Macromedia shakes things up with Studio 8 release

Macromedia says the upcoming release of its Studio 8 suite of Web design applications will shake the world.“We’ve got a number of new areas which are ground-breaking innovations and industry firsts that will allow people to do things on the Web that weren’t possible before,” said Jim Guerard, vice-president of product management for the tools division.
It’s the first release of Studio, which includes upgrades of Flash Professional, Dreamweaver and Fireworks, since Macromedia was bought by Adobe in May for US$3.4 million. However, until the deal officially closes in the fall the two companies are operating separately.
Studio 8 — which will ship in mid-September — differs significantly from previous editions. FreeHand, an illustration application that competes with Adobe’s Illustrator, has been dropped. But it will continue to sell and support the product, he said.
Being added to the suite are Contribute, a Web content management application, and Flash Paper, which converts files into Flash or PDF documents, he said, because users said they wanted more product maintenance and administration tools.
The suite continues to be available in Windows and Macintosh versions.
As always, a new release of Studio is accompanied with an update to the free Flash Player, whose new capabilities can be take advantage by developers of through Flash 8.
Online video has been improved with a new codec, the display of text has been improved with a new text rendering engine while new runtime capabilities let creators add drop shadows and blurs to video.
Dreamweaver will now let designers create guides and zoom into layouts as design aids. Productivity improvements include a coding tool bar, the ability to collapse code and to do background file transfers while working.
Rob Nascimben, country manager for Macromedia Canada, said the changes he instituted last year in the channel has seen a dramatic spike in the subsidiary’s indirect revenue. In its last quarter more than 50 per cent of sales went through the channel. Macromedia Canada inside sales reps, who in the past sold directly to end users, now have to take all deals $10,000 or less to the channel.
The company will only sell one version of Studio 8, to avoid what it said was confusion in selling versions with Flash and Flash Professional. Full price of Studio 8 with Flash Pro will be US$999.
Macromedia is also changing the upgrade policy for these products. Until now users could only upgrade from the previous two versions of the software. With the release of the new versions users of any previous Studio suite or of the individual applications will be able upgrade at the special price. The Studio 8 upgrade is priced at US$399.

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