Adobe’s Figma acquisition
Adobe's track record with acquisitions is, shall we say, mixed. On the one hand, there's Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign: three industry-leading creative applications that have only become more popular since Adobe purchased them. On the other hand, there's Adobe Acrobat, primarily overshadowed by its free competitor, PDF Reader (formerly known as Adobe Reader). And then there's Adobe Flash Player, which was once the go-to tool for creating interactive web content but is now being phased out by most major browsers.
Adobe's $20 billion bet on Figma indicates that the company is serious about dominating the creative market. The move is reminiscent of Adobe's past acquisitions, such as Macromedia and its Flash software, which was once integral to the web but is now all but forgotten. In the past, Adobe has been known to buy up promising companies only to shutter their products soon after. For example, Adobe bought Nitro PDF in 2010 only to close it down less than two years later. More recently, Adobe shuttered Behance ProSite, a service that allowed users to create websites to showcase their Behance portfolios. But with Figma, Adobe is making a much bigger bet. The acquisition price tag is nearly double what Adobe paid for Behance, and Figma is a much more essential tool for many designers. The worry for many is that, with Figma under its wing, Adobe will eventually raise prices or start bundling the software with its other products in a way that makes it less attractive. Only time will tell if this acquisition will be a wise one for Adobe or if it will come to regret spending so much on a tool that could just as easily be replaced by something else in the future.
Given Adobe's history, it's not unreasonable to worry that the same fate could befall Figma. Only time will tell how this acquisition will play out. Designers can only hope that Adobe will continue to invest in Figma and allow it to flourish as a standalone product. Still, given Adobe's track record with acquisitions, there's reason to be concerned.