Macromedia was a North American graphics and Web development software house headquartered in San Francisco, California producing such products as Macromedia Flash. The line of Macromedia products is now controlled by its former rival, Adobe Systems, which acquired Macromedia on December 3, 2005.
Director, an interactive multimedia authoring tool widely used to make CD-ROMs and information kiosks, was 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 decided it also needed to expand its market by branching out into web-native media tools.
To jumpstart its web strategy further, the company made two acquisitions in 1996. First, Macromedia acquired FutureWave Software, makers of FutureSplash Animator, an animation tool originally designed 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. 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.
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 M&A trail and, in December 1999, it acquired traffic analysis software company Andromedia. Web development company Allaire was acquired in 2001 and Macromedia added several popular server and Web development products to its portfolio, including ColdFusion, a web application server based on the CFML language, JRun, a J2EE application server, and HomeSite, an HTML code editor that was also bundled with Dreamweaver.
In 2003, Macromedia acquired 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 was consummated on December 3, 2005, and the companies' operations, networks, and customer care organizations were integrated shortly thereafter.
For the future of Macromedia please look to Adobe Systems for more information about the new structures of Adobe/Macromedia.