Post Magazine by Jonathan Moser

TEWKSBURY, MA — It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” says Kirk Arnold, COO of Avid Technology. Just three years ago, dire predictions of the death of Media Composer, Avid’s venerable NLE, were rampant. The slayer? Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Avid’s own apparent apathy to its customers and outside developers. For many, the obituary was already written.

In its hey-day, Media Composer dominated the NLE landscape — the big boys on the block, dictating features, methodology, and, especially, price. The fact that you had to buy Composer’s expensive hardware didn’t hurt their bottom line either.
At the same time, they were expanding, acquiring and developing a diverse group: Softimage, Sibelius, Digidesign, and others… spreading themselves thinner.

After more than a decade of astronomical costs, inflexibility, pricey and overtaxed support, and arrogance, plus enough versions and costs of software (with stripped features) to make Microsoft blush, Avid’s grip seemed unshakable until 1999, when Apple came up with a real killer app…Final Cut Pro — in its single version, affordable price, sleek, interactive suite and feature set, hardware AND software flexibility, plus Apple’s marketing — launched a tidal wave of converts. FCP democratized desktop editing, blanketing the landscape.

Two years ago, Avid finally woke up…now in the battle for Composer’s life, losing tremendous market share and crucial popular support. Almost too late, Avid began listening. read more...

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