For Some Figma Fans, Adobe Deal Triggers Fears Over Innovation, Pricing

Adobe Inc.’s

deliberate acquisition of collaboration software program maker Figma has sparked concern amongst its tightknit neighborhood of customers.

After Adobe introduced it might purchase the corporate for $20 billion in money and inventory final week, Figma customers mentioned they’re frightened about potential pricing modifications and a slowdown in innovation on the platform. Some in contrast it to Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia in 2005, which finally resulted within the discontinuation of among the web-development software program supplier’s key merchandise.

“I think people are a bit worried that Figma might go the same way,” mentioned Tadhg McCarthy, chief design officer at digital product consulting agency Elsewhen.

Figma has a loyal buyer base of digital creators that appreciates its worth accessibility, the tempo at which it rolls out new options and the way responsive it’s to neighborhood suggestions. Figma’s starter plan is free to make use of. In lots of cases, customers converted to it from Adobe merchandise for these causes.

Tadhg McCarthy, chief design officer at Elsewhen.



Photograph:

Elsewhen

Figma and Adobe, which is thought for merchandise like Photoshop and Illustrator, mentioned they plan to maintain these components and permit Figma to proceed working autonomously underneath the deal. Each firms mentioned they’re conscious of consumer issues and hope they will show them fallacious within the coming months and years.

“The first impression was probably apprehension,” mentioned Elsewhen’s Mr. McCarthy, “and just concern that we’ll end up with a tool that takes on the same speed and the same kind of bloat as we were used to back when Adobe was the tool of choice.”

Elsewhen mentioned it began utilizing Figma in 2019, and since then it has turn out to be the collaborative hub of the complete firm, changing quite a few present instruments.

The worry is “not necessarily that it’s going to get worse, it’s that it’s just not going to get better anymore,” Mr. McCarthy mentioned. He added that when Adobe acquired Macromedia, these instruments, whereas not excellent, had been nonetheless innovating. That innovation stalled submit acquisition and among the instruments, together with Flash, had been finally discontinued.

Scott Belsky,

chief product officer of Adobe Artistic Cloud, mentioned the corporate is proudly owning the truth that there are issues it has and hasn’t accomplished nicely associated to earlier acquisitions. Whereas the Macromedia deal was almost 20 years in the past, Mr. Belsky pointed to newer acquisitions, akin to Behance and Body.io, which are nonetheless alive and thriving.

Chris Marsh, analysis director at S&P World Market Intelligence, mentioned that customers’ issues, whereas legitimate given Adobe’s historical past, are in all probability slightly overblown. He added that Adobe has sufficient sense to not do what it has accomplished with earlier acquisitions, partially due to the large price ticket.

“You wouldn’t acquire a competitor for $20 billion just to essentially not have that competitor anymore,” Mr. Marsh mentioned.

Figma mentioned it has hosted city halls on Twitter aimed toward addressing among the neighborhood issues across the acquisition. Since final week, the social media website has turn out to be a well-liked discussion board for Figma customers to voice their worries.

“I saw quite a few concerns that the prices are gonna be raised,” mentioned Stewart Scott-Curran, the senior director of name at video-messaging firm Loom, a Figma buyer. He added, although, that “there’s probably some wiggle room to bring the prices up a little bit and still have it be a very accessible price point.”

Mr. McCarthy mentioned that Elsewhen pays three to 4 instances extra for Adobe merchandise than it does for Figma merchandise. At the moment the corporate has two Adobe licenses and 49 Figma licenses, he mentioned.

If Figma worth factors approached among the present worth factors for Adobe merchandise, “our costs would go through the roof,” mentioned Mr. McCarthy.

“Recognizing that we are in an unpredictable, inflationary environment, we currently have no plan to change Figma’s pricing,” a Figma spokesperson mentioned.

Based on Fons Mans, a designer based mostly within the Netherlands, “People are mostly afraid to lose that community aspect.” He mentioned that there are examples of different Adobe acquisitions, together with Behance, the place the neighborhood slowly grew to become much less lively.

“People are afraid that the same is bound to happen with Figma,” he mentioned.

Each Adobe and Figma mentioned that the sturdy neighborhood component is a part of what made Figma so helpful and enticing to Adobe they usually hope it will probably stay.

“I do think that we can continue to have this amazing community, but I think it’s something that we have to prove,” mentioned Yuhki Yamashita, Figma’s chief product officer. “Now is our time to show them.”

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Write to Isabelle Bousquette at Isabelle.Bousquette@wsj.com

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