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Macromedia, Inc.
Company typePublic
Nasdaq: MACR
IndustryComputer software
FoundedFebruary 25, 1992; 32 years ago (1992-02-25)[1]
DefunctDecember 3, 2005; 18 years ago (2005-12-03)
FateAcquired by Adobe Systems[2]
SuccessorAdobe Systems, Inc.
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California
(incorporated under DGCL)
United States
Key people
Michael Nielsen, Co-Founder, MacroMind
Marc Canter, Founder, MacroMind,
Michael W. Allen Founder, Authorware
Bud Colligan and Tim Mott, Co-Founders, Macromedia
ProductsMacromedia ColdFusion
Macromedia Flash
Macromedia Fireworks
Macromedia Freehand
Macromedia Dreamweaver
Macromedia Director
Macromedia Authorware
Macromedia Fontographer
Macromedia Sitespring
Number of employees
1,445 (2004) (archived Dec 31, 2005)

Macromedia, Inc., was an American graphics, multimedia, and web development software company (1992–2005) headquartered in San Francisco, California, that made products such as Flash and Dreamweaver. It was purchased by its rival Adobe Systems on December 3, 2005.[3]


Macromedia originated with 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 presentations, animations, CD-ROMs and information kiosks, served as Macromedia's flagship product until the mid-1990s. Authorware was Macromedia's principal product in the interactive learning market. As the Internet moved from a university research medium to a commercial network, Macromedia began working to web-enable its existing tools and develop new products like Dreamweaver. Macromedia created Shockwave, a Director-viewer plugin for web browsers. The first multimedia playback in Netscape's browser was a Director plug-in. Macromedia licensed Sun's Java Programming Language in October 1995. By 2002, Macromedia had produced more than 20 products and had 30 offices in 13 countries.[4]


In January 1995, Macromedia acquired Altsys Corporation after Adobe Systems announced a merger with Altsys' business partner, the Aldus Corporation.[5] Altsys was the developer of the vector-drawing program FreeHand, which had been licensed by Aldus for marketing and sales. Because of the similarities with Adobe Illustrator, the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint in October 1994 ordering the divestiture of FreeHand back to Altsys.[6] 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 Fireworks.

In March 1996, Macromedia acquired iBand Software, makers of the Backstage HTML authoring tool and application server. Macromedia developed a new HTML-authoring tool, 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 acquired FutureWave Software, makers of FutureSplash Animator, in November 1996. FutureSplash Animator was an animation tool 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 Internet, 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.[7] 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

In December 1999, Macromedia acquired traffic analysis software company Andromedia Corporation. Web development company Allaire was acquired in 2001 and Macromedia added several popular servers and Web developments tools to its 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 and RoboDemo (now Adobe Captivate).


On April 18, 2005, Adobe Systems announced an agreement to acquire Macromedia in a stock swap valued at approximately $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.[8]


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. A similar suit had been filed a month earlier.[9] The class-action suit was dismissed by a federal judge on May 19, 1998.[10]

On August 10, 2000, Adobe claimed that Macromedia violated two of its patents on tabbed palettes.[11][12] 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.[13] In July 2002, Adobe and Macromedia reached an agreement that settled all claims in this series of patent suits.[14][15] Eventually, Adobe acquired Macromedia 3 years later.


  • 1992: Bud Colligan became co-founder and CEO of Macromedia, a position he held until 1997; he served as board chairman 1992–1998.[16]
  • 1994: Altsys Corp and CEO James Von Ehr became a Macromedia vice-president, a position he held until 1997.[4]
  • 1996: Robert K. Burgess was hired as President of Macromedia, and became CEO in 1997, a position he held until 2005; he served as Board Chairman 1998–2005, a position he held when the company was acquired by Adobe.[17][18]
  • 1997: Betsey Nelson became Chief Financial Officer, a position she held until Macromedia was acquired by Adobe.[19]
  • 2004: Stephen Elop became Chief Operating Officer.[20]
  • 2005: Stephen Elop had been CEO for three months when Macromedia announced it would be acquired by Adobe.[21]


Part of Adobe[edit]

Discontinued products[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ADOBE MACROMEDIA SOFTWARE LLC". OpenCorporates. May 16, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  2. ^ "Adobe to acquire Macromedia". Archived from the original on April 20, 2005. Retrieved April 18, 2005.
  3. ^ Flynn, Laurie J. (April 19, 2005). "Adobe Buys Macromedia for $3.4 Billion". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Macromedia Company History". Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  5. ^ Vadlamudi, Pardhu (November 7, 1994). Macromedia's purchase of Altsys raises questions. InfoWorld. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  6. ^ "Federal Trade Commission Decisions, Complaint 118 F." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 24, 2010. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  7. ^ Festa, Paul (August 2, 2005). "Just a Flash in the Web video pan?". ZDNet. Archived from the original on January 9, 2009. Retrieved December 26, 2008 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ "Acquisition". Adobe Systems. Archived from the original on June 2, 2007. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
  9. ^ Festa, Paul (September 4, 1997). "Investors sue Macromedia again". cNet. Archived from the original on August 29, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Murphy, Tom (May 19, 1998). "Macromedia shareholder suits dismissed 05-19-98". MarketWatch. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  11. ^ Rupley, Sebastian (May 6, 2002). "Adobe Wins User Interface Suit Against Macromedia". PC Magazine. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  12. ^ Becker, David (June 3, 2002). "Adobe wins Macromedia patent suit". CNet. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  13. ^ ComputerWire (May 13, 2002). "Macromedia wins $4.9m in Adobe patent suit". The Register. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  14. ^ Dalrymple, Jim (July 29, 2002). "Adobe, Macromedia reach agreement in Patent lawsuit". Macworld. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  15. ^ "Adobe and Macromedia settle patent lawsuits". Pinsent Masons. July 30, 2002.
  16. ^ "Bud Colligan". NNDB. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  17. ^ "Robert K. Burgess". NNDB. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  18. ^ "Profile, Robert K. Burgess". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2011 – via Internet Archive.
  19. ^ "Macromedia Names Stephen Elop Chief Executive Office; Rob Burgess Continues As Chairman". Macromedia. January 19, 2005. Archived from the original on February 14, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  20. ^ Macromedia, Inc. (July 28, 2004). "Macromedia Names Stephen Elop as Chief Operating Officer; Core Leadership Team Broadens with New Marketing and Sales Executives". Business Wire. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  21. ^ "How will Stephen Elop fare at Microsoft?". ComputerWorld. January 11, 2008. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2011.

External links[edit]