Things are tight the world over but when one of the world's leading software manufacturers - one of the very few that successfully steers clear of Microsoft - announces job cuts and financial warnings, one has to ask if the company is keeping up with increasingly diverse markets.
Alasdair Boyle, UK managing director at Adobe has been with the company for several years and was part of the Aldus team that joined the world's largest creative software company back in 1994. Boyle, understandibly, is saddened by the job cuts but believes the company needs to refocus if it is to succeed.
ZDNet News: It's not often Adobe sends out financial warnings Alasdair, what's the problem?
Alasdair Boyle: Well the company is taking an opportunity to get in line with the current changes in the market. We are streamlining all efforts in engineering, marketing, finance etc and as a result are discontinuing some of our engineering projects. A number of products, all of which are unannounced, are not going to be continued.
ZDNet News: Would I be right in saying that the company needs to focus more specifically on Web oriented products, things like Image Ready for example?
Alasdair Boyle: Yes you would. The products I'm talking about don't fit our new direction and the market definitions we are looking at for the future. We've identified four specific areas:
- Professional graphics and publishing for people who are doing professional graphics as a job everyday.
- Business publishing for large corporations who do graphics in house. Obviously they have very specific needs.
- Consumer digital imaging. This is an emerging sector that is focused mainly on the home user or small business. Manipulating digital images has become a very interesting market with lots of opportunity.
- Document solutions - special industries with specific document requirements
ZDNet News: So will the development cycles/support etc on your established products, will they be affected by this streamlining action?
Alasdair Boyle: No absolutely not, we will continue to sell support, maintain and develop our current product lines. We just won't be continuing some of the projects that only exist in the labs. Our current products are not affected at all.
ZDNet News: There are going to be job losses associated with this streamlining. Who will be affected and will there be any losses in the UK?
Alasdair Boyle:We did have a number of people who didn't fit into the categories I've just mentioned. People working on these type of projects... in labs... But it's far too early to say for the UK but I don't anticipate job losses here.
ZDNet News: It's not easy to lose jobs.
Alasdair Boyle: No you're right. Whenever jobs have to go, even in other departments, it's something to view with some sadness. But the management direction we are taking as a world wide structure is a positive and strong one. This is important for the future and should not to be taken too negatively. We expect to be hiring staff again in the future.
Adobe will lay off 300 jobs as part of its streamlining exercise. The company has been working feverishly on its next major release of Illustrator which is due sometime late September.