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Adobe afraid MS would buy Macromedia first?

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 06:27 PM

A famed columnist named John Dvorak says Adobe bought Macromedia because it was afraid Microsoft would do it first. Here's the story:

Taken from:
Click here for the full story.

BERKELEY, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- In the classic 1966 Michelangelo Antonioni film, "Blow-Up," the protagonist is at a small rock concert where pandemonium breaks out as the lead guitarist throws his guitar into the audience -- putting it up for grabs.

A fight ensues. Somehow, the protagonist ends up with the guitar and scoots into the street chased by an angry mob -- all demanding the instrument. Soon he looks back and the mob is gone. He looks at the guitar then throws it into the trash.

This scene, to me, epitomizes Adobe Systems.

The only difference is that with Adobe, nobody else is actually after the guitar. Adobe only thinks they are.

Over the years Adobe has shown itself to be an aggressive, but paranoid software vendor.

Its paranoia stems from Microsoft. Adobe is constantly looking over its shoulder at Microsoft and what Microsoft might do. All this is because of a blindside announcement by Microsoft at the Seybold Desktop Publishing Conference in San Francisco on September 20, 1989 when it announced TrueType fonts and made Apple (a traditional Adobe partner) it's strategic partner to promote the new font standard.

Adobe co-founder John Warnock was at the podium next and was in tears over this unforeseen betrayal since Adobe, until then, owned this part of the business. From that point on Adobe, like the character in the movie, has been running from pursuers, imagined or otherwise.

This attitude accounts for the company's failure to do what almost every software company does routinely: milk the cash cow by coasting on the hit product. Photoshop epitomizes the never-coast philosophy. Year after year Adobe transforms the product as if some invisible competitor were breathing down its neck. Its changes are sometimes so radical that it risks losing business by fixing what is not broken. But, in fact, there is nobody to lose business to except its own older versions of the same program.

And apparently this paranoia permeates the corporate culture. A year or so ago the current Adobe CEO, Bruce Chizen, was quoted as saying, ""When I think about competitors, there's only one I really worry about. Microsoft is the competitor, and it's the one that keeps me up at night."

Oh really? Why? Microsoft has essentially failed at any attempt to encroach on the Adobe business. Even TrueType probably did no long term damage except to the relationship with Apple.

But kids, Microsoft lurks. Be-ware! Be-ware!

OK, so with this dingbat bogeyman-fear mindset Adobe grabs Macromedia in a big $3.4 billion dollar deal this week. There is no real evidence that mean old Microsoft was thinking about Macromedia, but there has been a lot of chatter about Microsoft getting more serious about the online content development game.

And Macromedia is the home of the preferred web development platform, Dreamweaver. Also the company has single-handedly popularized (for good or evil, you choose) Flash! Flash is the software that powers those annoying web animations.

So, mostly out of fear, Adobe buys its main competitor and now must shoehorn the company into its unfortunate not-invented-here corporate culture. (This aspect of Adobe is another story in itself.)

The market saw the problem here and immediately dropped Adobe shares. I generally dislike mergers such as this, since buying the competition usually results in the buyer stagnating without competition. This won't be the case with Adobe since it shows no signs of resting as it continues to imagine Microsoft is chasing it.

But easily absorbing Macromedia is another story, especially since a lot of ill-will was generated by a lawsuit between them a few years ago.

It's assumed that Adobe will redesign the interfaces of key Macromedia products to match its own and then discard most of the rest of Macromedia, much like the guitar in "Blow-Up."

Was it worth $3.4 billion? I doubt it.

#2 Neupix


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Posted 21 April 2005 - 07:22 PM

Although I highly respect Dvorak's opinions, in this case I think he is wrong.

By aquiring flash, Adobe is only adding on top of its existing multimedia distribution platforms. PDF and Flash are both the next generation in internet multimedia. By owning and controlling both of these technologies, Adobe can become a powerhouse much like Microsoft once a large enough portion of individuals get broadband connections, and once internet2 is released.

I am a strong supporter of Adobe and I love the creative suite. I also use Macromedia products extensively, and I can't wait until Adobe releases a package containing Flash! I only hope they build upon Dreamweaver and get rid of GoLive, as Dreamweaver is far more superior when it comes to web development.
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#3 iDesigner


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Posted 28 May 2005 - 09:53 PM

Dvorak is a hack. Can't stand him.

He is an MS lapdog.

#4 Freakz


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Posted 01 July 2005 - 07:07 AM

I just hope they keep Fireworks

#5 iDesigner


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Posted 01 July 2005 - 01:38 PM

I wish. They may incorporate our beloved features in Photoshop but as for Fireworks, it's on the chopping block in favor of the flagship Photoshop.

Dreamweaver will incorporate the menu system of GoLive probably and they will meld. There was a provision that Macromedia had to stay away from any menu designs of Adobe, now this is no longer a worry.

Freehand. Pfft. Illustrator baby.

PDF will be integrated.

Did I mis anything?
Oh right, Flash, the reason they bought Macromedia to begin with... and captivate... this is going to be good.

#6 psyris


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Posted 30 August 2005 - 09:14 AM

as long as they dont mess around with flash to much, it should be ok i guess, i do prefer dreamweaver over golive, and yeah photoshop does bet photoshop, interesting times ahead
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#7 PDL



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Posted 31 August 2005 - 11:15 AM

The mentioned article also fail to notice that Microsoft is in fact taking another crack at making a photoshop type application. Can't remember the name or the article where i read it, i for one think it was a brilliant strategic move.

#8 dbantner


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Posted 25 September 2005 - 05:19 PM

The program is called Acrylic. It's ok, but it's no Photoshop or Gimp.

#9 MIHAI1984


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Posted 26 September 2005 - 06:05 AM

I dont think that Adobe buys Macromedia is such a good idea. Did you ever see Adobe's flash aplication? I think not. And thats because it sucked big time. Flash is more complex than every other flash making aplication out there (even more complex than Swish). If Adobe starts playing with it i dont know where we'll end. Specially when Flash Player is the most common aplication for playing Flash content.
As for the other products that Adobe have i have the outmost respect.
Just stick to the graphic part and dont go into the Flash sector.

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