SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Adobe to Go 100% SaaS?

Posted by Bob Warfield on October 18, 2007

Wow!  I wondered when this would come up, but didn’t expect them to talk about it in the open so soon.  Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen apparently was all over the topic at the Web 2.0 conference.  The bad news is they see the transition taking up to 10 years. 

Josh Catone at R/W Web is skeptical it can be done that fast, citing the need for higher bandwidth.  I’m not sure I agree.  He cites powerful processing that can be done in the cloud very easily.  The bandwidth problem is there and needs to be contended with, but it boils down to what frame rate can you ship a screen to the PC at over an online connection.  I think we’ll get there in 10 years easily.  For the sake of argument, my current screen settings require a 54 megabit connection to refresh that screen each second.  Full motion 60 frame video would require 3 gigabits.  But that back of envelope calculation assumes no tricks involved.  No ability to compress the image, yada, yada.  If I save a screenshot in PSD format in Photoshop, suddenly its about 6x smaller.  For comparison, my DSL today can talk to Flash at a rate of 1.2MB.  So I can send the full page screen shot about once a second in the PSD format.  That’s too slow to let me see a dynamic preview as I move a slider in PhotoShop, but it’s fast enough for a lot of things.

I think the bigger challenges Adobe faces are business model impact on their financials and getting more of the world acclimated to web apps.  10 years feels like plenty of time to organize a transition without tanking the fundamentals from Wall Street’s point of view.  In terms of getting the world ready, 10 years is a long time too.  Look at the web 10 years ago and it was radically different.  I’ll bet the way you spent your time on your PC back then was different too.

This plan could work!

2 Responses to “Adobe to Go 100% SaaS?”

  1. […] discussed the practicalities – bandwidth, compression requirements etc etc – and pretty much said that 10 […]

  2. darrellross said

    Bruce did not overtly state that SaaS was their strategy during the MAX conference two weeks ago. But, if you scrutinize their latest acquisitions/endeavors, it reflects a SaaS mindset –> WordBuzz, Scene7, launch of Photoshop Premiere Express, and the Adobe Media Player. Some of their latest Labs technology, such as Kokomo, is about how to embed more features inside of the webconferencing product, Acrobat Connect.

    -Darrell

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