Yesterday was a very busy day, as I ended up writing two stories for Publish on the sale of Macromedia to Adobe. It’s a shame to see Macromedia disappearing – it’s done some really good applications over the years – but at least in its new home the technologies it’s created will have the money and resources to develop and market them more effectively.
This is a strategic buy-out rather than just one to eliminate competition. From what I can gather, it sounds like Macromedia has had something of a "for sale" sign around its neck for a while now, as it’s probably reached the point beyond which it would find it hard to expand without extra significant resources. Certainly, that it had been sold was a surprise to no one that I spoke to.
Adobe hasn’t bought Macromedia for its desktop applications: It’s bought it for Flash, which as a format has been making significant headway in the mobile market, and for enterprise server products like Breeze and Central. In that sense, Adobe IS becoming another Microsoft, in that it’s going after the same market – collaboration tools for the enterprise.
I spoke to Joe Wilcox yesterday about the potential impact on Microsoft, and he said "MIcrosoft should be more worried about Adobe than Google", because enterprise collaboration software is one of the few markets in the enterprise that MS doesn’t dominate, and now Adobe is well equipped to steal it.
On the desktop side, don’t forget the possibility that Adobe could sell some of the products it doesn’t want/need to other companies – Corel would be interested, as might ACD Systems. Divesting itself of unneeded products, rather than canning them, would be a good way of keeping on the good side of the Justice Department.
One other point: In the conference call on the deal yesterday, execs pointedly declined to comment on whether Macromedia had had any contact with other companies over a buy-out. Now there’s probably only two companies with the cash and interest: Microsoft… and Apple. Would be interesting to find out who the mystery suitor (if there was one) was…
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