John Warnock reflects on Adobe Systems, Acrobat and PDF
Tells Wall Street Journal Interactive he feels very good about Acrobat's future John Warnock of Adobe Systems

23 March 2001

"Adobe's Warnock Will Stay In Touch After Retiring"

In a recent Wall Street Journal Interactive Q&A session,'s Melinda Patterson Greiner talked with newly retired Adobe Systems co-founder John Warnock about the company, its future prospects and why he chose to step down at this time.

Warnock also discussed Adobe's Acrobat software and portable document format (PDF), from its 1993 public launch and initially slow acceptance (when today's free Acrobat Reader sold for $50 per copy) to the forthcoming version 5.0, expected to become available in early April.

Primarily a for-pay Web site, has kindly posted a free version of Greiner's interview with Warnock. Here's a snippet from their conversation: Wall Street Journal Interactive logo "Adobe's making a big push to get more business customers interested in Acrobat with the introduction next month of version 5.0. You've made the software easier to use on networked computers, for example, and the look and feel is now more consistent with Microsoft Office. But a lot of business people don't think of Acrobat as a tool they can use the way they would a spreadsheet or a word-processing program. Will this be a difficult sell?"

Warnock: "That's what's actually changing: people's realization of what the product does for them. It really is electronic paper, and if you think about all of the functions paper serves -- and paper serves an enormous number of functions in our society -- what we've systematically been doing with Acrobat is recognizing where paper does something that you can't easily do electronically and we've been filling in those holes.

With Acrobat 5.0, we've filled in a lot of those holes, so it's possible to do what you would do traditionally with paper communication, but do it at the speed of light. And in industries that are very paper-intensive, like the legal industry or regulatory industries, you get huge productivity gains."

You can read the full interview at


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