Macromedia Tools Outlook Mixed

With Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia, many products on both sides will change, stagnate or be dropped altogether.

For a few years now, the main competitors of most products in Adobe Systems Inc.s Adobe Creative Suite have been similar products from Macromedia Inc. But with Adobes acquisition of Macromedia, many of the products on both sides will change, stagnate or be dropped altogether.

The acquisition itself wont be finalized until close to the end of this year, so the effects will take some time to emerge. In fact, well likely see new releases of many products from Adobe and Macromedia before the acquisition is completed.

The companies that rely on these products, however, should start preparing for the future. Although its impossible to predict exactly how everything will play out, here are eWEEK Labs best guesses on how the acquisition will affect Adobe Creative Suite and its associated products.

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Adobe Acrobat doesnt face any direct competitor within the Macromedia stable and actually stands to gain quite a bit of functionality through integration with Macromedia products such as FlashPaper and Macromedias set of e-learning and training applications. Pretty much the same can be said of Adobe InDesign.

Macromedia also doesnt have a direct competitor to Adobe Photoshop, although Fireworks comes close. We expect Fireworks to become integrated in some way with Photoshop, either as an add-on or as a stand-alone product that is often bundled with Photoshop.

Now on to the head-to-head competitors. You cant get much more competitive than the 10-year-plus battle that Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia FreeHand have fought for control over computer-based drawing and illustration. Its often been a vicious struggle, and, like many of these battles, graphics workers are split decisively on the products, with many Illustrator users disdaining FreeHand and many FreeHand users refusing to touch Illustrator.

We expect to see a knockdown in this fight. Because Adobe is the company thats doing the acquiring, FreeHand is likely to end up in the "great beyond" of software. After all, Adobe in the past hasnt been afraid to make moves that potentially anger its user base. We therefore recommend that users of FreeHand either get used to Illustrator or keep extra copies of FreeHand around.

The fight between Adobe GoLive and Macromedias Dreamweaver isnt anywhere near as nasty, mainly because its been rather one-sided, with Dreamweaver clearly outclassing GoLive. Adobes decision in this will be closely watched as an indicator of whether the company really cares about product quality or is just interested in removing competition.

The feeling here is that the superior Dreamweaver will win out—especially when you take into account what it brings to the table through Contribute and the Web Publishing System. GoLive will most likely linger for a little while until Adobe gracefully moves users up to Dreamweaver.

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