Yesterday Adobe announced a merger with Macromedia. The largest issue I saw with the merger was that Freehand would be killed off. That didn’t matter to me since I prefer Adobe Illustrator but I know there are many designers who prefer Freehand. So I decided to do some research and this is what I found out.

It turns out that this is not the first time Adobe buys a company that owns competing products. Back in 1994, Adobe purchased the company Aldus which back then was releasing Freehand which it marketed under license from Altsys Corporation. Adobe also picked up Aldus’s PhotoStyler which was a competing product for Photoshop and Hitchcock which competed against Adobe Premier.

After the merger, Adobe killed both PhotoStyler and Hitchcock in-favor of its own stronger products Photoshop and Premier. Freehand was the biggest issue back then though. The merger between Aldus and Adobe came close to collapsing many times because Altsys Corporation who had licensed out FreeHand to Aldus claimed that it would be unfairly hampered by Adobe’s competing product Illustrator. To resolve this issue once the merger took place FreeHand was sold off to Macromedia. Now after yesterdays Adobe and Macromedia merger, Freehand is back with Adobe.

The biggest gain of the Adobe and Aldus merger was the software Pagemaker. Pagemaker was released in 1985 and is generally credited with creating the desktop publishing field.

The issue with Adobe’s GoLive webdesign software conflicting with the newly acquired Macromedia Dreamweaver software was also dealt with before. In 1999, Adobe acquired GoLives CyberStudio software and renamed it to Adobe GoLive. With that acquisition, Adobe killed its own webdesign software PageMill due to the superiority GoLive had.

In conclusion, although the merger between Adobe and Macromedia is a big thing, its also not the first time something like this has happened. Out of the previous mergers Adobe was able to improve its suite and benefit us all. But, monopolies never are a good thing either and if Adobe decides to slack off then we will all be in trouble. Many people are now expecting Adobe to purchase its major desktop publishing competitor Quark. But I believe that might not happen since all Adobe would gain is to kill off a competitor its already slowly but surely beating. So we will now have to wait and see what Adobe will do next.

Aldus and Altys settle dispute over FreeHand
The Aldus Adobe Merger
Adobe kills Aldus PhotoStyler, Hitchcock
Aldus on Wiki
Adobe acquires Aldus
About Adobe, Premiere, and All That