When I started looking at switching from Reaktor to Max/MSP, there were a number of factors influencing the choice: cross-platform operation, standalone distributables (users did not need to buy Max/MSP), standalone operation, and integrated support for any multimedia environment via VST/AU plugins.
Last month, Cycling'74 announced a tight collaborative agreement with one vendor, Ableton, and it would be migrating its product to a dedicated versions that works in the Ableton Live! sequencer. Since then, it has announced it won't effectively support other multimedia environments going forward.
I was told previously, Max/MSP version 4 could create plugins that could run in multiple VST/AU environments via a shared interface with a product called Pluggo. With the advent of Max/MSP version 5, the environment was initially intended to include the Pluggo interfaces.
Sadly, according to current reports, Cycling'74 no longer intends to support the Pluggo interfaces going forward. The Pluggo product has been discontinued, and Cycling'74 is focusing its effort on supporting Ableton Live!
This is perfectly understandable considering the current economic climate, but it places my own development work in limbo. Originally, I had intended to start development with the Max/MSP 4.0 SDK and migrate to 5.0 SDK when the Pluggo interface was available.
The 5.0 SDK is much better than the 4.0 SDK, and also Cycling'74 is committed to fixing bugs in it. However, with the recent announcement of discontinuing Pluggo and creating a dedicated product for Ableton Live!, developer support for other integration environments cannot be expected.
This is a big disappointment as I was looking forward very much to creating exciting new applications with Cycling'74. But now the main advantage of adopting this development path has been discontinued.
I can only wait and hope that cycling'74 reintroduce non-captive support for new applications going forward.