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Macromedia was an American multimedia and web development software company (19922005) headquartered in San Francisco, California that produced such products as Flash Player and Dreamweaver. Its rival, Adobe Systems, acquired Macromedia on December 3, 2005 and now controls the line of Macromedia products.




Apple Macintosh Plus Tour Demo

Predecessor company MacroMind was originally founded as Chicago Software in Chicago, Illinois on April 16, 1984.[1][2] Much of the company's early work involved contracting for other companies. In December 1985, a customized version of VideoWorks with Tiny BASIC was licensed to Apple Computer to build training discs for their early Macintosh line. MacroMind relocated to San Francisco, California in 1989 and VideoWorks became MacroMind Director.[1][3][4]


Macromedia was formed with the merger of Authorware Inc. (makers of Authorware) and MacroMind-Paracomp that was announced in March 1992.[5] The name was derived from a proposed multimedia file format.[6] The combined company's IPO raised about US$27 million on NASDAQ on December 14, 1993.[7]

Macromedia 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 internet gained in popularity, Macromedia created Shockwave, a Director-viewer plugin for web browsers, but decided it also needed to expand its market by branching out into web-native media tools.[8]

Mergers and acquisitions[]

In January 1995, Macromedia acquired Altsys Corporation after Adobe Systems announced a merger with Altsys’ business partner, Aldus Corporation.[9] Altsys was the developer of the vector-drawing program, FreeHand, which had been licensed by Aldus for marketing and sales. Because of the competition with the similar Adobe Illustrator, the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint against Adobe Systems on October 18, 1994 ordering a divestiture of FreeHand back to Altsys.[10] 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, 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, Real Networks and Windows Media Player.[11]

Steve Jobs Macromedia 1999

Steve Jobs at Macromedia circa 1999.

Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs was received with a standing ovation during his keynote speech at the 8th annual Macromedia User Conference in October 1997, when he presented QuickTime 3.0 and VR Authoring Studio.[12] Jobs then saw Macromedia's Final Cut at the 1998 NAB Show and expressed interest in the project. Jobs had previously asked Adobe Systems to provide a consumer version of Adobe Premiere that could be bundled with the upcoming iMac DV, code named Kihei. However, as Apple had been financially struggling at the time, Adobe declined and focused Premiere on the Windows platform. In response, Apple acquired Final Cut's source code and its development team on May 4, 1998.[13][14] After Adobe later acquired Macromedia and its Flash platform,[15] Jobs denounced Flash and prevented its adoption on iOS.[16]

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.[17]

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.[15] Bruce Chizen, the CEO of Adobe at the time, stated that it was "all about growth." However, the deal was also a defensive maneuver against the influence of Microsoft, with Chizen saying, "They have a $40 billion monopoly with unlimited resources, I'll never not worry about them."[18]

Apple and Macromedia alumni[]



  1. 1.0 1.1 The Birth of MacroMind by Marc Canter, p.63. Festival Ars Electronica. 2003-08.
  2. MacroMind Inc., BizStanding. 1984-04-16.
  3. An Unofficial Brief History of Director by Luke Wigley, Lingo Workshop. 2017-01-27.
  4. No Flash in the Pan: Macromedia survives a decade by reinventing itself by Benny Evangelista, San Francisco Chronicle. 2002-05-05.
  5. Merger builds multimedia powerhouse by Jeannette Borzo, InfoWorld. 1992-03-09.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Macromind Proposes Media Format by Paul Worthington, InfoWorld, p.5. 1990-11-05.
  7. Macromedia Inc. Completes Initial Public Offering With Sale of 2,250,000 Shares of Common Stock, Macromedia. 1993-12-14. Archived 1999-09-09.
  8. Macromedia Company History. Retrieved on 2011-02-17.
  9. Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specifiedMacromedia’s purchase of Altsys raises questions. InfoWorld. (1994-11-07). Retrieved on 2011-02-11.
  10. . Federal Trade Commission Decisions, Complaint 118 F.,. Retrieved on 2011-02-11.
  11. Flash Player in 2005. ZDNet. Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  12. Jobs wows Macromedia conference crowd, ZDNet. 1997-10-10.
  13. How Final Cut Ended up at Apple: an Excerpt from John Buck's 'Timeline: a History of Editing' by Ryan Koo, No Film School. 2011-12-08.
  14. Apple buys Macromedia tools, CNET. 1998-05-04.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Adobe Completes Acquisition of Macromedia, Adobe Systems. 2005-12-05. Archived 2005-12-07.
  16. Thoughts on Flash by Steve Jobs, Apple. 2010-04-29.
  17. Macromedia buys Presedia by Dennis Sellers, Macworld. 2003-01-17.
  18. Adobe's Deal for Macromedia May Help It Fend Off Microsoft by Laurie J. Flynn, The New York Times. 2005-12-12.
  19. Inside Phil Schiller, AppleInsider. 2020-07-05.
  20. Kevin Lynch, Adobe Chief Technology Officer, To Join Apple by Poornima Gupta, Reuters, Huffington Post. 2013-05-20.

External links[]


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