It is pretty clear from the acquisition that Adobe is going to be making a major push into web media. They have tried a few times with tools like InDesign and LiveMotion to make some progress, but Macromedia has been extremely successful at fending off their attacks with Dreamweaver and Flash. As a result, Adobe has been able to rule the desktop publishing market and Macromedia has been able to rule the web content market. The mix of the two companies is going to make one hell of a powerful media creation beast. Ok, but that is the obvious stuff. Obviously anyone who buys out Macromedia wants Flash, because Flash is what Macromedia is all about. What else might this mean?
If you look at Macromedia's actions over the past year or so, it seemed pretty likely that they were looking for a buyer. They were gradually buying up smaller companies to add to their arsenal and make themselves more attractive to potential buyers. Choosing eHelp and Presedia as acquisitions tells me that perhaps Adobe is interested in making some moves into the super hot eLearning market. Right now, all Adobe really has going for them is PDF--which is a pretty darn valueble assest, but is really more suited for the web of the past than the web of the future. PDF was great when web pages were static, but web pages aren't static anymore and PDFs are boring these days. The next generation web is all about media, and that is where Flash comes into the picture. eHelp and Presedia were two companies in the front of the eLearning pack, and the timing of these two acquisitions is just too close to mean nothing. However, this also means that eHelp / Presedia customers are in for even more fun as their products all get jumbled up in yet another acquisition. Even Macromedia didn't continue to support all of eHelp's products...
For designers, this acquisition is definately a good thing. They get the best of both worlds as Macromedia and Adobe tag team anyone who attempts to challenge them. Developers, on the other hand, may not have it so lucky. What is to become of Cold Fusion? What about Flex? One of my long-standing complaints about Macromedia is that they don't understand developers. Surely this isn't going to be helped by Macromedia merging with an even more designer centric company. I definately trust the management at Adobe a bit more than Macromedia's management, but you can't help but realize that Adobe really doesn't have a lot of experience with developer centric software. Personally, I would have much rather seen Microsoft acquire Macromedia and give us some kick-ass next generation web tools, but they are too focused on Avalon and XAML right now, so we'll have to leave that to the Xamlon guys or get everyone running Avalon so we can deliver the stuff natively.
In any case, one thing is certain, watching this play out is going to be very interesting.