Adobe + Macromedia = PDF Boost

Opinion: While the big merger may seem at first blush to be about ending the competition between rival graphics applications, there's huge potential for PDF.

Adobe and Macromedia plan to merge. Thats an interesting notion, when one considers that very few pieces of software are more widely distributed than Adobe Reader. In acquiring Flash Player, Adobe now owns one of them.

That makes CEO Bruce Chizen—not, contrary to popular belief, Howard Stern—the would-be King of All Media.

At times over the years, the two companies have fought in heated rivalries. Who can forget the blood-and-guts Illustrator-versus-FreeHand battles for the designers dollar in the 1990s? For the most part, however, theyve co-existed peacefully.

The last bump in the road came mid-2003, when Flashpaper, an element of Macromedia Contribute 2, looked as though it might give PDF a challenge: While it was simple, Flashpaper seemed sleek, elegant and much less clunky than PDF for uploading documents to the Web.

A subset of Flash, the format never caught on in a huge way. Macromedia adopted an "if you cant beat em, join em" philosophy and provided a means to deploy PDF and Flashpaper together in subsequent versions of Contribute.

/zimages/5/28571.gifIs Adobe playing Microsoft or vice versa? Click here to read more.

Now that Macromedia and Adobe are under the same corporate roof, though, the fun begins for PDF. Youd think that the merger—which will take place this fall, if things go as planned—would be all about combining competing multimedia applications.

But knowing that Acrobat has become lead dog in the Adobe revenue kennel, it was no surprise that in the press release announcing the merger Chizen didnt mention applications such as Director, DreamWeaver, Premiere or GoLive, but instead spoke of the "complementary functionality of PDF and Flash."

Yeah, thats right. Its all about us. So how exactly does Adobe-Macromedia benefit PDF?

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