Terrorist aftershock wobbles Adobe revenues, forces layoffs
Long-avoided cuts prove inevitable despite strong Acrobat PDF performance

31 October 2001

By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor

Adobe Systems took a belated hit from the aftermath of terrorist attacks across the country on September 11, as well as challenging economic conditions worldwide. While the impact at the company towers in San Jose was virtual, the effect was real -- a very weak October meant the company would have to resort to staff reductions, a step executive management previously had taken pride in avoiding despite ongoing economic troubles worldwide.

At its Fall 2001 Analyst and Investor meeting, Adobe President & CEO Bruce Chizen and members of his management team shared the details of its latest round of budget tightening and opportunities assessment -- a "scaleback of the employee population" is now necessary. According to an Adobe spokesperson, 150 employees -- representing five percent of the company worldwide -- "will be notified of their status" by November 8. "The specific areas and individuals who will be affected by the reduction efforts have not been identified."

Based on other revelations from the nearly three-hour meeting, which was also Webcast live on the Internet, Adobe's ePaper Solutions group -- which encompasses practically all Acrobat and PDF-related products other than eBooks -- should be the least likely to expect pink slips (or digital variations). As has been the case for most of Fiscal Year 2001, what fortunes Adobe has seen in the recent past has been tied to a considerable degree on the continued growth of Acrobat/PDF. It's a trend the company expects to continue, and where it will be focusing an even greater amount of its resources and expectations.

Joe Eschbach, Adobe's Vice-President for ePaper Solutions, offered assembled analysts a brief overview of PDF-related trends and opportunities, which included a montage of corporate and government logos representing the broad market adoption and acceptance of Acrobat/PDF. To add to the understanding of how and why a subset of these organizations (and others) have turned to PDF-based solutions, Eschbach presented a series of brief ePaper Solutions customer vignettes touching on certain key segments and their respective needs.

ePaper Solutions: Trends and Opportunities

  • Growth in online business processes
  • Increasing government requirements for paper reduction
  • Enterprise focus on leveraging infrastructure investments
  • Increasing need for efficient and cost-effective business collaboration
  • Increased adoption of Adobe PDF among creative professionals

Among those highlighted in Eschbach's so-called "Day in the Life of an Acrobat Customer" mini-case studies -- categorized by specific benefits -- were:

Acrobat PDF Broad Market Adoption
  1. Increased Productivity

    First Union Bank (www.firstunion.com)

    • Save $400K annually with online documentation
    • Better customer service and stronger loan portfolio

    Ernst & Young (www.ey.com)

    • Uses Acrobat to collaborate among tax staff and clients to prepare corporate tax filings

    Hitachi Semiconductor (semiconductor.hitachi.com)

    • Reduces printing costs by 40%, saves $240k postage
    • Accelerates sales cycle with online product data

    United States Federal Courts (www.uscourts.gov)

    • Case documents available anytime, anywhere

  2. Streamlined Workflows

    Pacific Life Annuities (www.annuities.pacificlife.com/public/corporate/corp_home.html)

    • Automatically generates online forms populated with customer data
    • Acrobat validates data in form fields and expedites forms-processing

    Lucent Technologies (www.lucent.com)

    • Publishes 60,000 documents online
    • Reduces costs by 80%

  3. Reduced Expenses

    Agilent Technologies (www.agilent.com)

    • Web-based review and mark-up increases productivity worldwide
    • Leverages batch-processing capabilities to optimize multi-document output

    Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (www.lmtas.com)

    • Self-validating Adobe PDF forms reduce administrative costs
    • Web capture feature reduces Web development time and costs


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