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Chizen on Q4, Analysts and Microsoft

December 12, 2003

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Following Adobe's announcement yesterday of record quarterly and annual revenue, company CEO and president Bruce Chizen told Bloomberg.com that the "major Q4 drivers" were the introduction of the Adobe Creative Suite and the fact that the Acrobat business grew 40 percent year-over-year. "It's clear that enterprises around the world are adopting our intelligent document platform," said Chizen, citing the currently favored reference to Adobe's PDF-oriented products (desktop and server-based) and solutions.

Despite Adobe's successful quarter and optimistic guidance for 2004, Bloomberg noted that around "one-third of the analysts are telling their customers not to buy Adobe shares."

According to Bloomberg, analysts have allegedly made such recommendations based on various perceptions, including:

  • Adobe's key products are mature and have already been updated several times
  • Adobe's typical customer is an advertising-oriented Creative Professional, meaning that Adobe has to "rely very heavily on ad spending, which has been a very fickle market as of late."
  • competition from Microsoft could take away some Adobe marketshare

In Adobe's defense, Chizen noted respectively that:

  • there's confusion among some analysts, who haven't yet grasped that Adobe has transformed itself during the past couple years to a "true platform company" -- rather than having merely an assortment of products, Adobe now offers distinct platforms for Creative Professionals, digital video and imaging and the Acrobat/PDF-based intelligent document platform
  • Acrobat now represents 34 percent of Adobe's business, and is more dependent on overall business and IT spending than on advertising expenditures
  • while Microsoft is always a concern for any software company due to its size and monopolistic tendencies, "the reality is that ... every time they have tried to compete against us in an area where we had core competency, we've been able to win and beat them."
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