I thought this was a joke at first, but it appears that Adobe really is buying competitor Macromedia.Ironically, the app that really put Macromedia on the map (before Flash) was Freehand, which was an old Aldus product that Adobe sold off when it bought the creator of Pagemaker.
This pretty much eliminates the only viable competition for Illustrator. I don’t know that anyone considered Fireworks a viable competitor to Photoshop or not. But essentially, when it comes to desktop publishing, the only companies left to compete with Adobe are Quark (who only have one viable product) and what’s left of Corel.
If I were the FTC, I would force Adobe to sell off its competing products, although I don’t know if Quark would want them, and Corel already has its line of graphics apps, although Macromedia’s are generally better respected. But since the current administration loves big business, probably what will happen is either the competing products will be discontinued or dummied down into consumer-level products.
I think the software industry is already consolidated more than it needs to be, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen an acquisition actually result in a better product. But we’ll see what happens this time.