When Adobe Systems (408/536-6000,
) announced in January that it was buying GoLive Systems, maker of the popular GoLive CyberStudio Web authoring package, many industry analysts asked, “What took them so long?” But for loyal CyberStudio users, excitement about the acquisition has to be mixed with some trepidation.
The deal appears to make sense. CyberStudio users tend to be professional designers and developers, the same folks who rely on such Adobe products as Photoshop, Illustrator, and ImageReady. Adobe’s only foray into HTML editing is PageMill, a consumer-level tool that has long been eclipsed by CyberStudio, Macromedia’s Dreamweaver software, and other packages.
Adobe’s track record with PageMill is raising fears among CyberStudio boosters that their favorite Web tool will get short shrift. Once the toast of the Mac Web design crowd, PageMill stalled when Adobe turned its attention to creating a Windows version. The result was a dated Mac program that couldn’t handle many of the hottest new Web innovations.
CyberStudio loyalists are understandably concerned that Adobe will again turn its attention to the Windows market and deprive Mac users of a top-notch Web design tool. There’s no doubt that Adobe will offer a Windows version of CyberStudio: GoLive was working on one even before the Adobe deal went through.
Nevertheless, Adobe marketing vice president Bruce Chizen says that Adobe has learned the lesson of PageMill and recognizes the need to keep CyberStudio as a Web design counterpart to its other professional-level software packages. A cross-platform presence could even offer unexpected advantages for CyberStudio users: many Web authors who prefer CyberStudio were forced to use Macromedia’s Dreamweaver when their organizations insisted on purchasing a cross-platform product. Adobe has not said when the program will be available on Windows.
CyberStudio’s development team in Hamburg, Germany, will continue to develop the software as Adobe employees, and GoLive CEO Andreas Politza will join Adobe as an Internet-strategy consultantboth signs that Adobe intends to exploit GoLive’s Net savvy, not crush it.
PageMill’s future is also up in the air. Chizen and Politza say they will compare the technologies in PageMill and CyberStudio and decide whether Adobe needs a consumer-level Web design tool. Their choices? Merge the two programs, continue selling PageMill as a low-end product, or kill PageMill and offer an entry-level version of CyberStudio similar to GoLive’s current $99 CyberStudio Personal Edition.