Adobe CEO Chizen: Apple Macintosh is still critical

“Having completed its acquisition of Macromedia on December 3, 2005, Adobe is the fifth largest software company in the world… [and] Adobe’s vision is grand. CEO Bruce Chizen hopes that Adobe will provide the interface for any device with a screen — ‘from a refrigerator to an automobile to a video game to a computer to a mobile phone.’ Such ambitions put Adobe squarely in the sights of Microsoft, which currently dominates desktop software development… Knowledge@Wharton recently met with Bruce Chizen for an interview.”

Knowledge@Wharton: Let’s start with the basic question: What was the primary motivation behind the acquisition of Macromedia?
Chizen: Flash.
Knowledge@Wharton: That simple?
Chizen: The combination of [Acrobat’s] PDF [file format] and the Adobe Reader with Flash’s SWF [file format] and the Flash Player enables us to create an “engagement platform.” Think of it as a layer or a vehicle in which anybody can present information that could be engaged with in an interactive, compelling, reliable, relatively secure way — across all kinds of devices, all kinds of operating systems.

Knowledge@Wharton: This obviously brings up certain competitive issues. Microsoft’s Windows Presentation Foundation has similar ambitions, and Microsoft is talking of “Presentation Foundation Everywhere.” They may offer this platform not only in the Windows environment, but on the Macintosh and possibly others as well. Are we going to see head-on competition [between Adobe and Microsoft] to establish the platform for the next generation of web and application development?
Chizen:Microsoft’s attempt with Windows Vista is a “1.0” attempt. What they end up delivering, when they end up delivering, and how portable it really is across operating systems, are still unknown. They are supposed to ship Windows Vista the end of this year. Avalon and Metro, or what’s now the XML Paper specification — which has become the Windows Presentation Foundation — is an intriguing concept. It’s great that they have recognized what we have done and have tried to imitate it.

Looking forward, Chizen told Knowledge@Wharton, “we want to be able to begin to integrate the Studio products, especially Dreamweaver and Flash authoring, with products like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. The Creative Suite with Studio — we want to see more integration there, making our customers’ lives easier, more productive, more efficient.”

Knowledge@Wharton: Are you dedicated to cross-platform?
Chizen: Apple is still critical.

Knowledge@Wharton: To some extent, Apple’s continued strength plays to your advantage. If it’s a single platform world, much of the advantage that you bring isn’t there.
Chizen: I agree. Microsoft could control the whole workflow. Fortunately, it’s not just Apple. It’s Apple on the desktop side, but it’s also folks like SAP, Sun and EMC and others on the infrastructure side. Because if it was just a Microsoft world, there is no room for Adobe. But people don’t want to be locked into a certain workflow — whether it’s a desktop workflow or an IT workflow. They don’t want to be locked into any one workflow. Microsoft works well if you own their servers and their desktop and their handhelds. Then they have a great story. It begins to fall apart when you add in a Java-based server, a Linux desktop or a Mac desktop and so on. That’s where Adobe comes into play.

Full article with much more here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Adobe: no native Intel Mac support until 2007; Photoshop could be 14 months away – February 01, 2006
Report: Adobe to take on Apple’s Aperture with new ‘LightRoom’ application for Mac OS X – January 06, 2006
Should Apple buy Adobe as leverage against Microsoft? – December 16, 2005
What will users lose as Adobe swallows Macromedia? – April 19, 2005
Adobe to acquire Macromedia in $3.4 billion stock deal – April 18, 2005


  1. I think it may be the other way round. Adobe is still important to Apple until Aperture matures and Apple come out with a professional Photoshop replacement.

    Look at the trends;

    Audio – first iTunes, the the logic apps, garageband.

    Video – iMovie, iDVD, Studio, Final Cut etc.

    So how about Still images: iPhoto, now Aperture – what’s next?

    And Apple are even starting with Wed design with iWeb – pretty easy to see how far they can go with that!

    The amazing thing for me is that Apple ares oon going to dominate the digital world, not by being first, or by usng their monopoly, but by bringing out apps which fill customer needs. Beautiful to behold.

    Another thing to understand is that the first version is a testbed. iPhoto has evolved into a powerful app and spawned Aperture foreven more professsional needs. It took 5 versions but it was worth the transitions.

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