Some time in 2005 we first heard news of an acquisition bid by Adobe for Macromedia. Techies the World over were over-awed by the prospect and an awful lot of conjecture took place about what would happen. The merger occured, Moby Dick did indeed swallow the Little Mermaid and Macromedia disappeared in a swirl of dust, enveloped by the Mammoth that is Adobe. Yeah, excuse the over abundance of metaphors, I just can't help myself sometimes.
So, here we are in 2007, and the dust has settled. What is the outcome of this controversial merger? What happened to our favourite software packages? Is the future still looking bright? Are our new overlords amiable? In short, what gives?
Sorting out their product library took some time and considerable thought I would imagine. What should stay and what should go would have been on someone's high priority list for some time after the merger. But, I must say it's a surprisingly short list. What's missing? Let's take a look.
FreeHand left the building in mid 2006. This software had a cult following, especially with Mac users but with Adobe's Illustrator able to do most of the tasks, Macromedia's FreeHand came a poor second and lost the race.
GoLive left around the same time and had a similar competitor with Macromedia's Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is a hard act to follow but GoLive did just that, follow, and went from the endangered species list to the extinct list following FreeHand en route.
In March 2007 Adobe released the long awaited CS3 suite, it's first major release since the merger. We will be reviewing the Web Premium Suite in parts over the next couple of months but it was interesting to see some of the groupings. For instance, this Creative Suite has Dreamweaver CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, Fireworks CS3, Acrobat 8 Professional and Contribute CS3.
Interesting to see Fireworks still there and it's an upgrade. It's a weighty group with a lot of pull and a lot of integration that was lacking before. Photoshop and Illustrator direct to Dreamweaver and Flash? Yes! In my opinion the best of the bunch remains and is stronger and more flexible than before.
However, the market domination that Adobe envisaged by virtually eliminating their opposition may not be the smooth ride anticipated. Another giant has stepped up to the mark in direct competition to, amongst other things, Adobe's Creative Suite. Microsoft. The big "M" has sent rumbling through the Adobe halls with their plans to release "Expressive Studio" aimed at a different level of user than CS3. Microsoft are offering a free trial download of the Suite from their site. And, according to their blurb their Expression "Web", "Blend", "Design" and "Media" is a suite of tools for professional designers building web and Windows client applications and rich media content.
Adobe, apparently, is leading this expected to reach 3 Billion dollar marketplace but research shows that the Expressions team is made up of ex Adobe and Macromedia people. Enough said there I think.
Keeping them honest
So, Microsoft is going to keep Adobe honest. A little bit of competition is always a good thing for the consumer. I tip my hat to Bill Gates again for this one. And, yes, the dust has settled after the merger that created a storm in a teacup but how long the dust remains in place is still left to be seen.