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Macromedia expands on Net

Macromedia acquires FutureWave Software in an effort to expand its Internet offerings.

Macromedia (MACR) announced today that it has acquired FutureWave Software in an effort to expand its Internet offerings.

The acquisition will allow Macromedia to fill out its family of multimedia authoring tools. The company will gain control of FutureWave's FutureSplash Animator, a low-end multimedia authoring tool, and a corresponding browser plug-in that allows users to play back animations.

The authoring tool will be renamed Macromedia Flash, and the plug-in will be incorporated into the company's family of Shockwave players.

Macromedia virtually dominates the high-end multimedia design market with its $929 Director authoring tool. The company's Shockwave for Director plug-in, which allows users to view Director movies, is also popular among users.

But Flash will give the company a better toehold in the low-end multimedia design market. Today, the company said that it will offer Flash for $249 and that the tool is ideally suited for creating smaller vector-based animations, buttons, and graphics.

"The basic message is that we are really extending Shockwave and making it the multimedia solution for everyone whether you want to create small, fast Web animations, or creating games, puzzles prototypes, CD-ROM hybrids, and simulations," said Ben Dillon, Shockwave product manager.

Dillon said Macromedia will offer the Flash player as a separate plug-in from the Shockwave for Director player. He said Macromedia will extend its existing bundling arrangements for Shockwave with Microsoft, Netscape Communications, and America Online to include the Flash Player.

The company's would not disuss financial details of the acquisition. The acquisition is a tax-free, stock-for-stock merger that will be accounted for as a pooling of interests.