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Macromedia buys training firm

Macromedia acquires Solis, a maker of computer managed instruction software for enterprise training and skills management.

Macromedia (MACR) announced today the acquisition of Solis Inc, a maker of CMI (Computer Managed Instruction) software for enterprise-wide training and skills management.

The San Mateo company will become part of Macromedia's Interactive Learning Division , which also develops tools for corporate and academic training.

Solis's Pathway products will be offered by Macromedia as the Pathware product line.

"The heritage of our founders and our product is here at Macromedia and it's great to be back," said Pat McKim, CEO of Solis, Inc. and now vice president of Strategic Business Development at Macromedia. "We're in a hot space with a wonderful ability to solve major problems for customers: managing CBT (computer-based training) content from many developers using open standards."

The Macromedia Pathware product line is a system for administering all forms of training including computer-based, instructor-led and distance learning. It supports both proprietary and open standards, including the AICC standard, which is the only open standard for CBT and CMI interoperability.

"This announcement represents the beginning of a new strategic initiative for Macromedia to play a greater role in the enterprise," said Jim White, general manager of Macromedia's Interactive Learning Division. "We are confident that training technology buyers will embrace an open solution that gives them choices among the various vendors of training content, development tools, and management systems."

Analysts see this move as advantageous for Macromedia. "The acquisition fills out their educational computer-based training unit," says Philip Kosta, research associate at Giga Information Group. "It is a good strategy that will allow Macromedia to provide end-to-end service rather than having to partner with other companies."

Macromedia has not disclosed the price for acquiring Solis but expects a one-time charge of about $7.5 million against earnings in the first quarter related to a write off of research and development and other costs related to the sale.

Macromedia has been plagued by legal and financial troubles in recent months. The company was hit with a class-action suit last month, and has suffered losses, layoffs, management restructuring, product delays, and a steady slide in the value of its stock since the beginning of the year.