Figma has built its name as a forward- thinking and collaborative design platform and a formidable competitor to Adobe, the giant in the creative apps market. Adobe has struck a $20 billion deal to acquire Figma, ending the rivalry.

Adobe will be able to use Figma's popular design tools in its creative apps. Adobe will once again be taking a major competitor off the market and bringing it under its own umbrella to the displeasure of many designers who rely on the tool and are wary of another critical platform joining the company's Creative Cloud service. With Figma out of the picture, the list of companies capable of challenging Adobe's empire has gotten smaller.

The Figma team will be able to make their own decisions.

The current plan is basically the same, according to Adobe. Scott Belsky, Adobe's chief product officer and executive vice president of Creative Cloud, said in an interview that acquisitions are done uniquely based on the company. The Figma team will have complete independence.

Figma CEO Dylan Field and Belsky wrote about the plan for Figma to operate autonomously in their posts. Belsky said the last thing anyone would want is to disrupt one of the plans. Belsky said there were no plans to bring Figma inside of Creative Cloud.

The earliest changes may be on Adobe's side. Adobe has been winding down its investment in Adobe XD, its competing design platform for things like apps and websites, and users could be pushed over to Figma in the future. He said it was never because they didn't think product design and development was important. Adobe has a small team that supports its customers. He said that they would figure out how to serve those customers with Figma once the acquisition was complete.

They have to earn customers trust. We have to establish that trust for Adobe and for Figma by showing up for the community and doing what's right here.

A screenshot of Figma’s new dark mode over a starry background.
Figma’s recently-added dark mode.
Image: Figma, a video production collaboration tool, is one of the companies that Adobe has acquired in the past. Through this acquisition, Belsky joined Adobe. The company has acquired many companies. One of the few notable challengers to Adobe has been swept up meaning Adobe will continue to consolidate creative app power in one location.

The purchase isn't an antitrust concern, but it could still be scrutinized by regulators. Matt Kent, a competition policy advocate for the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen, said that the acquisition would increase Adobe's dominance. He said that the merger doesn't necessarily violate the law.

Any developers who are acquired by Adobe will be stifled.

The competing developers had differing opinions on the acquisition. The acquisition is thought to reduce innovation in the creative app space. The objectives of any developers who are acquired by Adobe will be realigned to what is good for Adobe. The choice for creatives can only be reduced by that.

Alludo takes a more positive tone. "While we don't have a specific comment on Adobe's news, this move is definitely validation of what we've believed for many years now." This movement is expected to gain steam.

The regulatory bodies are getting more serious about cracking down on large tech mergers. In July, the FTC filed to block Meta's acquisition of the company behind Supernatural, and in November, the FTC filed to block the acquisition of Arm. Betsy Lordan of the FTC said the FTC doesn't comment on transactions.

It will take regulatory scrutiny before the Figma acquisition closes. Both companies will have to prove their worth. I asked Field how he felt about his January 31, 2021, statement that "our goal is to be Figma not Adobe", now that he will join Adobe. He said that he still stood by that statement because he didn't have any doubts about Adobe. We are very focused on the autonomy of Figma.