Adobe CS3 Master Edition Box I was originally skeptical of the Adobe/Macromedia merger. I saw another case of a larger company buying a smaller company purely to stifle competition, usually by killing those pesky competing products. Promises of greater synergy that usually pepper the press releases associated with these mergers are usually unfounded.

Not quite two years later, I’m a convert. I just received my copy of the Adobe Creative Suite 3, Master Collection. This package includes the key Adobe and former Macromedia products for image production, vector-based illustration, layout-intensive print production, Web content development, Flash authoring and production, as well as video and audio editing. Twelve major products in all, plus some ancillary goodies.

It’s notable that Adobe has chosen to maintain and improve Dreamweaver over GoLive. To call Dreamweaver a Web authoring tool is a massive understatement. Perhaps Web development environment is more appropriate. Dreamweaver was always a step or two (or three) ahead of GoLive in feature set and capabilities, and Adobe made the right choice here.

It’s all here — in on package, one installer. I suspect it’s not lost on the Adobe bean-counters that the cost of this suite is comparable to the cost of a computer with the required hardware to run it. Separately, however, the cost of these products would be several times that of the suite price.

I see similar synergy in Adobe’s technical communication products. FrameMaker for conventional and XML-based authoring and publishing, RoboHelp for online help development, Captivate for animations, tutorials, and simulations, and Acrobat for review, collaboration, approval, and distribution. Adobe can now cover a wide range of capabilities for technical communicators. And Adobe product managers are speaking of increasing cross-product integration. It will be interesting to see where this goes.