Showdown: Adobe vs. Microsoft

Adobe has started shipping their Creative Suite 3 including a new Adobe Media Player. Incidentally, Microsoft has also just launched their competitor, Microsoft Silverlight (previously known as Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere, or WPF/E).

The competition is direct; Adobe now has a web media player solution (video on demand, trailers, there are plenty of reasons to have a strong offering here) and Apollo, a crossplatform runtime that allows one to create web-apps; applications that work like regular appplications, but are/can be deeply integrated with the web (RIAs). In the other corner, we have Silverlight which claims to do exactly the same. In various commentary we’re told that whichever platform wins, both companies win. Even so, there’s nothing like a good cagematch and some healthy competition. Round one: Fight!

Adobe CS3 Boxing Leaked [Update]

[zenphoto src=”adobe-cs3-boxes.jpg”]

Since we were shown the new Adobe CS3 icon set a while back, I’ve been, well, interested in how the new Adobe CS3 designs turned out. While they were set to launch tomorrow, March 27th, a canadian Amazon retailer has leaked promo images early.

First of all, I think the packaging is lovely. The color coding of the icons has been continued in to the packaging, with Macromedia programs Flash and Dreamweaver getting their usual red and green colors. Adobe’s own programs, which didn’t previously have specific color identities, have been given them; the royal blue one going to the flagship Photoshop. The larger bundle packs are now “color rainbows” based on what individual apps they contain; the “master” pack containing all colors.

All apps have been renamed CS3, as expected. For better or for worse, this ends a painful line of naming for Flash, at least; Flash 6 was Flash MX, Flash 7 was MX 2004 and Flash 8 was, well, 8. So Flash 9 is Flash CS3, and presumably Flash 10 will be CS4.

While we were given hints when the icons were shown, the packaging pretty much confirms it (even if only part of the packaging has leaked). Fireworks is being kept and there’s still_ no sign of ImageReady (good riddance). GoLive seems nowhere to be found, even though the icon set had a GoLive icon. On the other hand, there was a Freehand icon, yet we’re not shown a Freehand box. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s part of the “Master” collection, alongside Illustrator. Personally, I’d only need one, but I wouldn’t want to choose.

Update: The official launch webcast is tonight, 3.30 PM EST. It seems, however, that the Adobe homepage is already updated with the new product lines. What’s up with the Jester?

Thoughts on Crossplatform, Offline Web-Apps & Apollo

Adobe just demo’ed Apollo.

To my understanding, Apollo is a platform that is available on major operating systems, which allow web-apps to work as “real applications”. I understand this is similar to the “offline apps” feature that is being worked into Firefox 3. From Adobe Labs:

Apollo is the code name for a cross-operating system runtime being developed by Adobe that allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills (Flash, Flex, HTML, JavaScript, Ajax) to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop.

In laymans terms, it’s the web without the browser.

This is interesting for a number of reasons. In the most recent years we’ve seen the rise of such web-apps as Google Docs (spreadsheet & word processor), various sticky note/todo-list services and a myriad of other more or less useful services. Personally, I’ve recently switched to using Gmail as my only email client.

Writing / re-writing these services to take advantage of a runtime such as Apollo would give a number of benefits; each app would/could be a standalone “application” instead of requiring a browser. Each app would work offline, simply queuing whatever actions were taken to then synchronize them when going online. Finally, they’d get the ability to read/write local files, which could be used for a number of things. It could be a major push for web-apps, one that would finally cross the boundary problems of being web-only. I think it’s the next big thing for the web.

I, for one, would love to have a quickly launched, offline-ready Google Calendar app handy instead of being limited by connectivity and a browser. You?

Adobe CS3 Icons

cs3_icons

Adobe has released a color wheel showing the new Adobe CS3 icons. But wait, a color wheel? Yep. As it turns out, the new brand includes icons that are simply colored squares with periodic-table-of-the-elements like names; Ai for Illustrator, Ps for Photoshop, Fl for Flash.

Sure, I recognize a … ahem … whole palette of applications now they bought Macromedia. I get that by naming their icons similarly to the base elements, they communicate “base necessities” for graphic designers. Even so, this seems a bit over-designed to me. Fortunately, I don’t care much, unlike Ms. Pieters & Mr. Santa Maria.

On a sidenote, one could assume apps with icons means apps that live on in the post-Macromedia-merger period. Worthy of notice: Fireworks remains, Freehand remains, GoLive remains. ImageReady, on the other hand, seems nowhere to be found. There’s a named Flickr upload if you need more details. Dave Shea has more.

The Future of Fireworks

Now that Adobe and Macromedia have come together, we’re busily planning our next moves, and it would be great to get your input. Fireworks Product Manager Danielle Beaumont has posted a message saying that Fireworks is alive and well at Adobe, and we’re working to define the best course for each app.

John Nack from Adobe asks what you would want for the future of Macromedia Adobe Fireworks. If you love Fireworks, and don’t want Adobe to kill it off in favor of ImageReady, then this is probably your best chance to do something about it.

Adobe Aquires Macromedia

SAN JOSE, Calif. – April 18, 2005 – Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.4 billion.

Press Release

Having spent the last 7 years working with Macromedia Flash, this news is quite a shock. This is no joke. At a whopping 3.4 bn USD, Adobe have now acquired their long time opponent, effectively killing all competition.

I love Photoshop. I use Dreamweaver and Flash on a daily basis. But somehow, I’m less than thrilled at this news. The competition between Adobe and Macromedia has always been healthy, save for a few lawsuits some years back. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.

  • Will it be Adobe Flash CS2 or Adobe Livemotion CS2?
  • Will Adobe Dreamweaver CS2 come to pass, or will GoLive succeed it?
  • What about Fireworks vs. ImageReady? They’re both essentially built with the same purpose.
  • Freehand or Illustrator?
  • FlashPaper or PDF?
  • Flash Player or SVG Player?
  • What about Director?
    This really doesn’t feel right.

More Resources

  • Macromedia Acquisition FAQ (PDF)
    From the FAQ:
  • Is this a merger or an acquisition?
  • Adobe is acquiring Macromedia. However, both companies will benefit greatly from joining forces. Macromedia’s stockholders will own 18 percent of the combined company on a pro forma basis.

  • What will be the name of the combined company?
  • Adobe Systems Incorporated.

  • Is the combined company committed to Flash as a development platform?
  • Yes. Macromedia has made tremendous progress in attracting developers to Flash, and the Flash platform will be a key component of the combined company’s strategy going forward.

  • How does this affect Adobe’s support of SVG (scalable vector graphics)?

Both Adobe and Macromedia have been involved in defining SVG and both were part of the W3C working group that defined SVG. The combined company will continue to work with customers and partners to define a future roadmap for our products.