The Secret of Adobes Success

Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen muses on competing with and beating Microsoft, open-source and working with Apple.

PC Magazine Editor-in-Chief Michael J. Miller recently had the opportunity to talk with Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen about open-source software, the Macintosh and the software scene. Here is that complete interview:

Michael Miller: What do you think about the progress open source and Linux are making?

Bruce Chizen: The server side clearly has momentum. I dont think the actual usage in mission critical projects, especially large mission critical projects, is as great as we all believe. Its happening but... speaking to one large enterprise software supplier thats a partner of ours, most of their implementations are still NT, and they really are on the mission critical side of the business.

The real question becomes on Linux desktop, and I think it can happen. I havent seen it yet other than [in] developing countries or governments of developing countries. In lot of these countries, its just a very inexpensive way of getting a box without Windows, and then they pirate Windows after the fact. So you kind of have to look at that in the process. So the question is, "real usage of Linux desktop, when does it happen?" The compelling reason is its cheaper, or at least has the perception that its cheaper. If Microsoft doesnt do anything, then I think Linux desktop has an opportunity to take off. If Microsoft does take action, especially on things like pricing, and business models, it might stall the adoption of Linux in corporate.

On the consumer side I think the boxes just keep getting cheaper and cheaper. The challenge is, until the environment is stable enough, people are going to continue to pay a premium for Windows.

MM: Well what about if you make lots of big Windows apps... what about Linux apps?

BC: We do Reader today. We did an experiment with Framemaker a couple of years ago and it was a total failure. The only people who wanted to use it are people who wanted it for free or very inexpensive and there was no real market.

The first application that well probably do will be a full version of Acrobat. And thats something that were already experimenting with. The question becomes should we take our traditional graphics apps, apps like Photoshop, Imaging, and should we port them to Linux. Right now were taking a wait and see attitude.

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