By Alex Walker

Adobe aquires Macromedia

By Alex Walker

Not it’s not a joke. Adobe and Macromedia will be one.

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.4 billion.”

How bizarre. It’s like your brother marrying your aunty — you may well be fond of both, but the thought of them ‘together‘ is sort of… oogey.

Can this be legal? I thought there were anti-competitive laws that stopped direct competitors aquiring each other.

Other than Quark in page layout applications, this would put one company in control of the entire design software market and their data formats:

Multimedia/Director, Image Editing/Photoshop, Web Vector Graphics/Flash, Vector Drawing/Illustrator & Freehand, Web Design/DreamWeaver,
Publishing/PDF etc.

This can’t be good.

And exactly what is the ‘the complementary functionality of PDF and Flash’? They’re both software?

I’m sure we’ll be hearing a little more about this before the end of the week.

  • toyer90

    Wow, I didn’t see that one coming! I can’t see how it’s going to help the design/web/etc fields though.

  • sgrosvenor

    This is phenomenal news, but has to be approved by government regulators and sharholders of both companies before the merger, so eagerly watch the blogs and newswires as more information comes out.

    What does this mean for diluted products such as GoLive and Freehand? In the short term, not a lot I’m sure, but if the merger comes off, then I’m sure there will be product trimming and alignment and they will go. The mainstays, Flash, Coldfusion, Flex, and Dreamweaver will hopefully continue to be developed, whilst the battle between ImageReady and Fireworks MX 2004 looks like a one horse race….

    But like I said, its early days, lets sit back and watch the story unfold

  • Buy some Adobe shares ;)

  • I’m pretty sure the anti-competitive laws exist to stop competitors merging to create a single company which has a monopoly on a marketplace. You still have Microsoft and others which compete in this space to some extent, so I reckon it will get up!

  • I thought this was some kind of bizarre joke when I first saw the headline, but apparently not.

    I reckon this will go one of two ways, either

    a) it will be hugely beneficial to the web producing community as it will allow for a nice, similar GUI between all of the major apps.


    b) The attempt to merge all of the apps fails miserably and they end up ruining all of the flagship titles.

    I like to see myself as a positive thinker, but realistically, I don’t hold out much hope for option a) coming true.

  • Hmmm…. Microsoft IE and Netscape to merge? Makes about as much sense as this one.

  • think this one will end up in the courts re: anti-competitiveness. surely this can onyl be bad for the webdev industry? agreed – having a single standard for apps would/is be great. but thats what we have the W3C for.

    having a single vendor will undoubtedly affect the speed of innovation we have seen from both macromedia and adobe with their web products in recent years.

  • I wish I could buy some Adobe shares because their going to be dominating the market. In the US aren’t monopolies illegal? I know Microsoft had issues with that.

  • I’d like to know what loophole in the anti-competitive law they are exploiting to go ahead with this merger/aquisition

  • I see more negatives here than positives. If it goes through, I can see prices going up and software development/improvement slowing down. Not good.

    I think it will probably go through though. They can argue that other companies are established in the industry (even though they don’t have the dominance) so it won’t actualy be a monopoly. Having said that though – I don’t really know what the law is in the US.

  • artemis

    That is a bombshell.

    I use Adobe for some things and Macromedia for others. I like having two options for some of my tasks. This could prove to be beneficial but I don’t want to take that risk. I like it the way it is.

  • Judi Sohn

    I’m still stunned, and I’m trying to look for the silver lining here and I’m not finding it. Anyone who thinks that Microsoft or Corel competes in the same space doesn’t use these tools to make a living.

  • [quote=charmedlover]
    In the US aren’t monopolies illegal? I know Microsoft had issues with that.
    and a great blow to microsoft it was, wasn’t it? they got completely ripped apart…aeh…hang on.

  • It does not really make a monopoly. In fact, this move makes sense because Microsoft is moving into the imaging arena fast. Check out document imaging on MS Office 2003. SQL Server reporting services is designed to be a PDF killer by stripping that layer out of reporting applications. And I was in Best Buy the other night and spied “Microsoft Image Maker.”

    So I suspect they will be able to clear the courts by pointing out that others are invading their space. Also remember the current FTC is very, very liberal about passing mergers.

  • Novick

    Hmm, I’m not sure about this one. Like Artemis, I also like having two options for a single task.
    On the other hand, tight integration?!

  • I use Adobe for some things and Macromedia for others. I like having two options for some of my tasks. This could prove to be beneficial but I don’t want to take that risk. I like it the way it is.

    You will always have the option to use the older versions wont you?

    If you look at the output that some people produce from Freehand 8 and Photoshop 6, why is anybody concerned about this merge? It could be great, it could be a stuff up.

    If the merge is a mess up, we can stick to PS 7/8 and Fireworks, Dreamweaver and Flash MX, or if it is successful, that what the worry… things advance…

    Seems like some people are thinking too “armaeddon’ish” about this. It’s not the end of the world, and can only benefit the web community, by either:
    a. Improve the software
    b. Force us to do things more manually and make use more 1337 at the end of the day ;) (which I dont see happening btw)

    They are both big players and I dont think they’d be dumb enough to stuff things up beyond repair for themselves.

  • mcjimbo

    I can’t believe it! This is a bad deal for developers. Personally I think it

  • vdixit

    I just can not accept this fact..i mean too me it looks as if i am still dreaming…how bad it could be though ?

  • Paul

    If you think the prices for their respective products is high now, JUST WAIT!! It’s a monopoly of sorts!

  • i’m disappointed really. as a designer for both print and web, i used both adobe and macromedia products. adobe software is far superior in the print market, but when it came to web, macromedia dominated. adobe tried to develop software that could compete with macromedia’s in the web arena, but failed miserably. i guess if you can’t beat them, buy them instead.

    i highly doubt that microsoft will have anything to offer by way of image editing and publishing. just look at publisher and you’ll see that it is a horrible page layout solution that works best for secretaries printing newsletters on their inkjet. of course, they have marketing geniuses over there that make them what they are, so who knows.

  • thorbergdt

    The way I see it two of my favorite and most used companies just merged :) This happens in the business world. Im just interested to see what the Web Developer Suite will cost a guy now!

  • I think this could be a good thing. Think of this this way. More than likely your not going to see a decline in the software, chances are this is going to give them abilities to make some of the best design software availible. In a lot of cases you would have to buy both software suites to get what you need. Now we will see it all in one package and hopfully saving us some money.

    On the other hand let’s hope adobe dosen’t take this chance to inflate the price of the software because, really, thier main competition is gone.

    This is very interesting news.

  • true, so then should price fixing be a legitimate concern?

  • PainBehindMyEye

    This is potentially very bad for developers. Designers that are Macromedia-based will also not benefit (people are usually a Freehand user or an Illustrator user, but rarely both). GoLive is terrible and makes me worry about Dreamweaver’s future. Fireworks MX 2004 is also considerably better than ImageReady CS. I work with Flash and Fireworks all day, I don’t use Photoshop unless I have to and I prefer Freehand to Illustrator (it’s a little more intuitive). Adobe is certainly better at handling type in their applications, but that just doesn’t seem to be enough of a benefit to me. And LiveMotion instead of Flash MX 2004 Professional? – I don’t think so.

    Let’s just hope they don’t botch this.
    Who remembers mTropolis? – nuff said.

  • stnick

    we’ve seen this before when adobe acquired jetforms, now unfortunately we have a very cumbersome designer which is very expensive and a backend processing server that has outpriced the vast majority of possible users.

  • laughalot

    In case you hadn’t noticed, Adobe just updated their suite of products. I can’t see them choosing to drop them in favour of the Macromedia equivalent.

    Just wait for DreamWeaver to get dumped in preference to GoLive.

  • Ghandi

    it seems now is the time for some skilled and talented developers to start work on possibly open source solutions. this whole thing could end up being a microsoft in the web/design sector and prices could rise dramatically, like the $300 for winxp pro.

  • mordie

    On the one hand, you gotta love the company that created Photoshop, Illustrator, and a program to kill the beast QuarkXPress for once and for all. But on the other, I LOVE Macromedia’s freshness and attitude, the way it came up because of its innovation and simply excellent products. Without the kind of competition we’ve benefitted from these past twenty years or so, I think we’ll be less off.

  • Kevin

    What will happen to Fireworks? I can see the Prices for Macromedia products going up! Will Dreamweaver and GoLive Merge as well? Oooohhh! :-(

  • Karve

    An interesting development. There is no argument that Photoshop is not as good as fireworks for web development but unfortunately I see fireworks dieing. Fireworks consistently wins with its focus on web designing. Photoshop is a great print tool and good web tool as well… however fireworks is a great web tool. Dreamweaver will live on as it has so much market share.

  • I don’t know that it’s really going to make a huge difference.

    I really don’t think Fireworks is any competition for Photoshop. I haven’t used Freehand since version 8 or so, but at the time it was nowhere near Illustrator.

    I think what we’ll see is Fireworks, and Freehand released as “budget” versions of Photoshop and Illustrator, and likely tighter Illustrator/Flash integration.

  • So long as the Adobe products are used for print, and Macromedia products are used for web, I dont see any problems.

    I wonder if the UI lawsuit between Adobe and Macromedia can be thrown out the window now? Maybe Flash can finally be made a little easier to use again.

  • benjibuls

    It’s not surprising really. They both have very different segments of the design pie. Both have suites of software that would compliment each other very well. The only segment in which they compete REALLY is WYSIWYG html editors.

    Over the years there have been exchanges of brainstrusts between the two companies at different times. One example is Apple’s Final Cut Pro. The core of that team originally worked on Adobe Premier 4 and then defected to Macromedia to work on a new video app (the embrio of FCP). Macromedia then decided that video wasn’t a core part of their business and it all shifted to being Apples baby (or there abouts).

  • Aawww gee!

    The best part about Macromedia is that we had an alternative to the bulky Adobe products. Will Adobe seriously utilize Macromedia’s software to make the web a better place? I doubt it. This was not good news in my opinion.

  • the.decoy

    Like Alex Walker said, this can’t be good.

    The big competition between both companies could only bring benefits to the users.
    Now, with Adobe’s main competitor out of the race, the prices may go up dramatically just like the quality of the softwares may go down.
    I really like Macromedia tools. I wouldn’t want them to vanish either.

  • Freehand would have to be in trouble. I think Fireworks will be safe for the short term. It’s developed a slightly different market to Photoshop, and most FW users seem to use PS too — I know I use Fireworks everyday, but it’s simply no good with files bigger than about 5M and it’s color selection and retouching tools are more primitive. I don’t need that stuff most days, but I do need it sometimes.

    The real issue I see is price. Macromedia know that if they doubled the price of Dreamweaver, GoLive might just get a foothold in that market. Likewise if Illustrator doubled it’s price, Freehand becomes a lot more attractive to a large sector of the vector market. That no longer becomes a factor.

  • “Adobe aquires Macromedia”

    I’m just happy it’s not the other way around.

  • Tim G

    Re: all the fretting about Adobe dropping Dreamweaver. I suggest you compare the market share of GoLive to Dreamweaver and give your head a shake. If either of those products are in trouble (which I doubt), it’s not Dreamweaver. Adobe knows their business better than that.

  • r0kawa

    I hope Adobe just open source all Macromedia Source Code . hehhehe..

  • Adi

    they do it because they can :) that’s the advantage when you have money and power.

  • Candyman

    Actually this rumor was floating around for quite a while… see this for example:

  • I like the potential for everything to be more standardized, I liked the having competition in the marketplace that drove innovation and the need to stay ahead. That need may no long exist between companies. So more of the responisibility falls to the designers/developers to demand innovation and choice.

  • devonmallory

    Interesting article (somewhat) in favor of the merger, for those who haven’t already read it!,1367,67275,00.html

  • Mapo

    The only thing I worry about is the interface changing for Flash, Dreamweaver, and Director. I like the Macromedia GUI for their programs, like the Flash GUI, etc but I also like the Adobe interfaces used in Illustrator and Photoshop. I’m used to them. I hope Flash particularly doesn’t get an Adobe like interface with new commands, new pull down menus, new names and otherwise, to keep it in harmony with other Adobe interfaces.

    All in all, I see this as nothing but confusion coming out of this for designers and developers who are used to using both sets of programs independantly. I think Adobe should ease the ride and SLOWLY fuse the program features over a couple of versions, instead of just throwing them all together in the next version. It’ll just be confusion that way.

    I wish I could vote on this. My vote would be a firm NO. If Adobe took a poll, I think the results would speak for themselves.

    When you read articles and books about the worst business moves ever by a company, I think this will be on the top of the lists. Adobe aquiring Macromedia and fusing the programs will just be ANOTHER one of those stories. This decision isn’t based on the community that uses the products. Totally devoid.

  • Bruce Tritton

    Difficualt to say what will happen.

    I hope and pray that Adobe will simply keep Macromedia’s software as is and develop it as is. Hope they will simply drop go live and image ready and replace it Mac’s products. But truth to tell how often do we see any company that aquires another leave well enough alone? hehe.

    But then too, Adobe produces the worlds finest Image manipulation software so any changes made are bound to be atleast solid in the back end.

    Some great comments here with points I had not considered.

  • poncho

    I see this as a good thing generally. Adobe have the best DTP software out there, and Macromedia have nailed the web applications, my only worry is the price of the inevitable “Adobe CSMX Studio”.

    It would be nice to see Illustrator and Flash integration, as well as Photoshop supporting PNG to a better extent.

    I’ve always used Illustrator/Photoshop on the Adobe site of things, and Dreamweaver/Flash on the Macromedia side, let’s hope that they keep the best features of each application and focus more on integration.

  • DId anybody remeber Aldus? the one company that make PageMaker? Well, somebody tell me a story about the people who created Freehand. They where by them selves in a little company named Altsys and Aldus buyed it. Then Adobe buyed Aldus and the Freehand developers went out. I think they used to work for Adobe before Altsys, then they where in Macromedia. I really want to hear what is going to happen with Freehand and his developers.
    By the way, I don’t think that this is good for the design industry.

  • Adobe DreamWeaver and Adobe Flash? WHOA

  • zan642

    Dreamweaver 3,PS7 and a text editor is all you need!

  • pcontour

    Adobe Reader – is bloatware. Are any of their other products any good. I finally got fed up with the stupid program opening so slowly inside my browser. My first plan Role back to version 5. Now I’m quite happy with Foxit PDF reader. I use it with firefox and have blinding speed access to PDF’s. So can a company with such a pathetic piece of bloatware be a good thing for the number 1 WebSite Design Product? Not in my opinion. Adobe: I won’t touch there products because the Reader is so bad. Dreamweaver is doomed.

  • Alex Barnette


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