*** RYAN TATE: Shocking secrets--revealed! ***





Professional bio

Media appearences



Weblog archive



Contact info

RSS feed

PGP key

415.640.6119 mobile

415.288.4968 office

510.548.4576 home

Home address and map

My building

AIM: ryantatedotcom

Recent San Francisco Business Times stories

Table set at Ferry Building (Jun. 6)

S.F. out to rattle chains (May. 30)

S.F. plan sets goal of 10,000 homes (Jun. 27)

Stanford's new senior class (Jun. 13)

Is San Francisco's housing crisis over? (Jun. 20)

Stanford Shopping Center on block (May. 23)

Insurers locking up condos (May. 23)

Developer makes bold housing play (May. 16)

Williams-Sonoma revs web (May. 9)

Residential Real Estate Deals of the Year (May. 9)

More ...

Recent personal essays

Private property (Oct. 8)

Blogs I read

Anne and her Cheese Diaries





David Warsh

Dave Winer


Philip Greenspun

Joel Spolsky

Monday, April 18, 2005

Weblog pioneer Dave Winer today posted a "who cares" reaction to a major tech industry deal, Adobe's purchase of Macromedia, along with a link to his old 2001 essay The Web is a Writing Environment. As a former Upside.com and Business 2.0 tech reporter turned into a more traditional reporter, I had some thoughts.

As usual, Dave was spot-on way back in 2001 with regard to the Web and the old media. His was a very prescient essay. Only today does Rupert Murdoch, ahead of the pack as usual, start to grok its message, and still the other publishers are pretty clueless. And, no, buying About.com, Slate and Topix.net at vastly inflated prices does not significantly change that cluelessness.

What surprises me is that Adobe and Macromedia -- Bay Area software companies -- don't seem to get it either. Adobe is the second largest software company in the country, last time I checked, although you have to disqualify Google and Yahoo which probably isn't fair.

More than ten years after the Web really took off, there is still not an easy general-purpose writing tool from Adobe or anyone else. It's fantastic that we have Radio and Movable Type and Blogger. But none of those are the Microsoft Word of Web writing. Or the Compaq of ISPs.

When my brother wants to make a personal home page with his acting headshots and resume and some personal notes and photos, I have nowhere to direct him. When my friend wants to assemble a wedding website, I don't know what to tell her. The restaurants and real estate developers and brokers and politicians and governments I write about in the newspaper every week either go without a Web presence or hire someone else to build something unwieldy that is infrequently if ever updated. The upshot is a weaker Web and less information for everyday people.

Web publishing is still rarefied. Macromedia has the most popular shrinkwrapped software product, Dreamweaver, but that's not an easy enough product and it doesn't know about the Web or broader Internet in a meaningful way, as a blogging tool might. The blogging products are great for blogging, but they need to make it easy to publish generally as it is to publish a weblog.

The bottom line is a huge market opportunity for Adobe, maker of great products like Photoshop and PageMaker and now DreamWeaver. But they have not addressed the Wide part of World Wide Web for a long time so I'm not sure they ever will. Dave's apathy is probably well placed, unfortunately.

More updates