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Seminar2-Group3

Aminreza Pournorouz

PSD

1. How was Postscript established as a de facto standard? How


did Adobe make money from Postscript despite its being an
open standard?
Postscript, the interface between computers and output devices (such as printers)
consists of three components: 1. An open, free and documented programming
language 2. A licensed interpreter for output devices manufacturer (such as printer)
3. Fonts, which were sold to end customers (e.g. graphists).
To encourage developer to use the Postscript, Adobe made it simple, open and free.
Adobe also improved third-party developer supports and documentation
significantly.
For Postscript interpreter Adobe charged printers manufacture per printer or plotter.
Adobe invested a lot money and time to develop verity sets of fonts to create value
and satisfy professional publisher and graphic artists.
Adobe continued its first mover role by enriching the portfolio with more and more
innovative products such as PageMaker and Photoshop.

2. Which firms is currently in a stronger position to control de


facto standards in the eBook space? Adobe or Microsoft?
In the begging, Adobe started ahead of Microsoft:
Number of content available
Number of readers (devices that display and print PDF documents)
Number of contents
Number of publishers
However, Microsoft gradually became strong competitor by taking over accounts of
impotent e-publishers like Amazon. Completion had emerged in the market and it
was out of Adobe control to reverse the clock.
Publishers
Logically publishers prefer a single and open source eBook standard. However,
because of blur future of eBook market most of the publishers did not like to take
the risk of losing customers and most of them have tried to be neutral in terms of
format. On the contrary, Microsoft secured few exclusive deals (e.g. Random House,
Michael Crichtons newest novel). Although, Microsoft strong marketing improved
their position within publishers, deep and solid roots of relationship between Adobe
and publishers keeps Adobe the leader. (E.g. 70% of publishers digital archives of
print titles already saved in PDF format.)
Retailers

Page 1 of 3

Seminar2-Group3

Aminreza Pournorouz

PSD

Although the remarkable penetration of Adobe Reader between end users leverage
retailers (eBook e-stores) to follow Adobe, Microsoft relationship with Amazon, the
eBook market leader of eBooks, provided them a leading position compares to
Adobe.
Consumers
Acrobat Reader can be installed on all kinds of operating systems (i.e. Win, OS X,
and Linux) and have printing capabilities. Adobe reached over 200 million Acrobat
Reader downloads. Microsoft on the other hand, was only compatible with Windows.
Although Windows has remarkable market penetration, the difference between a
product that users download intentionally and an exigent add-on in operating
system tells the story. Microsoft and Adobe competition extended to PDAs where
both suffered from lack of sufficient innovation. User consumption behavior has
changed from desktop-laptop to mobile-portable devices. New players with fresh
innovation emerged into the market to satisfy complex needs of mobile users (the
rise of Gemstar). PDF is the leading standard although the market share dropped
significantly.

3. What should Adobe do? How can they win the standards
war? Should they focus on eDocs or eBooks? Will the eBooks
market tip or will there be multiple standards? How can
Adobe make money in this market?
The future of eBook market is unclear and innovation is a difference maker. If Adobe
wants to lead the market they should challenge competitors, not be challenged by
them. Therefore, the long term strategy should converge toward be innovative to
stay competitive.
Adobe needs to use its strong history of cooperation with publishers and
manufacturers to create alliance (Network Effects).
Adobe should identify major PDF deficiencies against customer needs by listening to
PDF detractors. Consumers behaviors and needs change rapidly and the PDF must
be responsive to stay as dominate de facto standard. As a deficiency example, PDF
is designed for A4, A3 page sizes (mostly for paper print purposes). PDF has not
been designed for screen dominates sizes rates like 4:3 or 16:9. Therefore, users
need to scroll up/down zoom in/out to read a document. Adobe should leave PDF
prejudice. Stationary-screen and mobile-screen users needs may fulfil with a fresh
product.
To address deficiencies (or develop new product) and align PDF with emerged
customers needs Adobe may need new company acquisition for responsive action.

Page 2 of 3

Seminar2-Group3

Aminreza Pournorouz

PSD

Adobe should think out of box. What are the major factors that make future of
eBook uncertain? Display readability, size, and readers battery life? If major
uncertainties are related to Readers, Adobe needs to develop reader(s) preferably
within an alliance of corporates (e.g. Sony, Amazon, Samsung, Apple and etc.). If
Adobe exist in an innovative future proof eBook solution eco system, it will be hard
to replace by consumers.

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