Allaire Corporation and Macromedia, two leaders in Web design and development tools, announced this week that they would merge in a transaction worth approximately $360 million. The merger will create a company which will retain the Macromedia name and bring together the two company's Web server, authoring, and playback software in a way that the companies say will make Web development "more efficient, affordable and accessible." Macromedia chairman and CEO Rob Burgess will continue as chairman and CEO of the new company, while Allaire CTO Jeremy Allaire will be the CTO of Macromedia when the deal is complete.

"This merger is a natural," says Burgess. "Combining the technology and talent of Macromedia and Allaire will bring Web professionals a complete, accessible way to build engaging, dynamic Web sites and applications. With this merger, we are taking the next logical step in empowering developers to create-and users to enjoy-a new generation of compelling Web experiences on everything from personal computers and set-top boxes to PDAs and beyond."

The combined company will control a wide range of powerful and popular products, including the market-leading Macromedia Dreamweaver visual HTML editor, the Macromedia Flash Web media standard, the Allaire ColdFusion Web application server, and a variety of other tools and services.

Interestingly, the company intends to develop a set of reusable application services that run under the Java and Microsoft .NET software platforms. "Our combined user communities are at the forefront of defining today's Web experiences," said Kevin Lynch, the president of Macromedia products. "Together, we will lead the way in constructing the dynamic, multi-device Web of the future, and deliver this across industry standard application servers." The merger is expected to be completed sometime next quarter.