Adobe acquires Macromedia

This morning’s big news is that Macromedia is being acquired by Adobe. Reading through the announcement, it is hard to say whether this will come to pass or not, as there are many monopoly issues surrounding this deal.

Side by Side

The biggest impact will probably be felt on the low end of the creative space. Here’s a rundown of the upcoming battles to come as a result of this acquisition (this is based on the product sheets on the Macromedia and the Adobe sites) and my predictions on who will win each:

Vector Graphics: Freehand vs. Illustrator

While Freehand got a nice following, I believe this one will end up with Illustrator winning, largely due to its installed base. Expect the Flash integration to come into future versions of Illustrator and the Freehand platform to be de-emphasized

Digital Imaging: Photoshop vs. Fireworks

Once again, advantage Adobe, largely due to the larger feature set and the widespread development community that has brought extensions to it. However, expect the optimize for web section of the program to improve as these will be worked on by the old Fireworks team.

Web Authoring: Dreamweaver vs. GoLive

Advantage Macromedia. While GoLive is a nice product, the Dreamweaver suite has a richer set of operations and is better integrated with other parts of the product suite (Flash, ColdFusion, etc…) and I believe one of the key reasons Adobe is acquiring Macromedia is to gain a strong foothold in the web space. Expect more integration of the Acrobat suite into Dreamweaver.

Fonts: Fontographer vs. the Adobe Type Library

Say goodbye to Fontographer, which just isn’t a player in that space, considering the lead Adobe has.

Web Publishing Systems: Macromedia suites vs. Acrobat server

Winner in this category will be the suite of products offered by Macromedia. I believe this sits at the core of the acquisition and that the Acrobat server suite will be merged into the Macromedia offerings.

XML handling: Flex vs. Framemaker

Initial advantage to Framemaker but short lived, as migration path moves it to Flex-based approach. Once again, web trumps legacy. However, one eventual victim of this is Director, which ends up being killed in the process (and I would note hold my breath for the RoboHelp, RoboDemo, and RoboInfo suites to survive for long either.)

Formats: PDF vs. Flash

Tie and win for both. I think both formats will evolve but both will survive this. Tying the two is obviously part of the strategy. What I suspect is that we will see an end-to-end product offering integration of the whole thing from paper to web and back


One could argue that the merger will create a monopoly situation in the creative space. However, I think this deal will pass in the US and Europe as it will be presented as Adobe+Macromedia vs. Microsoft, Apple, and others. A careful dissection shows that it’s not the case (as it will give the new company a substantial share of the creative market) and makes me think of an ad I saw for Adobe this weekend: the slogan for the new Adobe Creative Suite is “everything but the idea” and it looks like they are now indeed making good on the promise an offering creative types a marketplace where “everything from Adobe” is the only choice (and before you comment about other offerings, ask yourself, what is their market share vs. Adobe+Macromedia?)

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