Wow… I really don’t know what to think of today’s announcement that Adobe has purchased Macromedia. While I rely heavily on products from both companies (Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Flash), I’ve always thought of Macromedia as the better “buyer.”
In fact, I’ve always secretly admired Macromedia’s rise to power in an otherwise Adobe-dominated realm. They carved a great niche — hell, they CREATED the multimedia Web experience today — that Adobe just wasn’t able to compete in. Until now, I guess.
And while Adobe has always claimed (with each new release) that all their products are streamlined to work together, it’s always felt rather kludgy compared to Macromedia’s tight application integration. Switching from Flash to Fireworks, for example, has always been easier than switching from LiveMotion (remember Adobe LiveMotion?) to ImageReady. (Not that I want the Flash interface changed to resemble Photoshop’s!)
In the past, Macromedia has managed to produce an amazing arsenal of tools by purchasing other companies and integrating their products into the existing Macromedia lineup: Aldus Freehand (abandoned by Adobe when Adobe bought Aldus years ago), Flash (nee FutureSplash) , RoboHelp, etc. Flash has gotten better with each release, and the company has never been accused of “bloatware.”
Compare the Macromedia Flash Player (still small, but faster and more powerful now than it’s ever been) with Acrobat Reader (amazingly large, annoyingly “nagware,” and painfully slow on anything but the latest machinery), and I kinda wanna cry.
In my opinion, Adobe has a history of buying some of my favorite software companies and simply letting them stagnate: They got Pagemaker from Aldus and Frame from Frame, and yet now they push InDesign (a layout program for which I have still not seen a good excuse). I used to love the easy-to-use sound editor Cool Edit Pro, but has anyone really seen it since Adobe purchased it and renamed it Audition?
And what happened to Streamline? It hasn’t been updated since version 4.0!
Don’t get me wrong: I like Adobe, and to be honest, Photoshop and Macromedia Flash are the only two products I tend to keep current. But man, I’m going to miss my choices…
R.I.P., Macromedia. You were one helluva company!