Macworld Online readers fear that the merger of Adobe and Macromedia may emerge as “bad news for Macromedia users”.

In last week’s poll, Macworld asked readers choosing to vote if the merger was “good news”, “bad news” or if they simply “did not know”.

The question attracted 575 votes, with the biggest slice (39 per cent, 222 people) describing the move as “bad news”.

The result isn’t completely convincing, as the spread of votes remains close. While 192 people (34 per cent) “don’t know”, a further 160 people (28 per cent) actually believe the merger will be “good news” for Macromedia software users.

Microsoft forces survival strategy

It’s also possible neither Macromedia nor Adobe had much choice in the matter, some readers observed:

“Would they be merging if Microsoft weren't muscling in on their territory?”, one asked, observing, “it will reduce competition which i don't think is a good thing. What if Microsoft start making gains in the graphics market with their new developments, is this good for Mac users?”

A convicted monopolist, Microsoft is often accused of abusing its operating system dominance in order to unfairly dominate in other industries, sparking the reader to comment: “This wouldn't be happening if the US government broke Microsoft up when it had the chance”.

Fretting for Freehand

Some voters are concerned at the future of their favourite products. “I've used Freehand since before Macromedia bought it from Aldus,” one said.

“I was disappointed to see that this week, Adobe announced continuing sales and support of Freehand, but no promise of further development. It looks as though Freehand is going to be left to die.”

Also on product one Macworld reader warned: “This could really irritate some of Macromedia's/Adobe's faithful customers who will not like being 'forced' to a new product,” adding, “I think it will give Adobe some serious muscle in the DTP/Web markets”.

It’s possible that, rather than allowing products to whither on the vine, Adobe may simply sell them to another firm to maintain and develop, one reader speculated.

“I would like to hope that Adobe would sell the rights to another company to continue Freehand development”, they said.

Innovation vibration

Another warned that the combined firms will be less innovative, and less driven by the need to innovate, despite competition from Microsoft: “I expect less innovation now, unless a new small company starts up and makes a difference”.

Worries about innovation quickly formed a split congregation, with another reader countering: “I don't necessarily think there will be less innovation now. Both companies were very good at innovating and I see no reason for that to stop now”.