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FreeHand users sue Adobe for 'killing' the application

Free FreeHand, a group of users of the eldery-but-still-available vector drawing application FreeHand have followed through on their threat to sue Adobe, accusing the design giant of anticompetitive behaviour by effectively 'killing' the product by not updating it and favouring its own vector tool, Illustrator.

The current version, FreeHand MX, can be bought from Adobe's site, but the last upgrade was released in early 2003 when the product was owned by Macromedia, which was later bought by Adobe. Though Adobe hasn't developed FreeHand since at least 2007, the company has said that it incorporated popular tools from FreeHand into newer versions of Illustrator.

In a newsletter sent to members of Free Freehand, the group says that it has filed a civil antitrust complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of California against Adobe. The suit alleges that 'Adobe has violated federal and state antitrust laws by abusing its dominant position in the professional vector graphic illustration software market' and that 'Adobe has engaged in a series of exclusionary and anticompetitive acts and strategies designed to kill FreeHand, the dominant competitor to Adobe's Illustrator software product, instead of competing on the basis of product merit according to the principals of free market capitalism.'

The group's demands, which were set out last year, is that Adobe releases FreeHand to the open source community, sells FreeHand to another private interest, or develops and maintains FreeHand as a full part of the Adobe Creative Suite lineup.

We've approached Adobe for a comment and will update this story when it responds.


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