Adobe aims at Microsoft

Adobe Systems's agreement last week to acquire Macromedia for approximately US$3.4 billion will give the company a formidable collection of Web publishing and document management software -- and will place it squarely in the path of tools rival Microsoft.

The deal marries Adobe's ubiquitous PDF and Acrobat Reader software with Macromedia's Flash products for creating media content. Adobe will also have a sizable portfolio of desktop software popular with creative professionals -- including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Macromedia's Freehand and Dreamweaver.

"I see this as both companies bulking up against Microsoft," said Steven Brazier, an analyst at Canalys.

The expanded Adobe could create a variety of rich media and Internet applications that use Flash, bumping into areas Microsoft has shown interest in, said Bola Rotibi, an analyst at Ovum. Although Flash is best known to Web surfers as a format for viewing animations, the technology is a powerful development platform, and Adobe said leveraging it will be a "key component" of its strategy for a combined company.

"When you think of where Microsoft is headed with the future of its Media Player and Media Center PCs, this goes head-to-head," Rotibi said.

Adobe also gains Macromedia's base of ColdFusion Web developers. RedMonk analyst James Governor predicted that dynamic forms that allow users to create, change, and share information online will be one of the first products of the marriage. Graphics automation is also in the cards. Both of these capabilities would fly in the face of Microsoft's plans.

"Adobe's ambition in this acquisition looks like a bit of a Longhorn-killer to me," Governor said.

Microsoft has been working on dynamic-form technologies and a graphics system called Avalon as part of its upcoming Longhorn OS. By moving into these areas, Adobe may be trying to cut the software giant off at the pass, analysts said.

Meanwhile, developers anxiously await decisions about what products will survive the merger. Company executives declined to comment on product plans until after the deal's completion, but Adobe and Macromedia have several products that compete head-to-head -- such as Dreamweaver and Adobe's GoLive, and Freehand and Illustrator.

During a conference call with company executives, analysts repeatedly raised the question of a possible antitrust investigation, but executives dismissed the possibility.

"There's a lot of competition. CorelDraw outsells both of us in Germany, and there are open source products like Killustrator [which changed its name to Kontour in 2001 to avoid an Adobe lawsuit]. We don't see it as an issue," Adobe CFO Murray Demo explained.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?