working in a consolidated universe

In her post about the >play Digital Media conference Anne mentioned the keynote by Shantanu Narayen, COO of Adobe. For me the most interesting thing to contemplate is the likely merger of Macromedia with Adobe (dubbed Macrodobe by some in the press and everybody in audience). When this happens Adobe will own two of the most ubiquitous formats that extend beyond text – PDF and Flash. Narayen was charming and thoughtful but made it quite clear that his vision of an “open standard” was “more like a benevolent dictatorship.” They intend to own the standard and manage it in a way that facilitates innovation. Whether their style of ownership extends to the challenges all of us will face to preserve digital media created in these formats is an open question. It seems to me that this merger might present a chance for our community to assert a connection between Macrodobe’s opportunity and their responsibility to culture, research, and history.

P.S. Narayen took a lot of critical comment about the bloated, slow performance of Reader 6.0 with good grace. He urged everybody to download 7.0. Some did and gave him on the spot feedback that it was better. He responded that one of his hopes for the merger was that “Macromedia engineers would put Adobe engineers on a diet.”