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Adobe to Acquire Macromedia

Major announcement downplayed By Stephen Schleicher

Yesterday, Adobe announced that it would acquire Macromedia in a stock option trade valued at around $3.4 billion.  This subtle announcement may come as a shock to many users of the Macromedia products, and it will have a huge impact in the web development and content creation worlds.

To say this was a subtle announcement may be a bit of a misnomer.  Its kind of like saying that 8.5 earthquake you felt last week was nothing.  To make it even more interesting, Adobe didnt even mention this acquisition at Sunday nights NAB get together event.  Avid made a huge announcement when it announced it would acquire Pinnacle, so why would Adobe not make a bid deal of this acquisition?  Major implications for sure, uncertainty for the customer guaranteed.

In a written statement from Adobe, the quotes from CEOs hinted at the desire for more Flash integration between products.  This is all well and good, as LiveMotion went in the waste can a few years ago. It never had the functionality of ease of use that Studio MX and Flash MX have now.  With the continued success of Flash in media throughout the world, this is a great weapon in the Adobe arsenal.

Lets not forget the other major Macromedia applications Adobe now has access to.  Fireworks, while a nice application, always seemed a distant cousin to Adobe Photoshop.  While it may be continued for a while, I foresee in the long term that this product will wisely be put to sleep. With the release of Photoshop CS2, it is quite apparent that this will be the leading digital image manipulation program for years to come.

In the web development market, GoLive and Dreamweaver are the two major WYSIWYG builders, so the acquisition in this area is going to be quite interesting.  While they are both solid applications and are used quite heavily around the world, Adobe has to be thinking about their next move.  On option might be to scrap GoLive in favor of using Dreamweaver.  This would make sense as many reports I have seen indicate Dreamweaver is being used more in the industry.  Another option would be to keep both applications alive and double dip, so to speak.  Yet another solution would be to take the best of both applications and Frankenstein them together into an uber-WYSIWYG product.

With access to Flash, Adobe has the ability to direct which direction Flash Video will take, and how it will be authored in the future.  The Adobe Creative Suite at this moment does not have a video compression component for putting video on the web.  Could this be the first volley into an arena that is dominated by other stand alone compression applications?   And what of the mention of PDF and Flash together?  Flash certainly has the ability to generate small animation and video for inclusion in websites, but could we be seeing a future version of Acrobat that allows you to embed Flash animation into PDF documents?   This is an area everyone will certainly be watching closely.

For now, we can contemplate and speculate what will become of this merger, and the products that will result.  While the announcement may have been subtle, the impact certainly is not.

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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (www.digitalmedianet.com), where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at schleicher@mindspring.com

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