Adobe Buys Macromedia: Analysis

I was shocked this morning by the news. I’m a complete outsider to both companies, but I have been using and following Macromedia products for 11 years now. So I can’t help but speculate what this will mean.
Just about every year, a rumor circulates that Microsoft or some other company is buying Macromedia. During the go-go late 90s, these rumors even made the stock jump once or twice. I believe that some of these rumors may have even been started for such a purpose by investors looking to sell.
So “X buys Macromedia” rumors are sort of like tabloid news stories. Nobody who follows Macromedia really believes them.
But this is the real thing. There has probably been high-level negotiations for a while. So it is ironic that when it was for real, there were no rumors at all.
First thing that I see happening, is that Macromedia, as a name, is gone. Everything will become “Adobe.” So this is the end of an era. We can begin to write histories of Macromedia, from beginning to end. I’m sure even the Macromedia offices in San Francisco will close and the employees will move down to Adobe’s building in San Jose.
Second thing that wall happen is there will be a product-by-product elimination. The products that are the most obvious competitors are Illustrator and Freehand. The war there is over. I’m sure the next version of Illustrator will somehow incorporate some features of Freehand so that all the Freehand users migrate over. Then Freehand will be dead.
The next area of interest would the universal document format. Adobe has the ubiquitous PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format and Macromedia has the SWF (Macromedia Flash) format. PDF is very strong for print and static documents, which SWF is much more interactive. Each is so strong now that it is doubtful that anything will happen right away. There will probably be a cross-pollination of features and then even SWF-in-PDF and PDF-in-SWF. But in the long run, there will probably be one format that encompasses both. Or, perhaps Adobe will have SWF focus on Web-based delivery and PDF on print. It is sort of that way now, with either one stretching into the other’s territory.
Server products, like Cold Fusion, will probably not change much. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t last long. Adobe hasn’t shown much interest in products like Cold Fusion. And PHP/MySQL is really dominating and hard to compete with.
Looking at other products, like Director, it is hard to say what will happen. Adobe’s front page reads: “The combination of Adobe and Macromedia strengthens our mission of helping people and organizations communicate better.” How do products like Director fit in there? But then, I don’t expect one sentence to sum up Adobe’s whole true mission.
One question that begs to be asked at this point is WHY? Why did Macromedia sell itself to Adobe for only stock? It appears that Macromedia has been profitable for a while. They definitely have market and mindshare with Flash and it’s related products. So was this simply a cash-out for the major stockholders? Why this deal? Why now?

Posted on April 18, 2005 at 8:32 am by site admin · Permalink
In: General

8 Responses

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  1. Written by Greg
    on 4/18/2005 at 10:54 am

    Ya, crazy news. Didn’t Adobe sue MacroMedia not long ago (2001-ish) for copyright infringement on the colour picker design and functionality?

    Like many people here, my job focus’ on Director development. I certainly hope this isn’t the end of Director.

    As for some other app for app match-ups…
    Go-Live vs DreamWeaver (DreamWeaver likely to stay)
    Live Motion vs Flash (Flash will stay)

  2. Written by Fraser Campbell
    on 4/18/2005 at 12:50 pm

    although it is obviously far too early to speculate about such things (but, hey, when did that ever stop us) this could be a great boon to Director. Firstly, Adobe has 3d experience with Atmosphere – although it didn’t really make great grounds this may help Director’s own 3d offerings. Secondly, with Director’s DVD capabilities this could tie in with Adobe’s own DVD’s offerings. All very interesting.

  3. Written by hoyin
    on 4/18/2005 at 9:17 pm

    people on the top may not think as a developer. what adobe interested is only flash. so if the price is good enough. they will sell off director to somebody. both adobe and macromedia is just a company to sell software. if updating a product like director is not profitable. they won’t do that. i think don’t expect too much on adobe if mm does not take care director quite well.

  4. Written by JAC
    on 4/19/2005 at 10:21 am

    …From the glass-half-empty side of things: Most analyses so far seem to think Adobe will either like Director and continue to develop it in some fashion, or that Adobe is only interested in Flash and will sell Director off. However, there’s always also the possibility that they just hang onto the rights and don’t do anything with it at all. Adobe just acquired Flash. Why would they want to sell Director, giving another company the opportunity to develop applications very similar to what Flash already does?

  5. Written by Vincent
    on 5/13/2005 at 2:29 pm

    I hope Director stays around. 3D on the web has to happen somehow and I feel that Director can offer this better than Flash. I’ve been learning Director a lot in school and hope that I can find some sort of job for myself with these skills.

  6. Written by Mauricio Fernandez Rosiñol
    on 6/4/2005 at 4:10 pm

    I hope to see the MAXIMUS for Graphics Software, not killing Illustrator or Freehand, but merging both. Freehand has strong weapons against the Illustrator and vice-versa. I use both softwares Adobe’s and Macromedia’s for my work, I combine perfectly the Photoshop with Freehand (cause the versatility of managing files) and sometimes Illustrator, which is some short in liberty on formats of work, but has great tools. So don’t see this like a destruction from the ideas of a company but an evolution of two species to something superior. Well I know this guys will bee smart enough to think like this, and not loosing any followers.

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