Warning Will; Danger Danger

Remember those fateful words “Warning Warning Will, Danger, Danger” in Space TV days of yore ? That meant the plotline was going to take a nasty , often improbable twist. Somebody in the Space Family was going to make a gosh-awful decision. Well I am getting those same signals on the Adobe:Macromedia merger.

This was a conceptual merger. It was taken at the top and somewhat aloof of the very competitive nature – some would say bad blood between the two corporates. Those werent good-will lawsuits in the past 5 years between the two companies. The second problem is that there is a lot of overlap between the two product families:
Freehand – Illustrator
Fireworks – Photoshop/ImageReady
Dreamweaver – GoLive
SWF-PDF
Flash-Premiere/After Effects
So the two communities of very bright employees will have to come together and a)shed conceptions of the otherside as “enemy” and b) do so when their lifes work and major projects if not very jobs are in jeopardy.

As I review products from both companies, I get an opportunity to talk to reasonably highly placed developers on both sides of the fence. And occasionally I ask the question well “how does that fit with what Adobe (or vice versa Macromedia) is doing?” More often than not I am greeted by stunned silence. Or the standard response – “we are in a quiet period as the merger gets approved, so we cannot comment.”

Well the merger has been approved by both companys shareholders. And yet I am still getting those “quiet period” responses. “Danger Danger …”.

I suspect there is a joint Adobe – Macromedia working group tasked with making the transition as smooth as possible. That group should have received even greater incentive for action on the day of Macromedias Studio 8 release. On that very same day, Microsoft announced Expression Suite at Redmonds PDC-Professional Development Conference. Talk about a shot across Adobe-Macromedias bow:

Acrylic coming closer to Photoshop and Illustrator than ever before;
Acrylic combining vector and bitmap processing in one program;
Acrylic innovating past Illustrator/Freehand in some vector processing methods;
Sparkle combining 2D and 3D animation – a step way ahead of Flash;
Sparkle doing innovations on the GUI design space ahead of Flash;
Sparkle incorporating scripting drag and drop design plus debugging ahead of Flash and on par with Flex;
Quartz matching some of Dreamweaver/GoLives key ease of use and editing features;
Quartz bringing visual database design into the tools;
Quartz tying in with Visual Studio at the project level to exchange design and development info;
WPF/E – Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere promising basic Expression Suite capabilities across Win2000 and earlier Windows, Mac, Pocket PC and perhapsssss… just maybe….”we would like to see a 3rd party ” Linux implementation.

Now there are two major provisos on this list. First, these are all largely Microsoft futures, and between lip and cup Redmond has been known to be …. uhhh sloppy … that is late and perhaps over-exuberantly optimistic in both delivery of future features and the time when and if they finally appear. Second, there is a whole nuanced and polished infrastructure to the Adobe-Macromedia products that we cover here – that Expression Suite just does not have.

But still with this shot, the Adobe-Macromedia Transition working group has a very substantial “common enemy” to rally the troops around. Hopefully this is just Paranoid Moi – and things are just going swimmingly in Adobemedia land.

(c)JBSurveyer 2005