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History Of Adobe

Derek Thompson
Derek Thompson
Sep 28, 2009
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Adobe Systems is an American computer software company headquartered in San Jose, California, United States that was founded in December 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke. They founded Adobe after leaving Xerox PARC in order to further develop and commercialize the PostScript page description language. Adobe played a significant role in sparking the desktop publishing revolution when Apple Computer licensed PostScript for use in the LaserWriter printer product line in 1985. The company name Adobe comes from the Adobe Creek, which ran behind the house of one of the company's founders.
 
Adobe acquired its former competitor, Macromedia, in December 2005.
 
In late 2006, Adobe Systems had about 5,879 employees, about 40% of whom work in San Jose. Adobe also has major development operations in Seattle, Washington; San Francisco, California; NOIDA and Bangalore in India; and Ottawa, Canada. Minor Adobe development offices include a location near Minneapolis, Minnesota; Newton, Massachusetts and in Hamburg, Germany.
 
Since 2001, Fortune magazine has ranked Adobe as an outstanding place to work. Adobe was rated the fifth best American company to work for in 2003 and sixth best in 2004. Most recently it was ranked 31st in the 2007 Fortune Best Companies to Work For list.
 
Recently, Adobe has entered the Software Development Industry with the introduction of Adobe Flex Technologies.
 
Adobe's first products following PostScript were digital fonts beginning with their proprietary Type 1 fonts. Apple later developed TrueType fonts, a competing format which it licensed to Microsoft. TrueType had certain advantages: it provided not only full scalability, but also precise control of the pixel pattern created by the font's outlines. A few months later Adobe published the Type 1 specification, and soon released the "Adobe Type Manager" software, which allowed for WYSIWYG scaling of Type 1 fonts on screen, just like TrueType (though without the precise pixel-level control). However, these moves were too late to stop the rise of TrueType, which quickly became the standard for business and the average Windows user, with Type 1 remaining the standard in the graphics/publishing market. In 1996, the company, in combination with Microsoft, announced the OpenType font format, and in 2003 Adobe completed the conversion of its library of Type 1 fonts to OpenType.
 
In the mid-1980s, soon after introducing PostScript, Adobe entered the consumer software market with Adobe Illustrator, a vector-based drawing program for the Apple Macintosh. Illustrator was the logical outgrowth of commercializing their in-house font-development software. Additionally, it helped popularize the use of PostScript-enabled laser printers. Unlike MacDraw (then the standard Macintosh vector drawing program), Illustrator described all shapes with more flexible Bézier curves, providing a level of accuracy not seen in other programs. Font rendering in Illustrator, however, was left to the Macintosh's QuickDraw libraries and would not be superseded by a PostScript-like approach until Adobe's own Adobe Type Manager software was introduced.
 
In 1989, Adobe introduced what was to become its flagship product, Adobe Photoshop for the Macintosh. Although Photoshop 1.0 had competitors, it was extremely stable and well-featured—and Adobe had the resources to market it. The combination enabled Photoshop to soon dominate its market.
 
Arguably, one of Adobe's few missteps on the Macintosh platform was their failure to develop their own desktop publishing (DTP) program. Instead, Aldus with PageMaker in 1985 and Quark with QuarkXPress in 1987 gained early leads in the DTP market. Adobe was also slow to address the emerging Windows DTP market. In a classic failure to predict the direction of computing, Adobe released a complete version of Illustrator for Steve Jobs' ill-fated NeXT system, but a poorly produced version for Windows.
 
Because the company always had licensing fees from the PostScript interpreter to fall back on, Adobe was able to simply outlast many of its rivals in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and, like Microsoft, eventually acquired its main competitors or continued to improve its applications until they became industry standards. In 1994, Adobe took over Aldus and acquired PageMaker and the TIFF file format; in 1995 they acquired the long-document DTP application FrameMaker from Frame Technologies.
 
On 2005-04-18 Adobe Systems announced an agreement to acquire its former main rival Macromedia in a stock swap valued at about $3.4 billion on the last trading day before the announcement. The acquisition was consummated on 2005-12-03.
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