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Home arrow Tuesdays with Tukaiz arrow Tuesdays with Tukaiz Blog arrow Adobe Re-organizes to Focus on Digital Media, Marketing
Adobe Re-organizes to Focus on Digital Media, Marketing
Tuesday, November 22 2011

On Tuesdays with Tukaiz, we’ve covered Adobe Systems Incorporated on a number of occasions, most recently highlighting the release of the company’s latest Creative Suite offering (version 5.5), as well as Adobe’s heightened role in customer experience management. The company has been making waves with its series of acquisitions over the past few years, including web analytics provider Omniture and content management provider Day Software. More recently, Adobe acquired web font specialist Typekit, electronic signature provider EchoSign, and video enhancement software provider Iridas Technology.

At a financial analyst briefing earlier in November, Adobe made a number of announcements about what it is doing with those acquisitions, and more broadly, the direction in which the company is headed. Most of the news coverage in the tech community that surrounded this briefing was Adobe’s intention to stop any future development of its Flash for mobile platform. Instead, the company is opting to focus on leveraging HTML5 and other standard web technologies in the mobile arena. Adobe is also putting more emphasis on these technologies in general, as showcased by some of its concept products it has released for testing, including Muse (aimed at helping users design and publish HTML websites without the need to write code) and Edge (an application that is meant to help people create animated web content using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript instead of Flash).

Some noted the scaling back of Flash as a posthumous win for the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was adamantly opposed to putting Flash on Apple’s iDevices because of what he felt were flaws that made Flash inferior in the mobile realm. At the same time, however, the death of Flash is greatly exaggerated. Flash still has a high degree of penetration among web users, somewhere in the range of 95% to 99% across all browsers for desktop computers. There is still a healthy community of Flash developers that leverage flash to create animations, games, and immersive web experiences that still cannot be matched by HTML5 and related technologies. Furthermore, HTML5 is still an evolving standard that is not supported in the same way across all browsers and does not have standard video support. HTML5 also has other issues. Adobe still intends to support Flash well into the future, and we can expect Flash to stay around for a long time to come.

What was largely underreported in the tech world at large was Adobe’s clear shift in direction, as highlighted by a reorganization that retargets the company to focus on two main areas: digital media and digital marketing. The company is also pushing its users to get out of a perpetual licensing model of buying and upgrading its Creative Suite product line to a more cloud-based subscription pricing model that lets users pay for access to Creative Suite tools on a monthly basis. To do this, Adobe has developed the Creative Cloud, a web-based community and portal for users to manage their Creative Suite applications. While the company will continue to sell perpetual licenses in the near future, it plans to fully migrate 100% of Creative Suite users to the Creative Cloud over time.

With the Creative Cloud on the Digital Media side, there is also Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, which is geared toward the company’s solutions for digital marketing, including web and social analytics, content management, digital asset management, e-commerce, display advertising, e-mail marketing, and customer relationship management. Adobe’s goal is to provide a digital marketing suite of solutions for marketing professionals that can help them compete effectively in the online channel. Furthermore, Adobe is shifting its business strategy from simply being a technology provider to a company that also provides services to help businesses with things like content monetization. In this sense, Adobe’s transformation pushes it closer to competing with some of its customers and partners, and we’ll have to see how that plays out in the near future.

All in all, Adobe’s changes are much more substantial than no longer developing Flash for mobile; the company is totally revamping its strategy to focus on digital media and digital marketing, and expanding its scope to offer companies help with content monetization. As an unfortunate by-product of this process, Adobe is also laying off about 750 people, or around 7% of its workforce. Time will tell if this direction is a smart one for Adobe, but so far, the company is painting a compelling future for itself, as well as digital media and marketing in general.


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