On Being Acquired, It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

I’ve been browsing the messages I’ve received from ColdFusion users concerned about the acquisition. Basically, I can summarize the concerns as follows:

  • They don’t understand developers, and so they won’t understand ColdFusion.
  • ColdFusion does not fit into their product space, they’ll have to kill it off.
  • ColdFusion is not a strategic product for them, and so they won’t continue to invest in it. (Slight variation of prior bullet).
  • They are not as approachable and community involved, and community has always been one of ColdFusion’s biggest assets.

I think that sums up just about every concern that Allaire users had about the Macromedia acquisition …
Whoa, wait a sec, did you think I was referring to the planned Adobe+Macromedia deal? No no no, I was just reminiscing, remembering all of those tough questions lobbed at panels, the doomsday prophecies, and the general paranoid confusion of four years ago. But now that you mention it, the concerns are indeed the same, and if they proved unfounded back then …
Enough said.

9 responses to “On Being Acquired, It's Déjà Vu All Over Again”

  1. PaulC Avatar

    I can’t imagine that Cold Fusion was a minor part of this deal, let alone Adobe killing it off. Those particular chicken-littles have not used CFDocument yet.

  2. Rick Avatar

    I don’t think most of us are genuinely concerned about Adobe killing off CF or any other Macromedia product. What would be the point of the merger/acquisition if they did that? Maybe Photoshop will actually return to its roots for which it was intended… photos (what a concept) ;).
    I think the overall consensus is simply a concern about Adobe’s snooty, arrogant attitude they’ve always presented in the past. The "our product is the best and we don’t care what you think" attitude. Adobe’s never been genuinely open to customer feedback, particularly when it comes to improving their products based on customer needs/desires (this is why so many Macromedia users consider Adobe "the enemy"). In fact, more often than not the customers are frequently left out of the decision making process.
    Customer feedback of course is the foundation of Macromedia and why Macromedia has been such a great success. Inevitably this is what made ColdFusion of such a great product even after the acquisition of Allaire.
    So will CF die? It will if Adobe continues their past trend of the "Adobe knows best" attitude. However, if they can change that with the acquisition of Macromedia there will never be a problem… and more power to Adobe if they can change that. Maybe CF8 or CF9 will be another complete rewrite… rofl!
    Like many of us, I’m concerned about losing products that I spend 17+ hours a day using; and rely on Macromedia to listen to what I have to say so productivity on these products continually improves, and improving my productivity in the end. I somewhat feel I helped build Macromedia products in all the beta testing, bug reporting and feedback I’ve written, so I too feel like I have a part in the company and am VERY afraid to lose what I’ve helped to create. Despite Adobe’s horrible track record for listening to anybody in the past (I think most of us are doubtful they can do it now, but hopeful), I don’t think any of us will have any problems with this merger if Adobe can effectively listen and deliver similarly to how Macromedia has in the past.

  3. Ben Forta Avatar
    Ben Forta

    Rick, I agree with you, Macromedia definitely feels more community involved than does Adobe, although to be honest I don’t know much about Adobe’s community relations and initiatives. But I am not worried, and this is why – when Macromedia acquired Allaire everyone complained that Macromedia is not a community involved company, not like Allaire was. I don’t know what Macromedia was like before I joined, but it is not like that now at all. I remain convinced that just as the best of Allaire has influenced Macromedia, so can the best of Macromedia influence Adobe.

  4. Jason Hung Avatar
    Jason Hung

    Considering that major sites like the Scotsman and Williams-Sonoma use Coldfusion, I do not believe Adobe would kill off one of the key selling points of their multibillion dollar merger. Quite the opposite, I think Adobe would definitely have to listen to some of their customers who wield a great deal of leverage and market visibility. Adobe has traditionally opened an ear for printers and marketing companies, and I do not expect this to change for large e-businesses who will be the posterboys of ColdFusion.
    If worse comes to worse, Adobe will sell ColdFusion, not kill it. It would not make any sense (unless they pull a Sun Microsystems–no comment on what they did to their Cobalt RaQs) to kill off a product that Allaire and Macromedia have poured millions and millions of dollars of research and development. If there was any indication that they would not even consider the prospect of selling ColdFusion, Adobe’s stock would drop very quickly. So I think it’s safe to say that Adobe would kill off ColdFusion is an unrealistic scenario.

  5. Richard Avatar

    The only sure thing here is a price increase. Can you say M-O-N-O-P-O-L-Y boys and girls? I knew you could.

  6. David Chaplin-Loebell Avatar
    David Chaplin-Loebell

    Ben, the fact that the concerns proved unfounded back then doesn’t mean those concerned were wrong to be concerned. And, to finish your incomplete sentence, if they were unfounded back then, they still may be valid today– different company, different culture. Obviously, we hope the concerns are unfounded, but that doesn’t make voicing the concerns wrong.
    It was TRUE that Macromedia didn’t understand developers, and was not community focused. It is TRUE today– to an even greater extent– that Adobe doesn’t understand developers, and is not community focused.
    Yes, Macromedia improved after acquiring Allaire. We can only hope this acquisition makes Adobe change for the better. They have a larger climb ahead of them than Macromedia did. (Macromedia at least had several developer products in their portfolio prior to the acquisition of Allaire– Flash, Director, and Authorware. Adobe has never published a software development environment, to my knowledge.)
    On the other hand, the idea that ColdFusion doesn’t fit into the strategy so it will languish or be killed off seems like hogwash to me. I think Adobe will respond to ColdFusion’s strong sales and find a way to make it fit into their product space, just as Macromedia did. On the other hand, I do think there are some technologies that will be killed in this deal– I’d get the headstones ready for Freehand and Flashpaper.

  7. Theresa Temple Avatar
    Theresa Temple

    I’m disappointed with Hal Helms’ reaction to this acquisition, but I’m glad to hear that Ben finds the general paranoid confusion of today as unfounded. It appears that Adobe makes mention of their interest in Flash, but makes no mention of CFMX, which concerns me. I think that the UK has given CFMX sales a big boost, but it seems that CFMX is dying on the east coast of the US, if not dead already. Please prove me wrong.

  8. Laurie Hazard Avatar
    Laurie Hazard

    Since I work in a K12 school district, one of my biggest concerns with Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia is academic pricing. Macromedia has always had very affordable academic pricing for K12 schools. Adobe, on the other hand, is not as K12 school friendly. While they offer their products at a reduced rate for schools, the prices are still quite high. And the last time we bought Adobe, we could not purchase a site license, but had to buy each product per work station which was VERY expensive. So expensive, in fact, that we dropped Adobe products for Macromedia throughout most of the school. Only the art dept. kept Adobe products.
    Of course, another concern is losing that sense of community I get from being involved with Macromedia.
    Let’s hope Adobe incorporates all that is good from Macromedia into their business model.

  9. Linda Garcia Avatar
    Linda Garcia

    I think it’s absolutely one of the best deals of the century for developers, even though they might not realize it yet. WHY? Because these two companies both have industry standard programs especially when it comes to web development. What is a web application or page? Presentation: Graphics and Pictures and Business Logic: The code that makes it all work. Therefore, I think it’s even necessary for these companies to work together, to build us (graphic designers and developers) better applications that work together and with the same standards and communication between these programs. It will make all of our work easier, more productive and of excellent quality.

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