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Pam Deziel on Macromedia and future of Acrobat

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Dan Shea

Planet PDF Managing Editor Dan Shea first became involved with PDF while developing a back-end process for the conversion of paper books for a leading eBook provider. He joined the Planet PDF team as PDF Store Manager, catalyzing a period of unprecedented growth in the area,...  More



Pam Deziel is responsible for definition and execution of the Acrobat business strategy in the Intelligent Documents Business Unit at Adobe Systems Incorporated. Her team drives growth in the desktop document services market and develops business plans addressing customer, competitive and strategic requirements.

Prior to joining Adobe, Deziel was vice president of product management at Pumatech, determining product strategy and roadmaps for enterprise mobile synchronization software. As senior director of platform product marketing at Palm, Inc., she developed product and business strategy for PalmOS, HotSync, applications, and developer tools. During her tenure at Palm, she planned the transition to ARM processors, created and managed the PalmOS Ready program, and increased the PalmOS platform market share to over 90 percent. Previously, she held product marketing, partner marketing and corporate marketing management positions with Adobe, Apple Computer, and Sun Microsystems. Deziel earned a B.S. degree from Stanford University.

With Adobe's recent acquisition of one-time competitor, Macromedia, Adobe-watchers around the world ponder the future of Acrobat and the PDF format. Planet PDF spoke to Pam Deziel at the recent Adobe Acrobat and PDF conference to find out. The full text of the interview follows.

DAN SHEA, Planet PDF Managing Editor: There were some really interesting figures in your keynote this morning -- in particular, I heard something about the untapped market for Acrobat being in the order of 100 million. That represents about 1/3 of the total population of North America! How did you arrive at that figure?

PAM DEZIEL, Director of Acrobat product marketing, Adobe Systems: We do a bottoms-up using a variety of data sources. Within the universe of 200 million Internet-connected knowledge workers, we estimate the total opportunity for Acrobat is 70 million seats. We defined these 70 million seats to include only those people with jobs that require them to initiate and participate in document-based business workflows. That number (the 100 million quoted in Deziel's keynote) was a synthesis of the 70M Acrobat number that we have talked about, and a portion of the server opportunity that overlaps with the desktop -- for example, Policy Server integration.

SHEA: From our standpoint, it really seems as though PDF has arrived. In terms of awareness, it's really gone from something that people in the print industry may have heard mentioned to a stage where there are average office workers using it daily. What's your reaction to that? Do you think that PDF has reached a tipping point? Why or why not?

DEZIEL: The ubiquity of Adobe Reader creates awareness that you can't pay cash for (smiles). We talk to customers all the time, and we hear consistently that they consider PDF, Reader and Acrobat indispensable to their daily activity. Not surprising to me. Personally, I think the IRS making the US tax forms available in PDF back in '93-94 was the tipping point, but there have been a number of important milestones along the way, including the explosion of email and the web, the development of a number of standards based on PDF, and adoption of mandated PDF-based workflows by a growing number of agencies, institutions and associations. I wouldn't do the list justice off the top of my head, but the FDA and US courts are good examples here in North America.

SHEA: How would you define the "typical" user of Acrobat, and how has that changed over the life of the technology?

DEZIEL: Tough question. They really come in all shapes and sizes, from huge government agencies, to the major manufacturers, through the whole food chain to small service bureaus and freelance graphic artists and business consultants. Over time, we see use increasing in frequency first, then depth of features as intelligent documents get incorporated into business process and workflows. On the Acrobat side, our creative professional customers are really at the leading edge, along with our pharmaceutical and government customers. We're seeing really gratifying momentum in the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) space because of the workflows we've enabled with Acrobat 6 and 7. And we expect that the inclusion of support for 3D will open new opportunities in the manufacturing space.

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