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November 26, 2003

Business News: Blogging Goes Corporate

This year, Macromedia -- the company that makes Flash and Shockwave -- has posted a $305 million quarterly loss, laid off 110 people and lost a $2.8 million copyright infringement suit to Adobe.

But for all the company's apparent troubles, in the last week there's been a lot of good feeling directed toward the firm, with people saying that Macromedia is one of the few companies to appreciate the new topography of the Web. Not only has the company started to tailor its software to the needs of people who run their own weblogs, but it's also dived headlong into the much-hyped "blogosphere" itself, setting up its own weblogs as a way to nurture ties with its customers.

Macromedia calls this "the blog strategy," and some see the company's moves as the start of a trend. These days, it's almost unfashionable for a self-respecting Webophile to not have his own blog; if Macromedia's effort is any indication, soon a tech company that doesn't embrace weblogs may seem equally dated.

(For the uninitiated, a weblog, or blog is a frequently updated website of personal ideas, thoughts, musings, news, information, or discussions of what one has eaten for breakfast.) Late last month, when Macromedia released new versions of four of its applications, it expected that its customers would have lots of questions about how to use the new stuff, said Tom Hale, the company's vice president in charge of developer relations.

Macromedia's software -- Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Cold Fusion -- builds and maintains websites, and the many new features in such complex applications can take some time to get used to.

"We were releasing a tremendous amount of software to the Web," Hale said, "and you pretty much don't know what's going to happen when you release that much that quickly."

The firm needed a way to quickly respond to questions developers might have as they use the new products -- and although some at Macromedia thought about creating a blog on Macromedia's site to address customers' questions, "we decided to experiment with the (third-party) blogs," Hale said.

Sites of interest: Business Blog

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Source: Wired News

Posted by karan at November 26, 2003 11:41 PM
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