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Microsoft

Microsoft To Acquire Macromedia? 531

perly-king-69 writes "The Register is reporting that 'industry sources' say that Microsoft have Macromedia in their sights. Whilst it could just be holiday gossip, if they do pull it off it could have a significant impact on the cross-browser compatibility of Flash applications."
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Microsoft To Acquire Macromedia?

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  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:43AM (#4943909)
    Too bad for Microsoft that Macromedia documented and made the SWF format open a long time ago now. Even if they pulled the flash player from any platform except IE on Windows, we still have libflash.
    • Don't worry, Microsoft will change the format completely for the next version.
    • by Nosher ( 574322 ) <simon@nosher.net> on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:50AM (#4943952) Homepage
      That's true enough for existing versions of Flash. It would not be true of any Microsoft-based version of future releases. I guess they'd sooner turn it into some ActiveX-only control and re-write the language, which would completely stuff up any future cross-browser compatibility. As far as plugins go (speaking as a webmaster), I've never minded Flash too much: it can be neat, compact and you can *reasonably* guarantee that your target audience can play it. That would be blown away the second Micro$oft got their anti-Java mitts on it - it's clear from the article that they would want it to support .NET and Windows platforms exclusively.
    • I was kind of hoping those annoying Flash advertisements would be banished from Mozilla.
    • Too bad for Microsoft that Macromedia documented and made the SWF format open a long time ago now. Even if they pulled the flash player from any platform except IE on Windows, we still have libflash

      What do you mean "too bad"? Anything that quickens the demise of Flash is to be welcomed. It fills a useless middle ground between animated GIFs and Java applets, and is only used for particularly irritating ads, and by particularly irritating self-proclaimed "creatives". I can only hope that Bill Gates was surfing the web one day, saw a Flash banner and decided to kill this annoying "technology" once and for all.
      • I can understand why this opinion is moderated "Insightful", too bad this opinion is so far from reality. Reality is that Bill doesn't want to kill anything from Macromedia, he wants to control it and make it windows only. Make flash work only in IE, boom, all the less tech-saavy people use IE because "Netscape is broken it doesn't do flash".

        And its not just flash, there is another Macromedia product that I'm far more worried about Microsoft getting their hands on: Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver has quickly become the standard HTML editor. Can you imagine what's going to happen if it starts making code like Frontpage does now?

        My bet is that Bill and Friends have their eyes on Dreamweaver more than Macromedia.
        • I think they want Dreamweaver because they can't sell Frontpage, since everyone knows it generates shit HTML. Controlling Flash is a side benefit.
        • by MonTemplar ( 174120 ) <slashdot@alanralph.fastmail.uk> on Monday December 23, 2002 @11:35AM (#4944829) Journal
          And its not just flash, there is another Macromedia product that I'm far more worried about Microsoft getting their hands on: Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver has quickly become the standard HTML editor. Can you imagine what's going to happen if it starts making code like Frontpage does now?

          My bet is that Bill and Friends have their eyes on Dreamweaver more than Macromedia.


          Don't know about the US press, but the reviews I've read over here in the UK regarding UltraDev (and subquently of Dreamweaver MX) are of the opinion that they are the tool for web development, and leave FrontPage in the dust.

          In fact, one commentator over here, John Honeyball, writing in PC Pro, went as far as to say that Macromedia, with their MX products, put Microsoft's Visual Studio.NET to shame when it came to doing web development with IIS/ASP and .NET !

          Of course, being in a position to 'persaude' ColdFusion shops to move to .NET would help, but Dreamweaver, if they could get their hands on it, would be a major coup for Microsoft...

        • by Genom ( 3868 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @11:57AM (#4945000)
          Someone with mod points mod the parent up.

          Dreamweaver is what MS has their sights set one -- not Flash. Think about it. MS pretty much controls the browser end of things through IE. What they don't control is the creation of webpages. Most of the industry that I've been in contact with have a very low opinion of Frontpage, but a very high opinion of Dreamweaver (when it comes to GUI HTML editors). Acquiring Macromedia will allow them to either integrate Dreamweaver into Frontpage, or kill it altogether. Either way, the acquisition gives them a major hold on the webpage creation industry.

          It would also give them a chance to crush Cold Fusion once-and-for-all...replacing it with ASP.NET, of course... (not that I see many CF sites anymore - most are either ASP, JSP, or PHP nowadays)

          Flash would just be frosting.
    • ... we still have libflash.

      Unfortunately. I can not begin to describe the immense hatred I have for Flash, but it is on par with pop-ups and pop-unders. Fortunately, Mozilla is quite nice and has allowed me to disable Flash mostly (woohoo!) and thus allows get away from all the horrible sites who abuse Flash. Flash as a concept might be recovered though, as soon as people realize that Flash is made for ANIMATIONS, not entire goddamned websites. It is impossible to link to a document embedded in Flash, it is impossible to bookmark in-site thing for the same reason. Is is impossible to turn of the Flash music that get enforced through my speakers and I am not even going to mention printing information in a Flash file. And most Flash sites just are a disaster to use because the book "Flash for Idiots" doesn't handle basic GUI design (apparently).

      So right now, I hope that Flash dies a slow horrible death along with Quicktime and Realmedia Player.

    • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @12:29PM (#4945285)
      You beautiful soul! I wish it was that clean.
      Unfortunately I have three letters that indicate that this is not the case. Here they are ;- G! I! F!... Yup, GIF. At present, if you use GIF files, you are tresspassing on Unisys territory.

      But there is a more important reason to get REAL WORRIED by this tech.
      Dreamweaver has become an equaliser of tech for serverside stuff.
      Dreamweaver does coldfusion brilliantly;- No shit... It's macromedia tech. But it's the fact that Dreamweaver MX is probably the ONLY true PHP+MySQL aware+compliant wysiwig editor. This is not because of a minority share for said platform, but because adobe & MICROSOFT have other agendas.

      If we lose dreamweaver, we lose the fact that a HUGE amount of mid-range content will not work with mozilla, and will not work with apache. If we lose dreamweaver, we lose yet another independant platform to microsoft.

      And if we lose dreamweaver, we lose yet one more way that the average dumb-joe can escape microsoft.

      Think about it, and then post ideas on how we can block this.

      Anti-competition laws suggest that we can. It's up to US to figure HOW.

      Let's do it.
  • uh oh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:48AM (#4943932) Journal
    Does anyone else think that if this happened it would be the absolute worst thing that ever happened to the web?

    As it is now, flash is a relatively open format, there's just no good OS flash players. But if Microsoft were to acquire them, I think flash would remain an open format for about 30 seconds. Then only Mac OS and Windows users would be able to browse a very significant portion of the web.

    • Does anyone else think that if this happened it would be the absolute worst thing that ever happened to the web?

      Not if Microsoft was really successful in killing flash completely.

      I want someone to write a dummy flash plug in that does absolutely nothing, apart from stop the stupid 'do you want to download the latest Meglomedia Flash crud plug in and have adverts that take over your entire computer screen just because they can, oh and if you say no we will ask again in 30 seconds or less' dialog box.

      • Re:uh oh (Score:2, Insightful)

        by lvdrproject ( 626577 )
        Sir, Macromedia has little to do with those faggot advertisements you've been seeing recently. Those advertisements are a relatively new thing (as in, maybe a year or so old); Flash has been just super with everybody until those came along.

        Truly, the ironic thing is that you like to visit the sites with those Flash advertisements on them. Is it Macromedia's fault? Are there just some malicious random people sneaking Flash advertisements into good, humble folk's Web sites?

        NO! THE WEBSITES YOU ARE VISITING ARE TO BLAME. IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE ADVERTISEMENTS, DON'T BLAME MACROMEDIA. BLAME THE PANSY-ASS FUCKING WEBSITE THAT YOU INSIST ON VISITING AND THEN SAYING "OH GEE GOLLY GOSH I HATE THIS DARNEDED FLASH CONTRAPTION, WHY MUST IT TAKE OVER THIS LOVELY INNOCENT WEBSITE???".

      • I want someone to write a dummy flash plug in that does absolutely nothing, apart from stop the stupid 'do you want to download the latest Meglomedia Flash crud plug in...
        I actually started on this one weekend and got to the point that you describe (my plug-in registered itself for the right mime types and then just didn't do anything when called). My original plan was to take it one step further and parse the Flash file on the web page, pull out all URLs, and display a list of URLs within the file so that I could easily get into those sites that annoyingly insist on having a Flash-only intro that require you to click on the intro to continue and which serve no purpose other than to look pretty. I haven't added this yet, though.

        The reason that I stopped work on this when I did was because I ran into a dilema that I haven't thought of a good solution to. The problem is, there are many different types of sites that use flash:

        • Sites that use it only as a decoration but assume that you must have it (hence the the download prompt you describe).
        • Sites that use it only as a decoration and recognize this fact, gracefuly degrading when you view their page without flash.
        • Sites that "require" flash and won't let you in unless you have it regardless of how necessary it actually is.
        • Sites that have separate HTML and Flash versions where you are redirected to the appropriate section based upon whether you have Flash installed.
        A plugin that masquerades as Flash would be great for all cases but the last one. I don't want to be automatically shuffled off to the Flash-only site when there is a nice HTML alternative that would work much better for me. Unfortunately, these sites are the ones where the webmasters use Flash responsibly, since they have alternatives available, so I don't really want to penalize them by breaking their site when it should work.

        I think the solution might be to modify the nullplugin that comes with Mozilla. This is the default plugin, and I believe this is the piece of code responsible for the "do you want to download" messages. When it asks you if you want to download a plugin of a certain type, it should have a checkbox that says "don't ask me again" and then it should remember that mime type (come to think of it, I'd be happy if it never prompted me for any mime types, so maybe I should just disable the prompt globally). It would be nice if it also picked the URLs out of the file on the web page so that you could bypass annoying intros as well.

    • I thought THE flash player was open source. I know you can get the source for the player from Macromedia ... but I'm not sure if their license is OS compatible.

      Macromedia's faq:
      http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/ope n/faq/ #3_5

      And their license page:
      http://www.macromedia.com/software/flashpla yer/lic ensing/sourcecode/

      Also... the specification is open
      http://www.openswf.org/
      • Re:uh oh (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        the player code is not open source, although it is avaliable for licensing.

        the file format is open and avaliable. the specification for the latest version (6) is avaliable here:

        you can find more info on both at:

        http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/open/li ce nsing/

        mike chambers

        mesh@macromedia.com
    • Re:uh oh (Score:5, Funny)

      by rknop ( 240417 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:26AM (#4944087) Homepage

      Does anyone else think that if this happened it would be the absolute worst thing that ever happened to the web?

      No. A bunch of worse possibilities immediately leap to mind:

      • The September that never ended
      • Graphical mail clients with proportional fonts
      • HTML E-mail
      • the "blink" tag
      • Web-based forums overtaking NNTP
      • "WYSIWYG" (a complete misunderstanding of the web) page makers which write awful, awful, bloated code
      • Telecom monopolies on the "last mile"

      ...but most of all....

      • The introduction of Flash in the first place!

      -Rob

    • I already can't browse those sites. I won't run flash because it's proven to be insecure. And y'know what? The most significant site I had trouble with was http://www.dubyadubyadubya.com.
      Do you call that a "very significant portion of the web."? I don't.
      -russ
  • It's because Macromedia Fusion / Flash focus is mainly on the visual part. Whereas J2EE offer a lot more than that.

    If Microsoft were to coup Java using this acquisition, they would have to at least put some major effort to integrate this with their .NET framework.

    • by markhb ( 11721 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:59AM (#4944016) Journal
      You haven't looked at Coldfusion MX (the server), have you? It's a complete rewrite of the app server in Java, and it comes in two flavors: standard, and as a J2EE App Server plugin that allows CFML full access to the underlaying Java architecture. Somehow, if MS buys out Macromedia I don't think that CFMX for Websphere will be around for very long.

      - Mark
      Macromedia Certified Advanced Coldfusion 5.0 Developer

      remainder of my .sig: be the majority of voters.
      • That's my whole point... Sorry if I didn't make it clear. Coldfusion MX can be thought as the "front-end". If we want to strip out J2EE, we have to replace the "back-end". So, if Microsoft want to coup Java, they have to put a major effort to integrate it with their dot NET. That's not that simple, IMHO, since the plugin version seems to forward the calls to the J2EE backend.

        So, is it true that Coldfusion MX (server version) can run stand alone without J2EE (or other backend) and still can process whatever things J2EE can do?

      • by MrSkunk ( 544767 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:37AM (#4944154)
        You mean you're not MX certifitied yet? ;-)

        I completely agree with you. Most of the people here don't seem to realize that there is a lot more to Macromedia than Flash. Since Macromedia's purchase of ColdFusion and their release of the MX line, ColdFusion has become a real player in the data-driven server market. The conversion to java has helped deal with a lot of speed issues that previous CF servers had.

        Now, seeing as how Microsoft has not been a big pal of Java, I doubt that they would support and extend the use of ColdFusion after acquiring Macromedia. Rather I could see them stripping it for parts and integrating some stuff with ASP while leaving ColdFusion to rot.

        -Dan
        Macromedia Certified ColdFusion 5.0 Developer
  • no fucking way! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oliverthered ( 187439 ) <{oliverthered} {at} {hotmail.com}> on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:49AM (#4943941) Journal
    So M$ who have been convicted of leveraging a monopoly to gain a more-or-less monopoly in the browser market, and who are being watched by the judge incase they start to do more nasty things are looking to aquire Macromedia.

    Well I suppose laws are made to be broken.
  • by altgrr ( 593057 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:50AM (#4943948)
    ...what effect would this have? It could go either way - the Mac/Linux/Mozilla users, who are in the minority, would be disgruntled by this, and would either give in, or just not visit sites that choose to use a proprietary format.

    IMHO, any proprietary format on the Internet is bad. Flash is all very well for doing supplementary things (games etc) but not for features essential to the operation of a website. Common sense would tell you not to use Flash for content provision, but people seem to think otherwise.

    It is most likely, however, that either this deal will not go ahead, or that MS will keep the standard fairly open. Remember, MS are moving towards semi-open standards - .NET is usable by anyone, but MS gets to declare what the standards are. Perhaps MS are actually becoming a little more honest, on the face of things?
  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:50AM (#4943956) Homepage Journal
    ... and disturbing, since Flash is finally becoming an interesting and useful way to deliver content over the Web instead of an annoying tool to do things that could better be done in plain HTML and maybe JavaScript.

    But I don't think it's the whole story. If Microsoft acquires Macromedia, they also get their graphics tools, which, while much less widely used than Adobe's, are generally well-regarded. Ggraphic artists have been talking for years about how nice it is to work in an area not dominated by Microsoft (and yes, Adobe can be just as evil -- but let's be practical here; they just don't have the raw power Microsoft does.) This could be Microsoft's bid to swallow up the last major area of the desktop market they don't yet dominate.
  • by inteller ( 599544 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:50AM (#4943957)
    For those of you born yesterday here is a recap: Microsoft bought Liquid Motion back in the late 90s. It was actually a contender for about 3 months but Flash quickly surpassed it. Microsoft quietly concedes this battle. Then around 2000 Microsoft acquires Visio. Again, pushing the visualization theme here. About this time they also come out with a very capable Photodraw application that even uses Adobe Photoshop plug-ins. Clearly Microsoft hungers for visualization software in it's portfolio. And Dreamweaver is kicking FrontPage's ass. It should be no surprise to anyone that Microsoft wants Macromedia. With this piece of the puzzle they could finally off Adobe and their pesky little PDF format.
    • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @10:15AM (#4944361) Journal
      With this piece of the puzzle they could finally off Adobe and their pesky little PDF format.

      Why on earth would millions of businesses, governments, and individuals want to go to all the trouble of migrating billions of documents from PDF (designed for forms and printed documents) to a 'standard' that's best known for making web sites more annoying and slower to load--and is available on fewer platforms?

      • by constantnormal ( 512494 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @11:50AM (#4944943)
        Why on earth would millions of businesses, governments, and individuals want to go to all the trouble of migrating billions of documents from PDF (designed for forms and printed documents) to a 'standard' that's best known for making web sites more annoying and slower to load--and is available on fewer platforms?

        I believe the answer to this is tied up with the same reasons why millions of people use other Microsoft products. One could ask why people would prefer a bugridden claptrap OS from Redmond over OS/2, which was far and away the better product for many years.

        Why don't people look for the best solution to their needs, and instead look to what others are doing?

        People don't want multiple platforms -- they want the rest of the world to conform to their own way of doing things. This replays in politics, religion, culture, etc. We're basically herd animals. All that Microsoft has to do is gain a marketplace majority, and the world will bleat a path to their doorstep.

        Macintosh and Linux users are basically aberrations, which is why they will always be a minority, no matter how much better their respective systems are.

        So if Microsoft can make it less convenient to use PDFs, and more convenient to use MDFs (Microsoft Document Format), and even offer a one-way compatibility to allow PDF users to migrate to MDF without converting, the game is won.

        Powerpoint is the Document format of the Future. (puking noises)

      • a 'standard' that's best known for making web sites more annoying and slower to load

        you're talking about PDF, right?

  • My first web development platform was Drumbeat, which became Dreamweaver Ultradev, which became Dreamweaver MX. Everyone I know who uses both MX and Visual Studio .NET still prefers MX for the majority of their database-driven web development. I'd love to have MX's ease of use and powerful design support built into Visual Studio.
  • Kill Flash! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Flamesplash ( 469287 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:55AM (#4943990) Homepage Journal
    Maybe this will be one of those technologies MS buys just so it won't go anywhere in usage or development. I would not be saddened by such a thing. Am I the only ones who is sick of flash splash pages to websites? Just give me my content damnit. :)
    • by haggar ( 72771 )
      You're kidding? To have an idea of what is Microsoft's attitude towards this issue, just check msnbc website. No, I don't think MS would just kill Flash, I think they would include it into every aspect of your web experience, possibly driving some of us nuts.

      Like MS wants to do something that would preserve sanity :o)
  • by curtisk ( 191737 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @08:56AM (#4943998) Homepage Journal
    Flash would give Microsoft access to tools for building rich interfaces on both desktops and mobile devices, furthering .NET.
    furthering .NET? Has .NET even left the starting gate in all seriousness? Other than the msn portal.
    It would be sad to see another innovator get gobbled up, I've been impressed with macromedia since the ol' Director days, it just seems shitty when a big guy buys up a brand or name then tries to pawn it off as their own.

    The saddest example of late is Infogrames [infogrames.com] trying to ride the name recognition of Atari [atari.com] of all things! WTF? LOL

  • As someone who works in a Cold Fusion shop, I can say this wouldn't be a good thing, despite all the "yay, kill Flash!" posts.

    Cold Fusion is much, much easier to develop and deploy web apps for than ASP or JSP.

    Microsoft should be happy with just being the number one software company...why do they need to rule the world too?
    • Coldfusion is great for rapid prototyping, however, from the system administration side (ie, production support), it crashes just a little too often for my tastes. Yes, many times, it'll bring itself back up, so there will just be a 2-3 minute service interuption...

      Now take into consideration that this is happening NIGHTLY. And it doesn't always come back up on its own. Due to the poor model that we have (ie, no one watches the systems save for 7am-7pm weekdays), this has resulted in multi-day outages on the weekends. Luckily, I'm not the one getting the 2am phone calls anymore, but when I hear that they want to put more and more things over on Coldfusion, I'd prefer it they had a stable system first.

      Oh -- and I don't like their security model...I heard it's not so server-centric in MX, but well, before that, if someone with access to one directory knew the datasource name used by someone else on that system, they could muck with someone else's data. I'd prefer to see some sort of chrooting for the CFFILE commands, and access restrictions by directory, not for the system as a whole.

      [And a daemon that doesn't keep crashing... but well, I'm off on another project, so someone else has had to be the one talking to Macromedia support on a regular basis.]

      Supposedly, ColdFusion doesn't have these problems under windows [we're using Solaris], but then I've got to deal with Windows crashing, too.
  • by os2fan ( 254461 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:14AM (#4944037) Homepage
    Remember, the DOJ blocked the Microsoft attempt to acquire Intuit. Maybe they could block this attempt.

    Suppose that some "public interest" suggestion could be put to bear on MS acquiring companies in related fields....

    • "Remember, the DOJ blocked the Microsoft attempt to acquire Intuit. Maybe they could block this attempt."

      Microsoft has given a lot of money to the Republican party, so it's safe to assume that Ashcroft won't block this acquisition....

      Steve
  • significant impact on the cross-browser compatibility of Flash applications.

    This would not be a bad thing. Now to get rid of animated gifs, who do they need to buy up and lock only into IE to spare us from those?

  • If that would happen', what is the posibility for flash to surive?

    It's just one step less if you wanna force down .NET.
  • by ces ( 119879 ) <christopher. s t e f a n # g mail.com> on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:17AM (#4944047) Homepage Journal
    And a rumor posted on The Register at that. I'll believe this when I see it confirmed somewhere that doesn't appear to be cribbing from the Reg or Slashdot.

    This also assumes Macromedia wants to be bought by Microsoft, even if MS is attempting a hostile bid Macromedia may go looking for a white knight.

    I could see IBM, Adobe, or Sun ending up with Macromedia in the end.
  • by galaga79 ( 307346 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:19AM (#4944052) Homepage
    I hate to think what Microsoft acquiring Macromedia would mean for webstandards. Dreamweaver by Macromedia is certainly one of the most popular WYSIWYG HTML editors around, and because of that there has been groups such as the WaSP have been work with Macromedia [webstandards.org] making sure it is complies with the web standards out there. Who knows what Microsoft would do with Dreamweaver seeing that is in direct competition with Frontpage.
    • I don't think that Dreamweaver and Frontpage actually directly compete. Dreamweaver is a much more professional tool than Frontpage. Frontpage is geared more towards tasks, project management, and overall site maintenance. Dreamweaver to me has always been about modular development - building individual pages quickly and easily. Frontpage can be standards compliant and is easily extensible but it's really geared toward novice use - i.e. you might give it to a documentation team. Dreamweaver is geared toward "designers" with homesite as a good support application for straight "coders".

      We use Frontpage, Dreamweaver, and Homesite. Our Communications team uses Frontpage with an IIS webserver to keep Daily Bulletins and some reference material maintained (these people have NO HTML knowledge). Our external site maintainers use Dreamweaver with Vignette and IPlanet servers for more dynamic content. Our more technical intranet sites are maintained using Homesite and Websphere, giving significant control over the code. I think eventually we'll be moving everything into Websphere/Eclipse development.
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:21AM (#4944058)
    "Flash is a powerful and rich development environment, which - through Macromedia's changes this year - took a step closer to J2EE."

    Huh? Excuse me? Flash is anywhere *near* J2EE? Last I looked, Flash is entirely orthogonol to J2EE. It is just a media/presentation layer. That's like saying HTML or SMIL just took a step closer to J2EE. Nonsense.
    • Flash is anywhere *near* J2EE? Last I looked, Flash is entirely orthogonol to J2EE. It is just a media/presentation layer. That's like saying HTML or SMIL just took a step closer to J2EE. Nonsense.

      Sounds like you haven't looked at Flash MX [macromedia.com]. Lots of data-handling, XML support, and talking to application layers. It works transparently with ColdFusion MX as backend through the Flash Remoting technology. There are Rich Text Editors, calendar plug-ins, FTP clients, etc. for Flash MX. Macromedia calls the new Flash stuff "rich Internet applications."

  • by -cman- ( 94138 ) <`xc.namc' `ta' `namc'> on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:21AM (#4944060) Homepage
    I wonder if (this report is in fact true) this will add fuel to the WV and MA appeal [slashdot.org] to the settlement? Can those states use post-judgement behavior to show that the settlement is ineffective and that M$ is not changing its Monopolistic ways?
  • by snitty ( 308387 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:21AM (#4944061) Homepage
    . . . Microsoft plans to aquire the DOJ.
  • Does that mean they've fixed the sound-related bug that makes the latest versions of the players essentially useless on Linux?
  • Who Cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kperrier ( 115199 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:29AM (#4944102)
    There is a reason that I don't have flash installed on any machine that I frequently use. 98% of the sites that use flash use it for ads. Not installing flash is one of the best ways to avoid the most annoying ads.

    Kent
  • Is it legal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tacocat ( 527354 ) <tallison1.twmi@rr@com> on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:31AM (#4944114)

    I guess this probably would end up as legal and not any kind of Monopoly issue because they probably didn't reference Macromedia in the previous lawsuit.

    Since they were not specifically targeted in the previous legal action, the lawyers would probably argue that it's not applicable to apply the monopoly conviction when considering the legality of a macromedia acquisition. It's all in how you spin it.

    I have yet to see anything that MicroSoft has touched be anything other than messed up. Maybe they will buy Macromedia. But if they do you can fully expect that they will have every intention of leveraging it to maximizing there benefit in any markets available.

    I think you are overlooking the value of Flash on cellular phones. Microsoft is making a huge push to get this market pulled from Verizon and a few others. Flash will simply allow them to leverage it better into their product line.

    You need to start thinking about Microsoft in the same terms that they consider themselves. To think of them as a Internet based company is ignorant. They are out to acquire a piece of every single form of communication, media interaction, and information delivery.

    They are in the Internet, Television, Game-Stations, Corporate and Personal Information Structures, PDA's. They are pushing hard to get involved in Cellular technology and even Vehicles.

    With the introduction of MicroSoft into the Cars and Phones, they will have a foot hold on the home, office, person, and cars. I don't know that there will be much else left.

    • Re:Is it legal (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Idarubicin ( 579475 )
      I think you are overlooking the value of Flash on cellular phones.

      I have a cellular phone. I think it's already reasonably valuable to me. It allows me to do things that I can do with my regular telephone, like initiate and receive telephone calls. It would be nice if it worked in Europe, but that's the way it goes.

      Why do I need Flash on my phone? It already makes the web more annoying--does it have to bother me everywhere else, too?

  • by vasqzr ( 619165 ) <vasqzr.netscape@net> on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:33AM (#4944122)


    Would this mean we'll still never see a Flash authoring tool for Linux?

    There was a Slashdot article about this before.

  • Oh protect me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ianscot ( 591483 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:34AM (#4944132)
    it could have a significant impact on the cross-browser compatibility of Flash applications."

    Like that's the biggest impact.

    I work in Web development, in a DreamWeaver shop. Macromedia has its faults, but it's a company that does understand the perspective of its buyers. There are lots of little ways something like that shows up. Suffice it to say, at a Macromedia sales spiel the engineer really means it when she says she'll submit your suggestion to the development group. DreamWeaver and FireWorks, in particular, really reflect the sensibilities of Web developers much better than their competition. The company gets it, or mostly gets it anyway.

    They'd already started down the road of updates to revamp the interface for no particular reason -- we haven't bitten on the Mx versions of anything yet. That's leaving alone Flash. Loads of developers, here's a clue, despise Flash the way it's used on most sites right now. The number of Marketing Department "splash pages" out there as index pages to sites is chilling. That's technology for its own sake, at the expense of maintainability. We hate that stuff. The people who make those are in Marketing, not IT, and they're still at the point where their Web site is a transposition of a brochure.

    But dang, if Microsoft buys this company out, we're screwed. I've used Word since 1986, and since version 5.1a or so, the changes to that program haven't reflected the average user in any way. Microsoft is too big and too... I don't know what... to understand its users. I've touched FrontPage a few times, and it's painfully bad -- mostly it's an excuse to push asp extensions on your server or (better) IIE on an NT box.

    Indifference to the user, inability to see from the point of view of the user, is the hallmark of that company. And I'm the user. Shite.

  • From the article... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by idletask ( 588926 )

    Neither Macromedia or Microsoft were available for comment

    Uh oh... I hate when I read that because it very often means that the "announcement" is true. Their PR departments have probably been put on hold while the execs finalize the agreement...

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:41AM (#4944171)
    Despite the utter rubish some of the typical no-clue-on-design anti-flash zealots on /. kept crapping out in recent years, flash had a clear and distinct position in WWW content.
    Until less then a year ago there was no way you could get CSS working the way it was intended on spec-release about 7 years ago. Flash was the *only* way to get a consistent visual apperance across Browsers with solid fonts and stuff that went beyond table-slicing (tables not being intended for pushing pics around anyway).
    Flash was *the* tool to actually achieve what CSS promised for so long. With nearly every browser finally fully CSS 2 compliant, this is now a non-issue and put's flash in the extra gadget area so many slashdotters allways suspected it in. With SVG - a format that's substancially easyer to handle in the dynamic content serving dept. - and open architecture web 3D poppingup left right and center and the mighty Java Media Framework finally out, asskick competition for flash is closing in.
    Considering this and the fact that the Uber-Web Tool Dreamweaver had it's days when it's templates where the next best thing to the then expensive and unwieldy dynamic content servers this is might actually be the wrong time for M$ to purchase Macromedia. Macromedia never got the curve to professional level tools, Dreamweaver aside. Flash MX coding is as crappy as ever, Director 8.5 still tops the hitlist as the most bizare software joke under the sun, PHP kicks Cold Fusion up and down the street and no f*ckin' way is Kava or JRun gonna stand against Suns free libs and the ever-growing Netbeans popularity combined with the bazillion and one Java/Apache OSS projects.

    Bottom Line: I kinda hope that M$ buys Macromedia and drives it against the wall at full speed. Hideously bloated with ColdFusion-ASP-MX.NET intergration or whatever they think might be a cool name for a dead-end product strategy.
  • Macromedia and Microsoft would make a good match. They both publish insecure software.
    -russ
  • by l-ascorbic ( 200822 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @09:59AM (#4944280)
    If this does turn out to be more than the regular rumour-mongering, it's worth remembering that even if a merger isn't blocked by US authorities, the European Union Competition Commission has shown itself more than willing to block deals like this that are so obviously anti-competitive. And yes, they do have jurisidiction over the deal, because both companies do business and have subsidiaries in Europe.
  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @10:45AM (#4944574) Journal
    While we're all busy bashing MS and Flash, perhaps we shouldn't forget that Webdesigners, the professional ones nearly all use Dreamweaver and/or Flash. Golive doesn't come close to being an industry standard tool although it has improved greatly in version 6. The reason those people use Dreamweaver is because it makes webpage creation faster, not specifically easier. It also has pretty good intergation with the above mentioned server side languages.

    What this will mean for DW and Flash is that MS will slowly, in one or two versions, phase out PHP and JSP intergration (they'll claim that the "customers" don't want it) and they'll add MSSQL, IIS, Frontpage and Office integration, by default, thereby making most webpages not work in other browsers or on other server platforms. They'll start adding "extras" into Flash (.NET automatic webservices and scan-your-drive-for-pirated-music stuff for free). They'll probably make a crippled version of the Flash plugin for the Mac in order to avoid the anti-trust complaints and kill the Linux one. They will almost certainly kill off the Mac versions of the MX suite ("because the sales there are so small" they'll say).

    However, this will probably backfire nicely in MS's face. Coldfusion, in spite of it's ease (I've used it and it is easy), has become a major deadweight in the company, due to the advances in PHP. There is no real reason today to go for ColdFusion, given that it is expensive and the tags are proprietry. Flash already has a pretty good competitor for animated vector stuff with Livemotion2.0 from Adobe and *new* Flash only sites have all but died out because the ergonomics of the web dictate that you have to design for compatibility and therefore almost every Flash site has to have a HTML version accompanying it and that pushes up development costs and companies don't have money today for luxuries as they did in the dotcom days. This generally restricts Flash to be used as a tool for making animations.

    Adobe could counter a buy out like this quite nicely in that they release their own version of the Flash plugin, thereby becoming the "standard" in web graphics that they have been running after for so long. In the resulting confusion and chaos in Webplugins, which "standard" do you think would win? MS tried this with DHTML, and even though they 95% of the browser market they don't have a monopoly on authoring, as almost all sites code for standards these days.

    Mainly this would lose Adobe another competitor, because MS would certainly botch any attempt to gain designers with an MS version of Freehand. just as they have botched almost every attempt to make a competitor to Photoshop.
  • not just Flash! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by josephgrossberg ( 67732 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @11:23AM (#4944737) Homepage Journal
    Macromedia also has Dreamweaver and Director, but perhaps you forgot these:

    * Fireworks and Freehand -- software for creating graphics. Maybe MS wants to take on Adobe (Photoshop, Illustrator)?

    * Contribute -- a content-management system that lets you publish to the web without knowing HTML. As someone who has worked on many clients' websites, I can tell you this is going to be *big*.

    and, since the Macromedia bought Allaire, they could get these too:

    * ColdFusion -- a widely-used, tag-based web application server and language (and the easiest to learn, at that). Unlike ASP, it comes with things like administrating through a web interface, sending email, uploading files, verity searches, etc.

    * JRun -- a popular J2EE Server.

    * Homesite -- a great text editor that isn't as bulky as VS .NET, but is oriented toward code, unlike Notepad and Wordpad.
  • by hatless ( 8275 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @11:49AM (#4944935)
    As only one person in this whole thread seems to have noted, this isn't about Flash plugins or Cold Fusion MX. It's about cutting off Apple's air supply. Just as Apple has been buying up a few pro video and music tool companies and discontinuing the Windows versions, this would be a means for discontinuing Mac versions of some of the killer apps that are run heavily on Macs. If you can't get Flash and Dreamweaver (and to a lesser extent, Fireworks, Director, Freehand and Fontographer) for the Mac, the Mac suddenly loses at least a third of its pro user base. Lose the web designers, and you also lose the people and companies that use Macs for that and other purposes. Once they have to move web people to PCs, they'll move the Photoshop/Illustrator people to PCs, too. Then the Quark people. Poof. Within two years, the only professional uses for Macs will be video production and some music.

    Game over.
  • ...how corporate America is starting to resemble a nation wide game of Pac-Man. ;)

    OK, I gotta give some credit [centurytel.net] for that one.

  • Flash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @01:05PM (#4945558)
    I would have to think that this is mostly about Flash. Flash MX is a pretty amazing product now that it includes Flash Remoting.

    Flash Remoting is what Java applets should have been - a thick client techonology that works. Using Flash Remoting it is possible to make calls to serverside software components directly over HTTP. It's quite extrodinary to be able to invoke a method on an a server object from inside a client side script and get back a cached result set from a database. Right now Flash Remoting supporte both .Net and J2EE.

    It's obvious that integration of this with .Net (and exclusion of Java) whould be a big win for .Net. Clearly Microsoft wants this for it's own, and wants to cut out Java.

    Hopefully the FTC will put the deep six on this - it's an extremely anti-competitive merger.

  • Noooooooooo!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by veddermatic ( 143964 ) on Monday December 23, 2002 @01:27PM (#4945721) Homepage
    Today:

    Developers use Dreamweaver to wrie cross platform code taht integrates with ColdFusion (which can be installed on a variety of platfors, and can connect to a variety of DB servers) and can include Flash components which run on almost all browsers, and can get data form a HUGE variety of platform indepenant sources.

    Tomorrow:
    The Mac versions lag behind the windows versions. The Windows versions get "extended" functionality... but only if CF is running on WinXP, and the DB it connects to is MS SQL Server. You can *still* use other things, but it's a huge pain in the ass.

    Next Week:
    No more Mac versions. Flash plugin is Active-X only, and can get data only from .NET apps and CF runs only on XP, and ONLY connects to M$ SQL server.

    I can only hope Macromedia looks beyond quick cash flow and actally gives a shit about the Web. Then again, given the sad state of "profit trumps all other decisions" corporate action the US is going through... *sigh*

    PLEASE DON'T SELL YOUR SOUL TO THE DEVIL MACORMEDIA!!!

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