BIG STINKY NEWS (Maybe): Figma Acquired for $20B
Figma got PAID. We’re talking cash, moolah, guap, cheddar…you get it. If you didn’t hear already, Figma, our beloved ‘everyman’s design software’ was acquired by big business, suit wearing, bottom-line thinking Adobe for 20 billion, with a B, dollars.
What does that mean for you, the community, and everyone in between? Let’s find out.
First some back story.
Adobe, everyone knows them from Photoshop, to Lightroom, to the PDF reader your parents don’t know how to use. They’re not doing so hot. Market valuations were down close to half, where they are trading at $144ish billion from the historical high of $300ish billion.
So, the Adobe suits decided, “Hey, let’s just buy the competition” (insert Figma and stupid head nodding around an obnoxiously long conference table in a really expensive office suite). You know what we mean.
That’s not the story though.
The story is the potential impact on the design community. Or perhaps, the entire corner of the market Figma had essentially stolen – fair and square. Figma counts nearly 4 million unique users which include developers, designers, marketers, and even project managers. Brands who use them range from Dropbox, Slack to even Volvo.
Of course those giant names won’t be affected, they are fine with what may come next. But the everyday user, the freelancer or beginner, they have a lot to consider.
Dylan Field, the Co-founder and CEO of Figma released a blog about the acquisiton here, and those considerations were addressed. Well kind of. Its starts with a bunch of fluff about how happy they are, how great Adobe is, thanking everyone and yadda yadda yadda…we get it. You just got paid.
He actually annotates – numerically – two main considerations: 1. Figma has the opportunity for huge growth. 2. Adobe is committed to keeping Figma autonomous.
Okay, let’s talk this out.
#1 was obvious and doesn’t really need to be said. The $20B price tag says it all. Field does mention the platforms potential to combine technology, which is awesome, being able to merge the suites seems like it will be a really cool final product. #2 is where we should automatically assume someone’s pants are on fire. Actively on fire. Here’s why:
- We know Adobe is financially the same place Facebook was before Instagram’s acquisition. Relevant but struggling with a distinct and plateauing user base.
- We know Figma was piling in investment after investment and user after user.
- Therefore, we can assume Adobe will let Figma be anything but autonomous considering their viability is directly connected to Figma’s continued success.
So, everyday users…why do you care?
Do me a favor: Google “Adobe,” go to their site, and then click compare plans. You’ll see an ecommerce platform where you can subscribe to any software they provide for anywhere from $9.99/mo, all the way to sacrificing your first born child for a life time subscription. That’s what we call a Faustian Bargain.
Ok, now do this: Google “Figma” and you will be met with this glorious landing page:
Did Figma break up with us?
I know, most people will be cool with paying a small price for a great service. Hopefully, no really hopefully, Adobe doesn’t screw that up. That’s the million dollar, rub the magic 8-ball, question: will this all come together? Or will this be another annoying, corporate apparatus that spits out software for the masses with financial incentives in mind?
Will there be countless beginners and project managers dissuaded from even beginning because accessibility is gone? We won’t ever truly know until all the chips fall, but it’s a crappy thought that makes me sad.
Also, I wish I had $20B.
Figma or no Figma, we gotcha
We use Figma, we love it, and we don’t want it to change. But if it does, we have an answer for it and just like Allstate – you’re in good hands.
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