MXDJ on Adobe vs Macromedia

The April 2005 version of the MX Developer’s Journal ( 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.

More On Adobe vs Macromedia…

I’ve been reading quite a bit about the recently announced Adobe acqusition of Macromedia and, beyond all the speculation about the future of specific products, the one thing that’s starting to hit me hard is the disapearance of the Macromedia brand.

Many people speak of this as a merger but it is not a merger, it’s an acquisition of a smaller company by a bigger company and it has very different implications than a merger. When and if the deal goes through, the Macromedia brand will disappear for good and only Adobe will remain. One of the things I’m afraid of is that the company culture of Macromedia might disappear with the name and brand and to me this is very bad news. Few software vendors have instilled in me the kind of loyalty that Macromedia has and certainly no other companies of such a large size.     I not only love their products but they have an openness towards their customers that is unrivaled in the industry IMO. Almost all of their key employees have blogs and keep open channels of communication with the user community. There is no such openness at Adobe that I can see. What I hope is that some of a lot of Macromedia’s corporate culture seeps into the new Adobe…    

The second thing that bothers me about this acquisition is that Adobe is a company that so obviously does NOT "get" the Web. That’s probably why they are buying Macromedia who’s the undisputed leader in Web design and development tools as well as RIAs and online user experience with products such as Dreamweaver, Flash, Flex and ColdFusion. I know that Adobe is not stupid and we can only hope that they come to rely on the human resources expertise of the company they just bought to make decisions about future product development.     What I really hate is having to wait to see how things evolve without knowing if my main software tools will survive the process.

The Day After

I’m posting this both as a test as I’m trying to resolve some problems with my blogging software but also to post a link to a good summary of reactions and official statements about the pending Adobe-Macromedia merger announced yesterday. Jason Kottke has posted this summary and I wanted to link it here so that I can come back to it later.