US Report: Warnock plots Adobe's strategy

His company may be smarting from job cuts and sluggish earnings, but Adobe Systems CEO John Warnock predicts a bright future, thanks to the world of document management.

Warnock told attendees of the Software Publishers Association meeting here that he sees a lot of opportunity in the market for managing the electronic paperwork of the corporate world. He said the goal of his publishing powerhouse is to simplify publishing documents either to the Web or to paper, even if a company uses a variety of seemingly incompatible and ageing systems.

"Today, it's not there," Warnock said. "What Adobe's trying to do is build a set of authoring tools to pull it all together." According to Warnock, for every dollar a company spends to create a document, it spends at least $50 to process and store it. Thus tools that drive those costs down, and make electronic publishing easier, will appeal to businesses from all sectors. "We're just scratching the surface," he said. Warnock cited several organisations that have saved millions moving from print- to Web-based documents, including Boeing, Cisco and Pfizer, which benefited from electronic documents when releasing its impotency drug Viagra. "Because all of the documents were linked and hyperlinked to studies, the FDA was able to turn around drug approval in four months instead of one year," he said.

Warnock sees a future where people can push a single button and publish their content - whether it's text, graphics, video or audio - to the Web. His speech came at a time when the company is reeling from a decline in earnings that's sent its stock price south and forced it to cut 350 jobs. Adobe was even threatened with a takeover by rival publisher Quark, a company not a quarter of its size. But Adobe plans to release a couple of brand new products in the coming months, including its much-anticipated K-2 high-end publishing software. And SPA president Ken Wasch, who was on hand for Warnock's speech, compared Adobe with America Online, a company once written off that's now emerged as the giant in its market.

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