My initial reaction to news of this merger was one of shock. The news has so many ramifications on the publishing industry, both traditional and web, that it is almost mind-boggling. I think part of the reason for my previous lack of direction on this matter has been that I am not quite sure how I feel about it.  

On one hand, these are the two most dominant creative software forces in the publishing and pre-press and web content creation industries. While there were certainly areas where they overlapped and were competitors (Dreamweaver vs. Go Live or Illustrator vs. Freehand for instance) more often they really do have two different audiences. Adobe has always been more focussed on the traditional publishing industry (Illustrator for design, Photoshop for graphics editing, InDesign for page layout and Postscript for printing) whereas Macromedia has been more focused on the Web and Multimedia (Dreamweaver for Web Editing, Flash for media rich web content, etc.). Therefore, the combined strength of these two should benefit users greatly by allowing them to produce more seamless integration between these two areas which means more flexibility for the designers and end users they serve.

On the other hand, this merger creates what essentially will be the Microsoft of publishing and media creation. Adobe will have a monopoly over the design world. One company will control the software used for the content of almost everything we read and see and output to both traditional print media and the web. Like Microsoft, having one company with that much power can’t and probably wont be a good thing.

To sum it all up, I have very mixed feelings. From a technological standpoint this will mean very exiting possibilities for those who use any of these software products. I just wish it did not come at the expense of competition.