updated 10/13/2005 8:23:45 PM ET 2005-10-14T00:23:45

Adobe Systems Inc. said Thursday the Justice Department has approved its $3.4 billion acquisition of Macromedia Inc.

Adobe and Macromedia, two of the largest providers of graphic design software, must wait for several European jurisdictions to sanction the deal before it can close.

Adobe’s Illustrator and Macromedia’s Freehand are two of the leading products for vector graphics illustration, a term for drawings that are stored as collections of points and objects instead of pixels.

A combined company would also own a huge chunk of the market for Web site-building tools: Macromedia makes Dreamweaver while Adobe sells GoLive.

Analysts have said that teaming Adobe with Macromedia would also create a formidable competitor for Microsoft Corp., which announced last month that it will launch Web and graphic designer tools next year.

Last April, Adobe announced an agreement to acquire Macromedia in an all-stock transaction. Adobe said in a statement that it continues to expect the transaction will close sometime this fall.

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