Australian Financial Review yesterday got the scoop that Canva had eaten Serif. Today, the news was confirmed. Wisely, Serif’s CEO then attempted to reassure the community that all was good, actually.

Although the press has in recent years often positioned Serif as a kind of scrappy underdog newcomer, the company has a long history. It was founded in 1987, which makes it only five years younger than Adobe. Most of its recent history has been tied up in becoming a direct competitor to Adobe – and also a direct competitor to Adobe’s business model. Through its Affinity suite, Serif offered an alternative: buy-once apps rather than subscriptions. And although I can’t imagine Serif makes anything other than a minority of its sales on iPad, the company’s superb Affinity apps for Apple’s tablet – compared to Adobe’s comparatively stumbling efforts – haven’t hurt the company’s reputation any.

Which brings us to today’s announcement. Canva now owns Serif. According to Serif’s CEO, not much will change. He claims Canva is a kindred spirit – that Canva and Serif have complementary products, hence the buyout making sense. He says the Affinity brand will continue, the apps will be developed by the same British team, and that no changes to the pricing model are planned “at this time”. But then he would say that, wouldn’t he?

I very much hope this British success story doesn’t get crushed under the weight of a comparative giant. Canva imposing its will on opinionated software with a business model that people love would be a big risk. While Affinity users might love the interface and feature set, a large number of them were drawn – and remain loyal – to the product primarily because of the business model. That’s where much of the goodwill lies. Any switch to a subscription could fatally damage the brand. I suspect Adobe would be quick to counter by unveiling a ‘designer’ Creative Cloud tier comprising Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign that just happened to be priced competitively, in an attempt to win people back.

Version 3 of the Affinity suite will probably be the moment we’ll know. You can already picture a press release stating that Canva has made the “difficult decision” to move Affinity apps to subscriptions, and a “hard choice” to move development from Nottingham to Canva HQ in Australia. I hope this won’t be the case, but we’ve seen this scenario play out so many times before. We’ll find out for sure one way or another within a year or two, and I do hope that in the same way Affinity bucked the trend with modern software, Serif bucks the trend when it comes to modern buyouts.