Macrobe

If you have ever worked in anything design oriented or authored client-side content for the web, you have no doubt used Adobe or Macromedia products. As one such user, the news of the Macromedia acquisition came as a surprise to me, an unwanted surprise. This new entity now has a virtual monopoly for the kinds of tools it creates (the only competitors to any of their offerings that I can think of are Quark and Final Cut). Competition is now gone.

We Make Internet Web PagesMacromedia: We Make Internet Web Pages

It’s really late and I’m tired, so this is probably a jumble of random misdirected thoughts.

There are potential positives that I can see come out of this. Better Flash+Illustrator integration (for years the bane of my Flash existance). Possible cross-company bundles — I’d so get a Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash bundle. Adobe giving up SVG for good. Perhaps Macromedia will dump Flex and Flashpaper (we can wish). And, best of all, Flash can now dump its retarded interface and go with something more Adobe-palette like now that Adobe won’t be suing them for doing just that.

Other than those possibilites, I can’t think of anything good coming out of this. Yet another loss for the consumer.

Now, it’s no secret that Adobe has long wanted to get into the Flash market. It tried to push SVG, and failed. It created its own swf authoring tool, and failed. So now it just outright bought the market. Victory. Flash was the main reason for this deal, everything else was secondary.

Many pundits say the deal is necessary so that both companies can better compete against the likes of Microsoft. But what is it that they are to compete against? Microsoft, outside of the Office Suite, is not an authoring software company. They make the OSes, the APIs, the formats, the platforms on which everything else runs… but they leave the content creation to other companies, like Adobe or Macromedia.

It is Avalon that they are worried about. It has the potential to be to Flash what a bundled Internet Explorer was to Netscape. This would obviously worry Macromedia, but Adobe? Avalon is, basically, just a renderer. Anyone could write authoring tools for it (some already have), even Adobe. Hell, Adobe could just release a new version of LiveMotion specifically designed for Avalon output.

They could use Avalon to get into the vector-animation/rendering field that they’ve wanted to for years, but instead they opted to get Flash. Curious. Either their faith in swf is strong or they really dislike Avalon. I’m not sure which. But with their large investment into Macromedia, I’m wondering whether Adobe would ever author for Avalon, save for some exporters here and there. With flash and their SVG tools and PDF, I have a hard time believing that they will. I imagine we’ll see how this will turn out within two years time.

(Note: I don’t like Avalon much either, and despite being considerably slower and weaker, at least Flash has the multi-platform thing going for it.)

Press release. Mark Chamber’s on the deal. Adobe Buys Macromedia, Two Platform Strategy. Adobe to buy Macromedia.

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