Late last month, news of Adobe’s corporate acquisition of Macromedia was the choice topic for people on many message boards. To some, the purchase seemed predictable. The companies had been butting heads for several years as they grew further and further into each other’s market segments, unable to really gain significant ground on the other.
Macromedia and Adobe Planning to Tie the Knot (Page 1 of 4 )
The corporations have been in a similar market, graphics and design, but each used to be at opposite ends of it. Adobe had begun its career by targeting print media more heavily, releasing products like Acrobat, Pagemaker, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Macromedia began with web design and internet media and animation with products such as Flash, Shockwave, and Dreamweaver. By now, the two mediums have become interconnected enough that the two companies began releasing very competitive products. Adobe released GoLive to compete with Dreamweaver and Microsoft’s Frontpage as a WYSIWYG webpage design program, but it has been unsuccessful at finding the acclaim that its competition is recieving. Macromedia began releasing products that compete with Adobe’s. Their release of Freehand was reminiscent of Adobe’s Illustrator, and there was some overlap between Photoshop and Macromedia’s Fireworks. However, Adobe’s programs in this field are still the standard.
A few years ago, the competition led to lawsuits. Adobe sued Macromedia for using a similar user interface with their patented “tabbed palettes” and won $2.8 million in a settlement. Adobe then tried to prevent Macromedia from selling the software, which didn't go anywhere. Macromedia countersued Adobe for infringing on multiple interface patents that they owned, and Macromedia won back $4.9 million. After this rivalry, the companies continued developing strategies that can now be viewed as complimentary. Stephen Elop, Macromedia’s CEO, said, “We both, in parallel, developed visions that turned out to be very complementary, and we established a track record of success that puts us in a much stronger position to look outward."