August 24, 2005

The Killing’s Gotta Stop

Has anyone else had enough of these “Microsoft Acrylic is the [Photoshop/Flash/Illustrator/FreeHand/Fireworks/etc.] Killer!” articles? Is the technology press so bored that they have to invent conflicts?

If I were Microsoft, I’d be deflecting these assertions like crazy. Why? Because they set unrealistic, misleading expectations that end up reflecting poorly on new products.

Background: When InDesign 1.0 was in development, it got dubbed by some Adobe’s “Quark Killer.” (This was before my time here, so I don’t know the origin of the phrase, but I do know that I’ve never heard anyone here use it.) When the 1.0 product shipped and didn’t “kill” an app that had been established for more than a decade, it was assumed to be a failure. Well, 5+ years later, InDesign is doing just fine, thanks.

It’s also false to assume that new apps need or want to kill others. I was a Flash developer in the late ’90s, so when Adobe offered me the chance to work on LiveMotion, I jumped at the chance. Did I want to “kill” Flash? Of course not! I enjoyed working with the format enough that I wanted to make the ecosystem of authoring tools bigger and better. But hey, sure enough, LiveMotion got dubbed the “Flash Killer,” setting up conflict and disappointment. (And now, that unfortunate moniker has now passed to another unreleased product.)

So, back to the subject at hand. I think Macromedia’s John Dowdell said it well: of course Microsoft will create tools to target its next-gen OS; it’s not a zero-sum game; and different strokes serve different folks.

As Max Fischer would say, “The killin’s gotta stop, ese.”

Posted by John Nack at 9:41 AM on August 24, 2005
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