used to belong to a Flash developers list, and one of the Macromedia people that hung out there said of the many legal battles between them and Adobe (and I paraphrase) "That's just something the legal departments do to validate their paychecks. We don't swap trade secrets, but we're in pretty close communication about trends and markets and stuff." They were never bitter enemies.

Most of the MM stuff I use is pretty stable (except for DW - another version of that to really make the webstandards thing come alive while not falling over a lot would have been good) so I'm not too worried. PS has always just been a huge unnecessary pain in the butt unless you really need print-quality, which I don't. I'll stick with MX2k4 unless whatever they come up with is really special.
posted by Sparx at 3:34 PM on April 18, 2005


jalexi: mmmmaaaayyyybe. But it's also possible that an occurence that crappy could have shaken some complacency out of the marketplace.

Perhaps. The way I see it, Adobe wants my cash, but at least they know I'm a designer. Microsoft just wants my cash ("we decided to fold Flash into the next FrontPage update...." [shudder])
posted by jalexei at 4:00 PM on April 18, 2005


Time for Microsoft to develop its own Photoshop-killer software and dominate the market baby!

Do it, Bill. Kick the collective arses of AdobeMedia (or Macrobe)

:p
posted by madman at 4:17 PM on April 18, 2005


Huh. Adobe had to dump either FreeHand or Illustrator for their purchase of Aldus to pass regulatory muster. Will they have to do that again? I hope FreeHand survives, but not in Adobe's hands, because I don't trust them to do well by it.

(FreeHand's UI only sucks, BTW, because Macromedia screwed it up like you wouldn't believe. The Aldus versions were relatively good, and integrated well -- of course -- with PageMaker, which was a good thing at the time.)

"It's kind of funny how Adobe keeps ending up with fireworks. They first got it when they bought Aldus, sold it off to Altsys which in turn was bought by Macromedia."

I think you mean FreeHand, not Fireworks. Anyway. Altsys were the original developers of FreeHand. They licensed it to Aldus -- so Aldus was selling it, but Altsys was still writing the software. Then when Adobe bought Aldus and had to choose between FH and Illustrator, they basically gave the marketing rights back to Altsys. So Altsys had the software all along, it's just that Aldus did the marketing and tech support for it for a few years.

Then Altsys sold out to Macromedia, and you know the rest...

(Full disclosure -- I worked for Aldus, on the FreeHand support team. To this day I still don't use Illustrator.)
posted by litlnemo at 4:29 PM on April 18, 2005


Time for Microsoft to develop its own Photoshop-killer software and dominate the market baby!

Sounds like you never used MS Publisher. It's a frigg'in tinker toy layout program, I wouldn't it trust to correctly output flyers hawking blue-green algae to a ink jet printer.

I'd worry about it if MS ever got around to adding native support for postscript and spend more than $10 of R&D on ICC support
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:16 PM on April 18, 2005


Don't conflate competition with incentive to improve.

Competition is certainly ONE incentive to improve, but it's not the only one. Similarly, incentive to improve is not the only effect of competition. The two are intertwingled, but not necessarily correlated, and certainly not identical.

Adobe has basically no competition with Photoshop, yet the past few versions have all been massive improvements (and anyone who thinks CS is exactly the same as 7 clearly isn't doing any 16-bit image editing).
posted by Caviar at 5:20 PM on April 18, 2005


I'm afraid this is bad news. I really enjoyed Macromedia products such as Dreamweaver and Coldfusion and I'm sceptical that Adobe will improve this product line any further.
posted by tcp at 5:28 PM on April 18, 2005


Perhaps Adobe quality and over user-friendliness (and DMCA politics) will become more like Macromedia? Wishful thinking...
posted by quam at 5:33 PM on April 18, 2005


"but would Adobe owning Macromedia not mean that Macromedia might be encouraged to have some sort of "export as SVG" facility in their Flash software?"

Well, SVG is the only direct competitor to Flash. If Adobe Media thinks that they can kill off SVG-Tiny on mobile platforms and replace it with a subset of Flash, they will. Why? Because supporting both is inefficient. Because they don't have total control over SVG they way they do Flash. Because SVG kind of sucks compared to Flash. Because SVG could be a minor destabilizing element to their corporate hegemony.

"Competition is certainly ONE incentive to improve, but it's not the only one."

True. They still have to improve the programs enough so that people can justify upgrading. However, will this really produce the same level of improvement as would a healthy rivalry? Gut check says no.
posted by catachresoid at 5:58 PM on April 18, 2005


I'm sceptical (sic) that Adobe will improve this product line any further.

They did a great job turning clunky PageMaker into slick InDesign.

Perhaps they can change the UI for Flash, with ActionScript so prevalent in flash applications the storyboard interface metaphor is down right silly. Need a different approach and I hope Adobe sees that.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 6:06 PM on April 18, 2005


From a purely public/consumer perspective, I gotta say that few outfits as large as a combined Adobe/Macromedia could completely disappear with so little impact on my life.

I have no doubt that my life as an active web user would be markedly better, on the whole, with Macromedia wiped from history, and, while I understand the ubiquity and sophistication of Adobe's tools, I have never found cause to lay hands or mouse upon a single incarnation of any one. The only conceivable exception is Acrobat, but some other de facto printer-ready document standard would certainly have emerged. And even there Adobe has been pushing people to other PDF handlers (PDF is an open standard) with the recent Acrobat "innovations" like remote document tracking in version 7.

From the serious web user perspective, this just doesn't matter much.
posted by NortonDC at 6:42 PM on April 18, 2005


what ghs said.
posted by mwhybark at 9:21 PM on April 18, 2005


I have this vision of hundreds of workers slaving away at Mac computers, pounding the keys in drudgery under a giant television screen preaching conformity... Then along comes a woman in track shorts, glistening, carrying a great hammer, and she heaves it with a smash into the giant screen. On her shirt is written "COREL."
posted by Vallenwood at 11:22 PM on April 18, 2005


It's OK, tkchrist, we can get you into a shelter where Photoshop will never find you.

Oh. My. Paroxysms.
posted by weston at 12:58 AM on April 19, 2005


Time for Microsoft to develop its own Photoshop-killer software and dominate the market baby!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

Oh, man...that's funny...Microsoft actually creating a major new piece of consumer software, instead of just buying and re-branding! [snif /] wow, that's a good one.

What are they going to "develop" -- MS-Corel? Maybe they'll buy Fireworks from Macrodobe.
posted by lodurr at 2:56 AM on April 19, 2005


Lots of comments here about how much better off teh world would be without Macromedia. Though on reflection I'm not sure why, it does surprise me.

I think Flash is, in principle, pretty cool; there are some very obvious things that IMHO they should have done several years ago (like make a run time "browser" so people could develop standalone Flash applications). I would also agree that it's been ridiculously over-sold, and is misused far more often than it's well-used. That's why I realize it shouldn't surprise me.

I was about to make a positive comment on Dreamweaver, but I stopped myself, and realized that almost everything it does is now done by other, cheaper, better stuff. (Except on the Mac.) It was really Homesite that was my base tool for most of the time I've been working on the web, and there was nothing at all that was "Macromedia" in character about it.

It does seem clear to me, though, that if you work in certain fields, you're at a competetive disadvantage if you don't use Macromedia software. If you're a web designer, you'll be under pressure to do things you can only cost-effectively do with Flash. I have a sideline in taking sites from composite to templates; I wouldn't have the opportunity to get that business without using Dreamweaver, since they always want Dreamweaver templates as a deliverable.

So, this is big, whether we like it or not.
posted by lodurr at 3:08 AM on April 19, 2005


The mystery:
Lots of comments here about how much better off teh world would be without Macromedia. Though on reflection I'm not sure why.
The resolution:
Flash ... is misused far more often than it's well-used.
The web-user experience of Flash and Shockwave are counter to the expectations and usability standards that HTML has fostered. You can't bookmark within them. You can't search within them. Animation, their raison d'etre, typically detracts from focus and comprehension instead of enhancing them. And their presence reduces user control over the presentation of the web (no in-browser font control, no personal CSS, and no fine-grained personal proxy filtering for content or presentation).

The historical pattern has been that the presence of Macromedia content in web pages means a loss of control and usability in return for distraction. That's no bargain.
posted by NortonDC at 7:06 AM on April 19, 2005


Yeah, I much prefer to read text transcripts of animations.

If Flash never existed, there would be no levitated, presstube, and thousands of other amazing sites. The web is more than just blogs, thank god. As noted upthread, designers have been getting better and better at learning how and when to use the right technology for the job.
posted by gwint at 7:44 AM on April 19, 2005


proposal for new name of amalgamated company:

mmadobe

mmm'kay?
posted by Al_Truist at 2:12 PM on April 19, 2005


The only thing that I am concerned with is whether after the merge, will there be any technology innovation? After all, who holds share doesn't matter on my part, but it is really amazing if a totally-new product come into being!!

Yesterday, I've seen an article written by an anonymous writer. In this article, he pretends to be Bill Gates, and ridicules Adobe's CEO, for his inability to extend the influence of Photoshop, for his failure to establish online services. Unfortunately, this article is translated into Chinese, and i couldn't find its original English version.
posted by siliq at 5:36 PM on April 19, 2005


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