As you have probably heard by now, Adobe announced a number of layoffs yesterday. The layoffs were in response to the global economic downturn, and lower than expected sales of Adobe CS4 (due to the economic situation). You can find the press release for the revised revenue expectations and restructuring here (pdf). In total, about 600 people were let go.
Even if you have been through something like this before, it is still a big shock, and can be a difficult time. Unfortunately, it is one of the realities of our economic system.
600 people are a lot of people (around 7 - 8% of Adobe’s total workforce), but it really comes into perspective when people you know are affected. In the past, this might have been an issue just for employees, but given Adobe’s openness and involvement in the community, this has a very direct impact on the communities as well. This has been very evident both yesterday and today. Yesterday was a real reminder to me, of how important the community is to me and how big a role it plays in my life (both as an Adobe employee, but also in my personal life). I know that some of the people who were directly affected by the layoffs took strength from the encouragement and support from the community.
This morning, we had an all hands meeting for the platform group (which among other products includes AIR, Flex, Flex Builder and Flash Player) to discuss some of the recent changes. Given that these changes impact the community almost as much as it impacts me, I wanted to share some of the information from that meeting about the changes and restructuring.
First, the Mobile and Devices Business Unit (BU) is being combined with the Platform BU. Personally, given the dependencies between the mobile runtimes and browser and desktop runtimes, I think this makes a lot of sense. Among other things, it should mean that we see closer coordination between releases across browsers, desktop and devices (i.e. Flash Player 10 and ActionScript 3 on devices).
Here are some of the notes I took from the meeting about the Platform Business Unit’s focus for 2009.
- Advancing the Flash Platform is the top priority for 2009 (and one of the top priorities for Adobe overall).
- Focus on bringing Flash Player 10 and AIR to devices.
- Deliver Flash Catalyst and Flex 4.
- Deliver the next version of ColdFusion (code named “Centaur”).
- Reduce expenses.
- Continue to grow the Flex and ActionScript developer base.
- Extend community help programs and services.
- Continue to drive innovation with some key seed projects (I cant go into any detail on this just yet).
- Continue to align and support efforts across Adobe along key areas of transformation that the industry is currently undergoing (ill post more on this in the future).
Changes like this are never easy, and it is particularly difficult when it affects you and / or friends directly. However, I am still as excited as ever about the Flash Platform and the outlook for it for 2009 and beyond
I know that there are probably a lot of questions, and I will do my best to answer them, or get answers for them. However, please keep in mind that I wont be able to go into detail on everything (especially on questions regarding information about specific people affected).
PLEASE KEEP COMMENTS ON TOPIC.