Adobe and Macromedia

Dav's picture

Adobe + Macromedia

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

robsayshowdy's picture

Wow. Rivals unite to control the market. Crazy.

Eric_West's picture


Maybe now flash won't be flaky crap.


dan's picture

The loss of competition is never a good thing. I don't think this merger is going to help consumers. Its like the Yankees aquiring the Red Sox.

johnbutler's picture

Heh. This means that Adobe is about to become a licensee of Bitstream's font technology. The mind boggles.

Diner's picture

Font Studio 6.0? FOG 8.0 MX? Any plans Mr. Phinney?


robsayshowdy's picture

I ponder the future of Fontographer?

.00's picture

Adobe has long owned the code of the wonderful old FontStudio, and never did anything with it. I doubt Fontographer will be any different.

aluminum's picture

Adobe + Macromedia + eHelp = the new monopoly!

I hope this gives the open source community and/or corel (and the like) a chance to come to the front as competitors.

porky's picture

Yankees and Redsox? Surely its like Coke buying Pepsi? I thought that the free market was meant to encourange cometition, or is that just a lie to shut consumers up?

Si_Daniels's picture


I like it - The free market - a dirty ball of ice and rock hurling through space looking for an unsuspecting planet to crash into.


porky's picture

A dirty ball of ice hurtling towards my face may be of more help to encourage me to check what I type before clicking buttons on webpages :-)

roballoo's picture

Adobe kept Pagemaker around for many years before retiring it. I wonder if that will be the same for Freehand and Fireworks?

Is there now actually hope for a Fontographer revival?

Chris Rugen's picture

So, anybody here want to join forces and become the #3 design technology company in the world? I figure Adobe will take care of Quark for us, then we can hit the #2 spot. Our stock will soar!

Creative Suite 3 is going to be a monster...I can see the ad now:

"Adobe's New Creative Suite 3! I mean, seriously, what else were you going to get?"

I sincerely hope this doesn't become as bad as it could.

James Gareth's picture

This is bad news. Less choice for creative professionals. One step closer to the Orwellian nightmare.

jupiterboy's picture

Anyone think Mac will start to compete here?

edwh's picture

It could be pretty cool tho, some similar programs like Fireworks and Adobe ImageReady could be consolidated, who needs both them?! wasted manpower I say!! haha <: / ... hope eventually they will improve Fontographer too...

From this article it seems they will keep the Macromedia software brand *yippie!!*,10801,101157,00.html

"The Macromedia name will live on as a software brand, but the merged company would be called Adobe Systems ..."

It should be good ... (I hope ... whimper)

dan_reynolds's picture

I don't see how this will lead to a new version of Fontographer. As far as I know, Adobe's type staff designs with FontLab. And Adobe could have always made a font editor if they had wanted too

Forrest L Norvell's picture

Well, think of it this way: now one company can sit on font design software instead of two. At least FontLab is still free from being stored in the warehouse next to the Ark of the Covenant.

How many times has Adobe ended up owning Freehand now? Two? Three?

It would be nice if Adobe got the Macromedia product teams to pay the same attention to detail to their code that they do to their own. Dreamweaver is a sluggish, kludgy mess on the Mac, and the last time I tried to use Freehand, I gave up in disgust after like 5 minutes. (I remember when Freehand was much easier and more fun to use than Illustrator, but I guess that predates Macromedia's acquisition of it by a while. 4.x was the last version I really liked.)

And both companies are a pain when it comes to the cycle of annual, painfully expensive product upgrades. At least Adobe writes reasonably speedy, usable software; maybe that will rub off on Macromedia. I wonder how much of the acquisition was just so Adobe could get their hands on Flash, though... interactive SVG never took off the way they wanted it to.

James Gareth's picture

Orwellian nightmares aside, whom of you use FreeHand?

I have both Illustrator CS and an older version of Freehand. I prefer Freehand for most tasks.

thelring's picture

Sad. But what can you do.

Fontographer? hehehe.......

Adobe is focusing more on the web. I'm sure there will be some new product combining:dreamweaver, flash,Acrobat (no wonder there's no new version with CS2).

More news(and hints):

Technology Will Enhance Digital Workflow for Adobe Video Collection

(SAN JOSE, Calif. - April 17, 2005) Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced that an agreement to license, develop and distribute the rotoscoping technologies of Curious Software. Adobe intends to use the licensed technology to expand the professional capabilities of its product line by integrating it into future Adobe software.

"As a leader in the professional photography and video markets with products like Adobe

Dav's picture

> '..Orwellian nightmares aside, whom of you use FreeHand.?'

I do, and, I am ( still ) loving it..

Diner's picture

For better or worse, this reminds me of a great story I read recently:

Stuart :D

thelring's picture

"Anyone think Mac will start to compete here?"


Eric_West's picture

"Orwellian nightmares..."

It is graphics software..Grasp on reality. It's only for the better. So its bad that Flash etc.. will actually get a sensible interface?

If mac didn't exist, the PC market would be the same. 1 o.s. ( sub-standard) but 1 nonetheless.

Adobe will eventually run out of the toys they keep cramming into new versions of their software.


John Hudson's picture

Regarding Fontographer: it is very unlikely indeed that Adobe's purchase of Macromedia will lead to a new version of Fontographer. It is much more likely that the produce will be retired completely, and will simply no longer be available.

The history of Fontographer and FontLab has shown very clearly that for a large software company like Macromedia or Adobe a font tool is simply not worth development investment. The potential market is simply too small to interest them. Font tools need to be developed by small companies seeking a niche market, and FontLab has demonstrated that this approach can be very successful.

I suggested some years ago that Macromedia should simply give the Fontographer code, including the aborted 5.0 version, to Jim Gallagher. He has spent a good portion of his life nursing this code and providing tech support to Fontographer users, so if there is any future to Fontographer it seems to me that he deserves to guide it and to benefit from it, if possible. Perhaps Adobe might consider this. They have been generously supportive of the makers of FontLab, DTL FontMaster, etc., with their OpenType SDK code, so clearly encourage competition in the font tools business. Giving Fontographer to Jim for a dollar, and letting him do whatever he wants with it -- which might include open sourcing it, I suppose -- seems to me the best thing that could be done with this product. Otherwise, it might as well be withdrawn from the market, because it is never going to be updated by Adobe or any other large software company.

John Hudson's picture

So its bad that Flash etc.. will actually get a sensible interface?

Or that the Flash format might be merged with SVG, an open format?

James Gareth's picture

Eric West wrote:
It is graphics software..Grasp on reality. It's only for the better

I didn't say we're in the midst of an Orwellian Nightmare, simply one step closer to it. The consolidation in the graphics software market isn't unique. Mergers are happening in every sector of the economy. Less competition is scary and not for the better. This is just another example of it, albeit a bit more exaggerated because Macromedia was realistically Adobe's only competition.

aluminum's picture

"Or that the Flash format might be merged with SVG, an open format?"

That's being optimistic. My guess is that SVG will just be dropped by Adobe altogether and yet another standard thrown out the window. ;o)

Adobe clearly bought Macromedia for Flash (and maybe eHelp). Even Macromedia was falling behind with their apps. I love freehand, but the last two releases were feature bloated buggy POS releases. DW is getting along in years. FW never really blossomed fully (great app, but still needed a lot of polish.)

Just a hunch, but I'm guessing they'll jetison Freehand and Fireworks, keep Flash and maybe Dreamweaver, and sell of cold fusion.

Definitely bad news for the graphic design industry, though.

In regards to apple, they are already competing with Adobe with things like Final Cut Pro.

Coincidently, the other winner may be open source...with renewed interest/support in some of the apps out there. I coincidently wrote about that last week:

thelring's picture

"In regards to apple, they are already competing with Adobe with things like Final Cut Pro."

You're right.

Here we go........

(NAB, LAS VEGAS-April 17, 2005) Apple

billtroop's picture

I like the suggestion that Adobe might give the Fog code to Jim Gallagher. Poor fellow! He's spent years lobbying Macromedia without success, and now he has to start over with a new set of corporate goons. But as for Adobe _giving_ away anything away? Je crois que non.

Otherwise I think it's very bad news. Competition is the only thing that makes products good. Apple has proved this again and again: how it is possible to do things that really do make it worthwhile to pay twice as much for a computer. For those who can afford it, it's a very nice situation. Photoshop has been in strong need of competition for years, and it is striking that nobody seems to be able to get in there and do it. Illustrator is now even more likely to stagflate, I fear, having taken its best recent ideas, now 8 or so years old, from LightningDraw GX. What a pity that Corel couldn't do a better job. Or Macromedia, for that matter.

I find it interesting that Quark 6.5 now has considerable Photoshop-like functionality, and this is only bound to increase. One can see clearly that the competition from InDesign has strongly benfitted Quark. Remember the dizzy days when Quark nearly took over Adobe?

antiuser's picture

I don't think Adobe and Macromedia were really competitors... from my point of view, Macromedia's playing field was mainly design/development tools for the web, whereas Adobe never made a serious effort in that direction. I mean, LiveMotion? PageMill? GoLive?

I hope they integrate SVG into Flash and make the Flash interface not suck (now that the GUI lawsuit will be tossed) and maybe add Fireworks' good bits to ImageReady and Photoshop's web export.

porky's picture

"Orwellian nightmares aside, whom of you use FreeHand?"

I do.

saman's picture

I hope Microsoft will step in to the market to avoid a monopoly situation...

designalchemy's picture

Fontographer is dead. It is not profitable enough to be revamped. It is my understanding that the only reason
there is Fontlab, is because it is coded in the eastern block
where labor is less expensive than Europe or US.
As for Adobe/Macromedia merging-
I do not think this is a necessarely bad thing. There will be a learning curve for some print designers/illustators when
either Illustrator or Freehand get axed and a single vector
program (e)merges as the standard.

edwh's picture

Good article about Adobe's CEO Bruce Chizen
(About his history, PDF and the Microsoft treat)

Interview with da man at PCMag
(Talks about Linux, Apple ... why certain products are not available on the Mac etc)

... enlightening ...

Forrest L Norvell's picture

It's striking that so much of the reaction I've seen in the press is about the business end of the deal, and almost none of it is how the users of the software, in particular creators, are affected by it. The same weird sense of disconnect haunts me when I read the interview with the CEO in PC Magazine. The SF Chronicle was talking about how the combined Acromedia can shove more "interactive content" (read: "ads") at "consumers" (read: "poor suckers", namely us) with the Flash / Acrobat juggernaut. In businesslandia, this seems to be seen as a win, rather than a horrible lose / lose situation for all of us.

Am I being needlessly gloomy? Are all of us here? Am I unreasonable for being disappointed by a situation in which I can pay $500 a year for the kinds of improvements that used to be given away for free in incremental updates, now that the tools I use are mature platforms, and I have no viable alternatives to choose from if I grow discontented with what I've got? I use Adobe CS because I think Adobe's tools are the best out there for what they do, but still, as CS becomes more like Microsoft Office for Designers, it would be nice if there was more competition to push things forward.

Nick Shinn's picture

>Am I being needlessly gloomy?

Does the end justify the means?

Hildebrant's picture

"It is graphics software..Grasp on reality. It's only for the better. So its bad that Flash etc.. will actually get a sensible interface?"

My thoughts exactly.

Grant Hutchinson's picture

To quote my friend Matt Haughey :

Hildebrant's picture

Grant --

That could be the funniest thing I've heard all night.

dberlow's picture

I think this is the best thing that could have happened for type design. I think Adobe is one of the finest examples of developers in the world with all their products being perfect. I think Macromedia is completely perfect and this forum is the best in the world.

(See if this makes it past the censors and if so, I'll post again. If not See Ya! )

dezcom's picture

I am fond of both Adobe and Macromedia and thankful to them for giving designers tools to work with. My only concern is loss of competition. Competition breeds innovation and helps keep prices in check. I would hate to see Adobe going down the Microsoft road and releasing bloated and buggy software without a concern--knowing they have no competition.

twardoch's picture

I think everybody in this thread is missing one point: Adobe + Macromedia is likely to become an *actual* competitor for Microsoft. In a sense, the Adobe + Macromedia deal impedes competition, but on the other hand, it encourages it since Microsoft will need to compete with a larger and more powerful company now.


Nick Shinn's picture

>Macromedia is one of those rare tech companies that actually gets design. (Adobe is also a tech company and they understand design.)

Joe, you are focusing on the companies, and imagining what may happen to specific product. But the real issue here is a general ethical one, which is whether the means justify the end. If the end is "good software", is it OK to pursue that end by means of a monopoly?

No, because that amount of power corrupts. It's not that the people in the companies "know they have no competition" and deliberately produce sloppy product. It just happens when all the power is concentrated in one place.

If the market, in the form of competition, or government, in the form of the Securities Commission (or whatever) is not going to keep the system in balance, that's a problem.

it doesn't matter how brilliant or well intentioned people are, or what wonders they have achieved in the past, they go bad if they acquire too much power. Sorry to get preachy, but this is a basic of human nature which every age, blinded by its own brilliance, is apt to forget.

aluminum's picture

"It's striking that so much of the reaction I've seen in the press is about the business end of the deal, and almost none of it is how the users"

It is? Seems par for the course. Business mergers these days really have nothing to do with the consumer's welfare.

"Adobe will redesign the Flash and Dreamweaver interfaces.
Mmm, buttery cohesion at last. "

There's a lot of hype about this...'finally...they'll all have the same interface!' but I'm afraid that's a selling point that really only applies to the print designer who rarely ventures outside of Illustrator and Photoshop.

Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash...these are all fairly distinct software applications that do completely different things. I'm all for bringing consistency where it's needed, but at the same time, an interface needs to match the task at hand.

"they could potentially stop
developing the Flash plugin for Macs. (Now that would suck for
Mac and would inevitably weaken Flash.) "

As a Mac user, I'd say that'd be a great feature. ;o)

I've been using Firefox's Flashblock extension for a few weeks now and the internet seems suddnely peaceful. Almost serene.

Yea, I can't visit a single graphic designer's portfolio site anymore, but I can live with that. ;)

" If
they let the Macromedia Flash team continue moving it forward
it will continue to compete head-on with Ajax as a rich internet
application platform, accessible to everyone. "

They've been saying that for a few years now. I certainly think it has potential, but nothign much has come of it. In fact, Ajax has taken off and suprpassed Flash as a thin client interface at lightning speeds.

"Will Adobe understand that Flash for Mobile has some seriously
great potential as a tool that many designers/developers already
know how to use?"

Gah! No! Call my cynical, but I just want a phone that makes phone calls. Period. Don't need tiger woods golf, don't need IM, don't need a camer...I JUST WANT TO MAKE A PHONE CALL!

*sigh* ;o)

"I think everybody in this thread is missing one point: Adobe + Macromedia is likely to become an *actual* competitor for Microsoft."

I really don't see MS competing in the same market as Adobe nor Macromedia at all.

The main competition will be Corel and Open source, IMHO.

Chris Rugen's picture

"I find it interesting that Quark 6.5 now has considerable Photoshop-like functionality..."

Yeah, and it's terrible. I was running it at work (before I left) and even on newer G4s, it was laggy/slow for a large, multi-layered image. It saved me no time over Photoshop, and forced me to watch my monitor as the computer churned.


From what I gather, some of this consolidation will help combat against Microsoft's Avalon, which is a direct shot at Flash, along with other OSes. Though, I've also heard that Avalon is facing a 'decoupling' from Longhorn to get the product out before the Sun goes cold, so who knows?

I'm sure that MS hates Adobe's PDF/PS technology being used by so many of its users, so they're probably examining a way to unseat that aspect, too. Apple, on the other hand, seems to have embraced it. I'm curious how that'll play out for them.

Si_Daniels's picture

>I'm sure that MS hates Adobe's PDF/PS technology being used by so many of its users, so they're probably examining a way to unseat that aspect, too.

Didn't you hear the Font Wars are over ;-). I'm sure there are a few people at MS (and elsewhere) who cringe when they have to sit through the fifteen second Adobe advertisement every time they want to view a PDF, but there are no shortage of PDF's posted on so they can't hate it that much.

PostScript font support has been built into the OS since Windows 2000. LH (and Avalon) will support OpenType CFF fonts as well as TT flavor OpenType and old TTFs. We

aluminum's picture

"Darrel, in some ways your perception of Flash as a gimmick, a toy, is based on how people have used it and not for what it is
capable of."

Absolutely no argument there, Joe. I completely agree, as a technology, is has all sorts of uses.

BUT...and a big but...the reality is that it's never taken off beyond a bell-and-whistle thing for 99% of the web. Much to MM's dismay, I'm sure.

The business pundits are saying this merger is mainly about Flash, but few pundits have really pointed out that Flash really isn't all it was originally supposed to be. Remember when Adobe had grand illustions that the entire internet would be PDF based someday? I think they realized that (thankfully) never happened and are now latching on to Flash hoping for the same...though they're a few years to late.

"On mobile devices it has the potential to become
the UI for a mobile OS, not merely so you can 'make stuff move'."

Well, again, you are absolutely right. But the reality is that Flash was exactly that for the desktop world, yet it never became so.

And, again, I think the mobile industry is becoming increatingly gloated with a perception that people actually want all of this. Some do, of course, but the 'mobile' web has been around for years and still isn't the huge thing everyone had hoped it'd be.

"And you can keep just making phone calls. Ten years ago people
said, 'why would I want to carry a phone around with me?'"

With each phone upgrade over the past decade, making a simple phone call has become increasingly more difficult. Handheld interface design is perhaps the best example of crappy interface design out there today. ;o)

As for Avalon, it's a feature for feature's sake. MS has the money to market anything without any worries. If it sticks...Great. If not, well, at least they made the competition chase and waste money on a silly non-feature ;o)

"They want to control the platform that now defines media on the web, and if it works out like they think"

I agree. Their mistake is thinking that that is, in fact, Flash.

Again, I'm not bashing Flash...I used it like anyone in the heydays of the web and still find it very useful for certain design, but it just never took off as that thin-client that everyone had hoped for, and, in the interim, DHTML (namely with Ajax) has seemed to be embraced in record time.

aluminum's picture

"DHTML? In record time? Are you kidding me? How long has DHTML been around now? That's four question marks in a row, and yet, I feel compelled to write more."

DHTML, but more specicially, Ajax...which is getting lots of use in a manner of months (the technology has been there for a while, but the buzz is fairly new) and are perhaps good examples of something that normally would have been done in flash, but is now being done entirely with DHTML.

Grant Hutchinson's picture

Need another chuckle? John Gruber deconstructs the Macrodobedia spin:

Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected Portions of

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