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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May, 2003, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
Digital delight for Adobe
By Mark Ward
BBC News Online technology correspondent

As a company best known for its graphics software you might expect the boss of Adobe to paint a rosy picture of the company's future.

Rolls of camera film, BBC
The move away from film could help Adobe
And Bruce Chizen is sure that Adobe is going to do well, even though times are tough for all technology firms.

He believes that the increasing digitisation of documents, images, video and audio will mean more sales for the company.

The growth of more web-based ways of doing business was also likely to help it prosper, he told BBC News Online.

Photo shock

The stock market seems to share his optimism.

The price of Adobe's shares on the US Nasdaq market has almost doubled in the last nine months.

This is a rare feat given that so many other technology firms have seen their share prices crash as the gloss comes off all things digital.

Historically, Adobe software has always done well with professionals such as graphic designers, advertising agencies, publishers and, increasingly, broadcasters and film makers.

Adobe boss Bruce Chizen, Adobe
Chizen: New boom for digital video
But Mr Chizen believes that the boom in digital photography and video will mean it gets consumers buying more of its products too.

"What's fascinating about digital photography is that it's only just beginning," he said. "If you look at film sales it's only recently that they have started to decline."

The reason, he said, was that home users were only just starting to use a digital camera for everything they did.

This was because they could now get cheap, good quality prints and all the other things they expected from the old world of film.

Adobe is targeting these consumers with versions of Photoshop, called Elements and Album, that let them do basic manipulations on images but do not swamp them with all the features the professionals need.

Mr Chizen said he expected digital video to bring about the same sorts of changes.

Many companies have realised that producing an interactive DVD was almost as cheap to create, and far more compelling, as a brochure, he said.

Home editing of digital video is becoming less of a chore as PCs grow in power too, he said.

"We will see with video what happened with page layout and desktop publishing in the 80s," he said.

Paper chase

But for much of its current growth Adobe is relying on a separate line of business centred on its Acrobat software that lets organisations create and manage documents in the well-known Portable Data Format (PDF).

Press photographers, BBC
Even professionals are going digital
Many large firms, particularly those in the finance and legal sectors, are embarking on big projects that use net-based technologies to streamline the way they shuffle paper.

Mr Chizen said Adobe software featured in many of these projects.

"We've had the second best ever quarter for Acrobat which is shocking because the current product is two years old," he said.

Mr Chizen said Adobe had formed a sales team focused on selling its software to large companies carrying out such big projects.

"Selling to the enterprises is a major transformation for the company and it is not easy," he said, "it's a change for the company and that's what keeps me awake at night."




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