Timely snapshot, with Adobe's annual MAX event next week
When you think of software-application giants, you think Microsoft. For Web giants, it's Google or Amazon. But aside from so-called creative professionals, not many folks think of Adobe. Nonetheless Adobe, founded in 1982, takes in almost $3 billion a year from applications like Photoshop, Illustrator and Creative Suite 3. Billions of documents are encoded in its PDF file format, and the most popular video format on the Web, including the one used by YouTube, is its Flash product. The latter came to Adobe in a $3.4 billion purchase of Macromedia two years ago. Now the company is beta-testing Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), a program it hopes will hasten the adoption of Web applications. The strategy comes from CEO Bruce Chizen, 52, a native Brooklynite who began his career in a sales job at Mattel's game division, followed by stints at Microsoft and Apple's onetime software arm Claris before he joined Adobe in 1994. He spoke to NEWSWEEK by phone from his office in San Jose, Calif.