So far, it seems to me the advantage we've gotten from Adobe buying Macromedia is a little better integration between flash, illustrator, and Photoshop and the 'advantage' of having most of the major design aps one might use looking similar now that a single company owns them all. However, the price advantage of a 'suite' is beginning to seem questionable to me. Yes, there is an initial savings in buying a huge bundle of aps over buying them all separately the first time you get all the full applications. Now that I'm locked into the suite, the real cost of useful significant upgrades has to date, skyrocketed in real terms for me personally (key words 'useful' and 'significant'). Adobe makes a major update to one (maybe 2 aps) at a time and minor tweaks to others + global UI changes, charges to upgrade the whole suite and tells us we're getting a great discount because they're all bundled.
Last time around, the new things in DreamWeaver presented an upgrade I really wanted. Everything else was (for me) insignificant as a whole. In essence I had to pay $700 to get the upgrade I really wanted because it was part of the suite I'm locked into when before it would have cost me $200-$300 for DW alone. If the new animation model in Flash brings a more typical useful timeline like in AfterEffects or the one used in LiveMotion (Adobe's long defunct competitor to Macromedia's Flash) I'll welcome it. Or, if it brings something like Apple Motion's non-linear approach, I'd like that too. The updates to the other applications don't seem to me to be worthy of more than a ".x" release. So again, I'll have to pay 700 bucks to get an upgrade for one application I might want and for tweaks to others I could take or leave. I'm beginning to see the advantage of the 'suite' model of pricing. That is, it's an advantage for Adobe. Real significant increases in either function, integration, ease of use, added features or all of the above for EVERY product in the suite (or even more than 1 or 2) would be something I could live with. Instead Adobe appears to have chosen the suite as a way to rip us off at least in part. In Adobe's defense, trying to have major updates to every product they make in a 12-18 month cycle seems like a herculean task. But other than their own bean counters, who's demanding that? I can certainly see why they want us to buy a new product from them every 12-18 months but I don't want them to twist my arm to get me to go along with it. It would be a lot easier to drink that particular cool aid if it wasn't so obviously watered down. I hope I'll have to eat my words about the latest CS4 update.
As much as Adobe uses the term 'integration' in their marketing, there are still a few major holes. For one, click an image in DreamWeaver to edit it. It doesn't automatically open the image in Photoshop/Fireworks/Illustrator (which ever it was created in or last saved from). I still have to find the original image manually. If you work with a lot of small subtle images mixed with CSS design to build a web page, cut a page design automatically using slices, or mix and match elements from different aps, this is a significant oversight. Finding one image numerically named from slices among a long list of files in the 'images' folder is a pain. Trying to name a high number of web images in a way that lets you quickly identify each by name alone is also difficult. Adobe has launch to edit graphic in original program feature for InDesign, they can do it for DreamWeaver. Where is the added integration we're supposed to be getting? Also, Adobe ignored Director for 4 years. I can't use anything after Flash 5 in Director. Flash animations played from within Director are so slow as to be unusable. I can't import illustrator art to Director even though it supports vector art natively. I wouldn't attempt to create anything other than primary shapes with Director's native tools. Maybe all this is fixed in Director 11 but that does me no good unless I buy a new intel mac because Director 11 is not available for PPC. Let's see, Adobe wants me to buy the upgrade for CS4, buy the upgrade for Director AND buy a new computer so I can run Director 11. Given the current economy, this is SUCH a great time for that kind of cash outlay. Since Adobe won't allow Flash content to be played via a standalone player on disc without forcing your users to address Adobe's stupid security warning, you still need Director if you want to create that type of content. Adobe should just go ahead and incorporate all the features now unique to Director into Flash; allow Flash to generate a projector file that doesn't need to be played over a web server; and get rid of Director all together. That way Adobe wouldn't have to maintain 2 applications that have some overlapping use and some unique use, and ignoring one in favor of another. They could offer a "pro" version of Flash that absorbs Director at an appropriately higher price for those who still need it (and there are still quite a few) without making them the bastard step children they've been since Adobe bought Macromedia.
I also think Adobe should get rid of the suite approach and offer a tiered non-specific volume discount. For instance, buy 2-4 (or whatever) any mix and match full applications and get a discountsame thing for upgrades no matter which ones you group together at any given time. Then offer a better discount if you buy a greater number of applications or upgrades for any of your choice of applications, and so on. They'll make more money per unit on those who want to upgrade one or a few applications at a time without making them pay an inflated upgrade price for the suite. The result would be less people skipping upgrades because they'll have the option to pay a smaller sum than the cost to upgrade all at once as a whole (but at less of a per unit discount) or paying a higher lump some for buying more upgrades at once (but at a better volume discount and lower cost per upgrade). IMO, unless Adobe addresses some of these things to offset the positives we've lost from having competition in the market evaporate, people will jump ship in higher numbers than they might otherwise do when the day eventually arrives another company comes along to challenge Adobe (nature abhors a vacuum). Apple, does this give you any ideas?