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Macromedia, Inc.
Industry Computer software
Fate Acquired[1] by Adobe Systems, Inc.
Successor(s) Adobe Systems, Inc.
Founded 1992
Defunct 2005
Headquarters San Francisco, California
(incorporated in Delaware)
United States
Key people Michael Nielsen, Co-Founder
Marc Canter, Founder
Products Macromedia ColdFusion
Macromedia Flash
Macromedia Fireworks
Macromedia Freehand
Macromedia Dreamweaver
Macromedia Director
Macromedia Authorware
Employees 1,445 (2004)

Macromedia was an American graphics and web development software company (1992–2005) headquartered in San Francisco, California that produced such products as Flash and Dreamweaver. Its rival, Adobe Systems, acquired Macromedia on December 3, 2005.


Macromedia originated in the 1992 merger of Authorware Inc. (makers of Authorware) and MacroMind-Paracomp (makers of Macromind Director).

Director, an interactive multimedia-authoring tool used to make CD-ROMs and information kiosks, served as Macromedia's flagship product until the mid-1990s. As the CD-ROM market began to decline and the World Wide Web gained in popularity, Macromedia created Shockwave, a Director-viewer plugin for web browsers, but later moved to expand its market by branching out into web-native media tools. In 1997, Keyur Patel (founder of social philanthropy fund Fuse Global) and then IT Head Stephen Elop (now CEO of Nokia) created its first web strategy which later proved to be the most valuable pivot point for Macromedia in being acquired by Adobe for multi-billion dollars. CompuServe was the first company to integrate Shockwave. In October 1995, Macromedia licensed Sun's Java Programming Language; Sun worked with Macromedia to integrate Java in Macromedia's multimedia software. By 2002 Macromedia produced more than 20 products and had 30 offices in 13 different countries.[2]


In January 1995, Macromedia acquired Altsys Corporation after Adobe Systems announced a merger with Altsys’ business partner, the Aldus Corporation.[3] Altsys was the developer of the vector-drawing program, FreeHand, which had been licensed by Aldus for marketing and sales. On account of the competition with the similar Adobe Illustrator, the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint of Adobe Systems on October 18, 1994 ordering a divestiture of FreeHand back to Altsys.[4] With Macromedia’s acquisition of Altsys, it received FreeHand thus expanding its product line of multimedia graphics software to include illustration and design graphics software. FreeHand's vector graphics rendering engine and other software components within the program would prove useful to Macromedia in the development of technologies to support its web strategy.

To jumpstart its web strategy further[citation needed], Macromedia made two acquisitions in 1996. First, Macromedia acquired FutureWave Software, makers of FutureSplash Animator, an animation tool which FutureWave Software had originally developed for pen-based computing devices. Because of the small size of the FutureSplash viewer application, it was particularly suited for download over the Web, where most users, at the time, had low-bandwidth connections. Macromedia renamed Splash to Macromedia Flash, and following the lead of Netscape, distributed the Flash Player as a free browser plugin in order to quickly gain market share. As of 2005, more computers worldwide had the Flash Player installed than any other Web media format, including Java, QuickTime, RealNetworks and Windows Media Player.[5] As Flash matured, Macromedia's focus shifted from marketing it as a graphics and media tool to promoting it as a Web application platform, adding scripting and data access capabilities to the player while attempting to retain its small footprint.

Macromedia logo used until 1997

Also in 1996, Macromedia acquired iBand Software, makers of the fledgling Backstage HTML authoring-tool and application-server. Macromedia developed a new HTML-authoring tool, Macromedia Dreamweaver, around portions of the Backstage codebase and released the first version in 1997. At the time, most professional web authors preferred to code HTML by hand using text editors because they wanted full control over the source. Dreamweaver addressed this with its "Roundtrip HTML" feature, which attempted to preserve the fidelity of hand-edited source code during visual edits, allowing users to work back and forth between visual and code editing. Over the next few years Dreamweaver became widely adopted among professional web authors, though many still preferred to hand-code, and Microsoft FrontPage remained a strong competitor among amateur and business users.

Macromedia continued on the merger and acquisition trail: in December 1999, it acquired traffic analysis software company Andromedia Corporation. Web development company Allaire was acquired in 2001 and Macromedia added several popular server and Web developments portfolio, including ColdFusion, a web application server based on the CFML language, JRun, a Java EE application server, and HomeSite, an HTML code editor that was also bundled with Dreamweaver.

In 2003, Macromedia acquired the web conferencing company Presedia and continued to develop and enhance their Flash-based online collaboration and presentation product offering under the brand Breeze. Later that year, Macromedia also acquired help authoring software company eHelp Corporation, whose products included RoboHelp & RoboDemo (Now Captivate). Many of the developers of RoboHelp went on to form MadCap Software which is a competitor in the help-authoring space.


On April 18, 2005, Adobe Systems announced an agreement to acquire Macromedia in a stock swap valued at about $3.4 billion on the last trading-day before the announcement. The acquisition took place on December 3, 2005, and Adobe integrated the company's operations, networks, and customer-care organizations shortly thereafter.[6]


On August 22, 1997, stockholders filed a class-action lawsuit in the California Superior Court in San Francisco, accusing Macromedia of misleading stockholders on the company's product success and financial health and of engaging in insider trading. A similar suit had been filed in July.[7] The class-action suit was dismissed by a federal judge on May 19th, 1998. [8]

On August 10, 2000, Adobe System Incorporated claimed that the San Francisco-based Macromedia violated two of its patents on tabbed palettes.[9] [10] Macromedia countered with a claim that Adobe infringed on Macromedia's patents for a draw-based editor for Web pages and a hierarchical structure editor for Web sites. [11] In July of 2002, Adobe and Macromedia reached an agreement that settled all claims in this series of patent suits. [12][13]


  • 1992: Bud Colligan became co-founder and CEO of Macromedia, a position he held until 1997; he served as Board Chairman 1992-1998.[14][15]
  • 1994: Altsys Corp and CEO James Von Ehr became a Macromedia vice-president, a position he held until 1997.[2]
  • 1996: Robert K. Burgess was hired as CEO of Macromedia, a position he held until 2005; he served as Board Chairman 1998-2005, a position he held when the company was acquired by Adobe.[16][17]
  • 1997: Betsey Nelson became Chief Financial Officer, a position she held until Macromedia was acquired by Adobe.[18]
  • 2004: Stephen Elop became Chief Operating Officer.[19]
  • 2005: Stephen Elop had been CEO for three months when Macromedia announced it would be acquired by Adobe.[20]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Adobe to acquire Macromedia". Retrieved 2005-04-18. 
  2. ^ a b "Macromedia Company History". Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  3. ^ Macromedia’s purchase of Altsys raises questions. InfoWorld. 1994-11-07. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  4. ^ . "Federal Trade Commission Decisions, Complaint 118 F.,". Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  5. ^ "Flash Player in 2005". ZDNet. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  6. ^ "Acquisition". Adobe Systems. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  7. ^ "Investors sue Macromedia again". cNet. 1997-09-04. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  8. ^ "Macromedia shareholder suits dismissed 05-19-98". Marketwatch, The Wall Street Journal. 1998-05-19. 
  9. ^ "Adobe, Macromedia reach agreement in Patent lawsuit". PCMag. 2002-05-06. 
  10. ^ "Adobe Wins User Interface Suit Against Macromedia". 2002-07-29. 
  11. ^ "Macromedia wins $4.9m in Adobe patent suit". PCWorld. 2002-05-13. 
  12. ^ "Adobe, Macromedia reach agreement in Patent lawsuit". PCWorld. 2002-07-29. 
  13. ^ "Adobe and Macromedia settle patent lawsuits". Pinsent Masons. 2002-07-30. 
  14. ^ "Bud Colligan". NNDB. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  15. ^ "Bud Colligan". CrunchBase. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  16. ^ "Robert K. Burgess". NNDB. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  17. ^ "Profile, Robert K. Burgess". Forbes. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  18. ^ "Macromedia Names Stephen Elop Chief Executive Office; Rob Burgess Continues As Chairman". Macromedia. January 19, 2005. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  19. ^ "Macromedia Names Stephen Elop as Chief Operating Officer; Core Leadership Team Broadens with New Marketing and Sales Executives.". Goliath Business Knowledge. July 28, 2004. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  20. ^ "How will Stephen Elop fare at Microsoft?". ComputerWorld. January 11, 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 

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