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MXDJ on Adobe vs Macromedia

The April 2005 version of the MX Developer’s Journal (www.mxdj.com) was released yesterday and I just had a peek through it. About the entire first half of the issue was devoted to the recently announced acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe and I have two problems with that.

First. Until the acquisition is official and approved by all concerned parties, no one will know what this entails for the direction of the new augmented Adobe or the future of existing products from either companies. Any discussion on those issues is pure speculation at this point and as a MXDJ subscriber, I would expect the magazine to offer real content to its readers and not 22 pages of pure conjecture on a situation that is still up in the air.

I usually look forward to every new issue of the MXDJ because its content is usually informative, useful and practical. The first half of the April issue is none of that. The acquisition is very big news in our industry so I didn’t expect the MXDJ to completely ignore it but, until the transaction becomes official and actual announcements are made about the larger company’s direction or specific products’ future, a simple editorial would have been enough IMO. I didn’t appreciate having half the issue “wasted” on this topic but then again, this is somewhat a minor issue.

Secondly, and what is even more problematic for me is the tone and content of the actual articles. I had the distinct impression while I was reading them that I was being subjected to an exercise in spin because of all the comments beingso one sided and positive. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very optimistic person by nature and this acquisition might be the greatest news ever for existing Macromedia customers in the end, but we just don’t know enough yet to have an informed opinion and pass judgment on the transaction.

But that’s not the main thing. My point is that there are real issues of concern surrounding this transaction and MXDJ chose to gloss over any potential negative effects on existing customers of both companies but especially Macromedia customers. Without falling into wild speculations about the future of specific products myself, the main concern I have at this point is about the difference in corporate cultures between the two companies. Why should that be cause for worry? One of the most level headed and compelling comments I’ve read on the acquisition is this blog entry by John Gruber at Daring Fireball. Go read it, I’ll wait.

That blog entry really hit home for me. After the acquisition, Macromedia’s company culture is at best bound to be heavily diluted and at worst it might completely disappear. Adobe is the larger company here and the one doing the buying so its decision makers will certainly have more say in the direction of the post acquisition corporation and that worries me, no matter what positive spin the Macromedia community pundits try to put on the news.

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