TelecomsMediaTechnology: Quark Walks the Talk, but Adobe Is Doing Cartwheels in Computing ; Clayton Hirst Reports on a Software Firm That Is Not Only Making Money as Its Peers in IT Fall on Hard Times, but Promising Both to Unclutter Our Offices and to Usurp the King of Desktop Publishing
Hirst, Clayton, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
When Bruce Chizen, chief executive of Adobe, went through customs at Heathrow as part of his recent world tour of clients, an officer at the airport asked him what he did for a living.
"I work in IT," he responded. But the officer was inquisitive and asked for more details. "I work in the software industry," said Chizen.
"OK, I'm the CEO of Adobe."
"Oh wow, yes, I know Adobe," said the officer. "I've got Acrobat and Photoshop on my PC at home."
Adobe is an $8.2bn (pounds 5bn) business that is bucking the trend in the IT industry. Its shares are rising, it is expanding into new markets and the company has just revised its profits forecast - upwards. "Yeah, it's pretty rare these days," says Chizen. "We're being quite aggressive."
But the recent success of the Californian company is in an area of which most home computer users, and customs officers, will be unaware. Adobe is increasingly selling software to corporations, going head-to-head with giants such as Microsoft and Quark.
One of the main battlegrounds is in desktop publishing. For years the market was dominated by Quark-XPress, produced by the Denver- based Quark. The computer program was so popular among newspaper and magazine publishers that an understanding of QuarkXPress became a standard entry on most art- and sub-editors' CVs. But Adobe is breaking that stranglehold with its rival application, InDesign. "We are pushing hard," says Chizen. "We are now outselling Quark seven to four in terms of customers. This is a major growth area for us."
Adobe's biggest coup was persuading Australian Consolidated Press, publisher of 65 titles including the Australian version of Cosmopolitan, to ditch a variety of different software programs for InDesign. Now it has trained its sights on the UK. Already it has tied up deals with the Telegraph Group, publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, and Conde Nast, which produces Vogue and GQ. And it has persuaded a further 10 UK-based publishers to trial InDesign.
Adobe, founded in 1982, shot to prominence with the Acrobat document reader as the company became one of the first to realise that giving away stripped-down versions of software was a good way of generating future sales. But Chizen denies that Adobe is winning market share by giving away, or selling at below cost, copies of InDesign: "This is not the case at all. More than anything, this is down to InDesign's functions. Putting it simply, we have a much better product."
One art editor at a large UK publishing house, which has just started using InDesign, says Adobe's product "addresses lots of little things that Quark never ironed out". But, she adds, InDesign was cheaper than QuarkXPress after her firm negotiated a discount.
Adobe's second battleground is in the sector known as "e-paper". Here it is up against the mighty Microsoft.
For nearly 30 …
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Publication information: Article title: TelecomsMediaTechnology: Quark Walks the Talk, but Adobe Is Doing Cartwheels in Computing ; Clayton Hirst Reports on a Software Firm That Is Not Only Making Money as Its Peers in IT Fall on Hard Times, but Promising Both to Unclutter Our Offices and to Usurp the King of Desktop Publishing. Contributors: Hirst, Clayton - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent on Sunday (London, England). Publication date: June 1, 2003. Page number: 6. © 2009 The Independent on Sunday. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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