[NPL] Macromedia Debuts Flash 4
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[NPL] Macromedia Debuts Flash 4

For Immediate Release

MACROMEDIA DEBUTS FLASH 4 FOR DISTINCTIVE, FULL SCREEN WEB EXPERIENCES

MP3 Streaming Audio, Powerful Interactivity, and Workflow
Enhancements Make Flash the Optimal Solution for High-Impact,
Bandwidth-Efficient Sites

San Francisco, Calif.-Macromedia International User Conference '99 -
May 24, 1999 - Macromedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: MACR) today unveiled a new
version of its popular Flash(TM) authoring software. First introduced
in 1996, Flash has become the standard for creating high-impact
vector based Web sites that deliver sound, interactivity, graphics
and animations and perform flawlessly across multiple browsers and
platforms. Many leading companies, including Citibank, PepsiCola,
DaimlerChrysler, and Nestle are using Flash to create beautiful Web
sites that effectively communicate their brands.

Flash 4 opens new design possibilities with enhancements such as
integrated support for high-fidelity MP3 streaming audio and commands
for easily creating personalized sites with sophisticated
interactivity. In addition, Flash 4 dramatically streamlines the
development process with a revamped authoring environment optimized
to help developers create high-impact Web sites that combine the
production values of television with the immediacy of the Internet.

In a related announcement today, Macromedia announced a Free Source
licensing program for the Flash Player code, speeding its
incorporation into the next generation of Web-enabled appliances.
(See accompanying release, "Macromedia announces Free Flash Player
Source Code.") The Flash file format (.swf) is already an open
standard so that any vendor can create software applications that
output Flash files.

The Flash Player currently ships with all major Web browsers and
operating systems (including Netscape Navigator 4.0.6 and higher,
Windows 98, Internet Explorer 4 and 5, AOL 4, Mac OS 8 and above,
Real Player G2, Web TV, and all Liberate Technologies set top boxes)
making Flash the most viewable rich media format on the Internet.
Over 77 percent of Web consumers can already view Flash content
without having to download any plug-ins, according to a recent third
party study.

MP3 Audio, Sophisticated Interactivity Enhance Web Experience MP3
streaming audio support in Flash 4 allows designers to create new Web
audio applications, such as long-form animations with voiceovers and
background music, while keeping files small enough for efficient,
low-bandwidth delivery.

Newly introduced support for text entry fields in Flash 4 allows
developers to create more attractive and better integrated Web forms,
applications, and e-commerce front ends. Sites can now easily gather
customer data from within Flash-based Web pages, and then pass that
information to a Web server. Flash offers extensive control over how
user-entered information is displayed, allowing designers to create
richly interactive Web sites without sacrificing aesthetic control.

Flash 4 takes interactivity a step further, with an enhanced set of
Actions that allow Flash developers to create interactive interfaces
and distinctive Web applications without needing to do any
programming. New Actions in Flash 4 enable sophisticated behaviors
such as draggable interface elements, conditional logic, and basic
mathematics, simplifying the creation of Web shopping cart
applications, for example.

"With Flash 4, Macromedia has brought Flash to a level where it
stands completely on it own," said Josh Ulm, Design Director at
Quokka Sports. " Macromedia has found a way to balance what makes
Flash conceptually unique with what makes applications intuitive,
smart and easier to use. Combine that with fact that the Flash Source
is now free, and the development platform suddenly becomes wide open.
For Quokka, that means complete control in authoring the experience
while providing our sports fans with the most easily accessible and
visually intense content on the Web." Quokka Sports is a digital
sports entertainment company based in San Francisco, California.

A Fast, Professional Development Environment The Flash 4 authoring
interface has been revamped to make creating distinctive Flash sites
faster and easier. Improvements include new Inspector palettes and
drawing tools, as well as simplified layer management so that
creating original content in Flash is more intuitive. An optimized
Timeline and smart motion guides streamline the process of creating
animations; and an improved Library palette with sorting, grouping,
and usage tracking capabilities eases asset management. Finally, a
new Publish command outputs the range of Flash-supported formats
-including multiple versions of HTML, compressed bitmaps, and even
the new QuickTime 4-with a single mouse-click.

"Flash 4 was indispensable to us in creating the interface for
shockwave.com," said Fabrice Florin, vice president of online
entertainment at Macromedia, referring to Macromedia's new consumer
business that was also announced today. "The entire site is created
in Flash 4, with custom interface elements that can be dragged,
collapsed, re-positioned and incorporate audio cues-all within a
scalable interface. The look of the site is distinctive, yet because
it is Flash it is extremely small and fast to download, even over
28.8 modems."

Other Macromedia applications that publish to the Flash file format
include Macromedia FreeHand(R), which combines professional
illustration tools and a powerful, multi-page document layout
environment for print and Web multipublishing, and Macromedia
Generator(TM), the server side solution for automating and
personalizing Web site graphics.

Pricing and Availability
Flash 4 for Windows and Macintosh will be available in North America
in June of 1999, for an estimated street price of US $299. Current
registered Flash users can upgrade to Flash 4 for US $129. Flash 4
can be purchased by calling (800) 457-1774 or bought directly from
Macromedia's Web site at www.macromedia.com. Interested parties
outside North America should contact their local Macromedia
distributor.

About Macromedia
Macromedia's mission is to add life to the Web. By providing its
award-winning Web Publishing, Web Entertainment, and Web Learning
solutions to Web designers, consumers, and the enterprise, Macromedia
is delivering a completely new generation of Internet tools and
technologies designed to transform the Web experience. Headquartered
in San Francisco, Macromedia (NASDAQ: MACR) has more than 500
employees worldwide and is available on the Internet at
http://www.macromedia.com.

Press contact:

Macromedia
Andrea Coffey
andrea@macromedia.com
(415) 252-2260

 
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