Big Month For Adobe: New Website, New CEO, New Milestone

I’ve been keeping an eye on the various Photoshop news sites and have been wanting to write a quick article about the news over the past month, but haven’t had a chance until now. Several news bites have popped up over the past few weeks concerning Adobe, so let’s get right to it:

New Adobe.com

If you haven’t seen it, Adobe.com has underwent a major revamping that I really like. The Web site hasn’t changed much for quite awhile, with minor tweaks back when Macromedia was acquired by the company and some of its own Web site’s functionality was adopted. Now the Web site devotes a large chunk of screen real estate to the main graphic with some links and news bits in the bottom block. A search bar is always available in the upper right corner. I like the site a great deal: it’s still clean and clear, but an infusion of the CS3 branding (shapes, artistic smutz floating around) makes it feel more creative. I don’t know if the gray block in the bottom of the homepage works for legibility, but overall I am happy with the new design. Check it out sometime!

CEO shuffle: Chizen departs, Narayen steps in

Last month, Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen announced he would be departing Adobe; the industry was surprised and Adobe’s stockholders got a few jitters. Chizen has been CEO for several years now and Adobe has grown a great deal on his watch in terms of revenue, clout and influence on the industry. Special kudos was given to him for the wisdom of the Macromedia acquisition, which brought Flash technology into Adobe’s stable and is now the dominant video-delivery technology on the Internet. Other Web 2.0 technologies are also tied to Adobe through Chizen’s work. But running a billion-dollar company can be tiring, and Chizen decided it was a good time to depart. Shantanu Narayen, the previous president and COO, became President and CEO on December 1 and is already talking about future changes at Adobe as its online ventures come to fruition, such as Adobe Media Player and the upcoming Photoshop web application. Narayen is an engineer at heart (he has two engineering degrees) so his leadership style will probably be different than that of Chizen, the consummate salesman.

Adobe celebrates 25 years

To me, Adobe actually seems like it’s younger than 25 years. Maybe that’s because in 1982 the personal computer was a new technology and the notion of desktop publishing as it is today was just a pipe dream. But it was in December 1982 that Chuck Geschke and John Warnock started Adobe after leaving Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)—the same place Steve Jobs stumbled upon a graphical user interface that influenced his work with the Macintosh. Adobe’s early success stemmed from the creation of PostScript as a means to print quality graphics and type from a personal computer, and savvy acquisitions later on (PageMaker, Photoshop, Flash and more) has made the company a multi-billion-dollar powerhouse. I think Adobe’s next 25 years will focus more and more on online applications as the Internet speeds up even further and web applications become more powerful and standardized.

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