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Macromedia nabs training toolmaker

The software company says it has bought Presedia, a privately held company that specializes in developing online learning and presentation programs.

Software maker Macromedia announced Thursday its acquisition of Presedia, a privately held company that specializes in presentation and online learning software.

San Francisco-based Macromedia, which makes Web design and development software, said in a statement that Presedia's products would complement its push to deliver more useful Web applications and services. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Presedia's main product, Express, is an application for delivering multimedia presentations and educational content online using Flash, Macromedia's widely installed animation player. Express takes presentations developed in applications such as Microsoft's PowerPoint and converts them into compact files--complete with audio--that can easily be shared over the Internet.

"The whole idea here is that we're just really intent on moving the experience on the Internet to the next level, and this is a really good example of doing that," Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess said. "This is an example where regular businesspeople have a tool that's really easy to use and lets (them) really harness the power of the Web.

"In today's time, when people don't want to travel and companies want to cut down on expenses, this is a great way to take advantage of the Internet," he said.

Kevin Lynch, founder and president of Presedia (no relation to Kevin Lynch, chief software architect at Macromedia), said the company has been an avid supporter of the Flash format. "Once the Flash API (application programming interface) opened up, that's what we focused on," he said. "It's by far the best delivery vehicle for what we're doing. It's lightweight, everybody's got it (and) it's really flexible and robust."

Express will fall under Macromedia's new Information Convenience division, a category for products aimed at nontechnical workers. The unit's first product, Contribute, is a streamlined Web publishing tool intended to allow Web sites to operate more efficiently.

Macromedia will immediately assume sales and support duties for Express, offering a hosted version that Macromedia will sell as a Web service as well as a standalone version for companies that want to host the site themselves.

Presedia founders Lynch and Keith Kitani will join Macromedia's management team.