Users are up in arms over Adobe’s plans to purchase design startup Figma, fearing the larger company will ruin the startup’s services.
Figma has taken the design world by storm, providing web-based design tools that rival more traditional options, such as Adobe’s. The company’s offerings have even become popular within Microsoft, a long-time Adobe ally.
In the wake of Adobe’s announcement that it is purchasing Figma for $20 billion, users are already worried the deal spells the end of what made Figma special.
“Figma was a tool that gave designers superpowers. And part of the reason they did that is because they listened to what the community was asking them for,” Adam Glynn-Finnegan, a product-design lead at Netflix, told Business Insider. “I don’t think Adobe necessarily has that muscle.”
Adobe has a long history of raising prices and charging near-exorbitant prices for its design software. This has helped contribute to the rise of open source options, as well as startups like Figma that offer comparable services at prices people can afford. Many are now concerned Adobe will take the startup’s services and raise the prices to be more inline with the rest of the larger company’s offerings.
Adobe and Figma have tried to reassure users, saying the latter will remain an independent unit within Adobe. What’s more, Figma’s CEO, Dylan Field, will continue to run the unit and has said they “currently have no plan to change Figma’s pricing.”
The reassurances are not resonating with users, especially freelancers and startups that can’t afford Adobe’s software.
“Saying that people are freaking out too much comes from a place of privilege,” Mia Eltiste, a design researcher at the IBM spinoff Kyndryl, told Insider. “They can afford the subscription-based model, unlike freelancers or smaller companies, where income comes sporadically.”
Only time will tell if designers’ fears are warranted, although Adobe’s history would suggest they are. There’s also the possibility that regulators will block the deal, especially given Adobe’s dominant position within the industry.