Adobe Refocuses on Digital Media, Digital Marketing

By | December 9, 2011

Adobe has been making waves with its series of acquisitions over the past few years, including Web analytics provider Omniture and content management provider Day Software. More recently, Adobe acquired web font specialist Typekit, electronic signature provider EchoSign, and video enhancement software provider Iridas Technology.

At a financial analyst briefing in November, Adobe made a number of announcements about what it is doing with those acquisitions, and more broadly, the direction in which the company is headed. Most of the news coverage in the tech community that surrounded this briefing was Adobe’s intention to stop any future development of its Flash for mobile platform. Instead, the company is opting to focus on leveraging HTML5 and other standard Web technologies in the mobile arena. Adobe is also putting more emphasis on these technologies in general, as showcased by some of its concept products it has released for testing, including Muse (aimed at helping users design and publish HTML websites without the need to write code) and Edge (an application that is meant to help people create animated Web content using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript).

Some noted the scaling back of Flash as a posthumous win for the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was adamantly opposed to putting Flash on Apple’s iDevices because of what he felt were flaws that made Flash inferior in the mobile realm. What was substantially under-reported in the tech world was Adobe’s clear shift in direction, as highlighted by a reorganization that re-targets the company to focus on two main areas: digital media and digital marketing.

The company is also pushing its users to get out of a perpetual licensing model of buying and upgrading its Creative Suite product line to a cloud-based subscription pricing model that lets users pay for access to Creative Suite tools on a monthly basis. To do this, Adobe has developed the Creative Cloud, a Web-based community and portal for users to manage their Creative Suite applications and connect with other creative professionals. While the company will continue to sell perpetual licenses in the near future, it has very clear plans to fully migrate 100% of Creative Suite users to the Creative Cloud over time.

With the Creative Cloud on the Digital Media side, there is also Adobe’s cloud-based Digital Marketing Suite, which is geared toward the company’s solutions for digital marketing, including Web and social analytics, content management, digital asset management, eCommerce, display advertising, e-mail marketing, and customer relationship management. Adobe’s goal is to provide a suite of solutions for marketing professionals that can help them compete effectively in the online channel.

Furthermore, Adobe is shifting its business strategy from simply being a technology provider to a company that also provides services to help businesses with things like content monetization. In this sense, Adobe’s transformation pushes it closer to competing with some of its customers and partners; it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the near future. Just weeks after its financial analyst briefing, the company announced the acquisition of Efficient Frontier, a provider of digital ad buying and performance management solutions. This acquisition is further proof that Adobe is intent on not just providing tools to create content, but that it fully wants to provide solutions to help its customer monetize the content they are creating.

All in all, Adobe’s changes are much more substantial than no longer developing Flash for mobile; the company is totally revamping its strategy to focus on digital media and digital marketing, and expanding its scope to offer companies help with content monetization. As an unfortunate by-product of this reorganization, Adobe is also laying off about 750 people, or around 7% of its workforce. Layoffs aside, the company is, of course, painting a compelling future for itself, as well as digital media and marketing in general. With the marketing and media landscapes still undergoing a high degree of transformation, it may not be a bad bet.

What do you think of Adobe’s recent moves? Can it refocus its business while maintaining trust and good relationships with its long-standing customer base? Have you already moved from a perpetual licensing model to a monthly subscription via the Creative Cloud? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Share this post