What’s going on at Adobe?

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When Adobe got into the 3d CAD market following the aquisition of TTF a few years ago, many involved in the industry where wondering what the company would produce and how it would effect the CAD market.

To date, the impact has been restricted to the tools surrounding Acrobat 3D and perhaps the potential impact of Adobe bundling TTF’s translation tools making high quality translation tools available for a much lower cost than has typically been the case through specialist vendors.

But last week, while the Global Product Data Interoperability Summit (GPDIS) (hosted by Boeing and Northrop Grumman) was underway, we got a phone call asking if “All was well with Adobe,” as there was a booth at the event with Adobe’s name on but Adobe were a no show. A curious thing, but with massive lay-offs at Adobe, it was perhaps an indication that the company was retrenching to its stronger areas.

Randall Newton, Editor in Chief of CADCAMNET was at the event and recently posted a report on his inquiries to Adobe, and he’s agree to allow us to replicate that post in its entirety and it fleshing out some of the details:

New Adobe Layoffs Include Manufacturing Solutions Group, By Randall S. Newton Editor-in-Chief

November 12, 2009 – This week Adobe Systems announced the layoff of 680 employees. CADCAMNet has learned that employees of the Manufacturing Solutions Group were among those affected.

Adobe responded to our questions about the specific impacts of the layoffs with a vague statement: “Adobe is restructuring its business to align costs with its fiscal 2010 operating plan and budget, the company’s three-year strategic priorities and the realities of the business environment, as well as to ensure its ability to continue investing in long-term growth opportunities.”


Adobe’s Manufacturing Solutions Group was scheduled to have a booth and a session at this week’s Global Product Data Interoperability Summit (GPDIS) hosted by Boeing and Northrop Grumman. Conference organizers filled in with a new vendor on short notice when the Adobe team failed to appear on Monday.

3D Development to Continue

Adobe has given assurances to its technology partners for Acrobat 3D that the current round of layoffs do not affect the status of Acrobat 3D. Adobe is ending a vertical approach to marketing its 3D technology, but will continue development.

An informal poll of vendors and users at GPDIS found that, while many are using Adobe Acrobat in their documentation workflow, almost no one questioned was using its 3D capabilities. (To counter that, we are also aware of many uses of Acrobat 3D technology in manufacturing and construction.) In not-for-attribution comments, more than one developer told us that the technology remains challenging to work with, and that the “hooks” into the program are not nearly as robust as one might expect from a company as large as Adobe. In recent weeks key members of the Acrobat 3D team have left Adobe for other technology firms, including AMD and NVIDIA subsidiary mental images.

Tough Year

Last year around this time Adobe laid off about 600. This week’s layoff of 680 is about 9% of Adobe’s global staff. Most of the layoffs will be at the company’s San Jose headquarters and other locations in the San Francisco Bay area. Adobe revenue has been down, year-over-year, in each the last three quarters. In 3Q09 revenue was down 21% and profit was off 29% from the year earlier

Randall’s also giving free access to all the articles posted at CADCAMNET for this month, so dive in and have a look to see what they’ve got for your interest.

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