Adobe Company Wide Layoffs, Pulls out of Macworld Expo

Breaking news: Adobe has announced company wide layoffs of about 600 full time positions, and has pulled out of Macworld Expo. Among the cuts, Mike Downey, who was a Flash evangelist and well known by the general community.

I know a lot of really great people at Adobe, and my thoughts are with them all. Hopefully everything works out for the best for everyone involved.

Hold on to your hats folks, it could be a bumpy ride.

News here:


Mike Downey’s twitter

Adobe Provides Preliminary Q4 Fiscal 2008 Results

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".



  1. Heya,

    Mike’s tweet says nothing about this being related to the Adobe announcement? You sure this is related?


  2. I’m not positive, but unless he resigned to protest the cuts, it’s unlikely that it isn’t related. He twittered that he was no longer with Adobe at almost exactly the same time other Adobe folk twittered that they were being let go.

  3. Wow, I can’t recall when Macromedia ever laid anyone off, even during the lean times – at least no one as influential in the community as Mike Downey.

    This is surprising and for the first time shakes my confidence in the future of Flash. I hope this doesn’t mean reduced development effort on the Flash platform.

    I only wish the best future for Mike and the other laid off Adobe staff.

  4. Welcome to the corporate world, where businesses find it easier to cut off limbs, than surgically remove under-performers.

  5. Hey Chuck, please be careful what you say. These are real people and I’m guessing that you have no idea why/how this decision was made in Adobe case.

  6. to bb: This happened two or three times at Macromedia during the period of 2002 – 2004 and may have happened again had they not been purchased by Adobe. Unfortunately, this is the result of recession.


  7. @ Marc: you’re right, I really have no idea. I was crass in my comment. However, the context here is that corporations do not have a good way of trimming people that they want to get rid of, and keeping good people. Additionally, our government tax, regulation, and employment systems generally make it more difficult and time consuming to efficiently remove underperformers as opposed to hacking whole groups. This is my idealistic frustration, and I expressed it a little out of context, and quite a bit insensitively. Thanks for the check.

  8. Adobe cites weaker-than-expected demand for CS4.

    Well in my opinion, this is partly due to the recession, and partly due to pricing. They really need a a more flexible pricing policy. I believe they need to offer small developers deeply discounted versions of their products, and charge the big bucks to corporations buying hundreds of seats. Most developers I know just end up pirating the Adobe products because the the price is a psychological barrier. Yes, that’s wrong, but it’s the reality out there in the market. Adobe needs a pricing structure which reflects that reality.

  9. People say adobe consulting is gone as well. Anyone has more info on this one?

  10. With the US economy in such poor shape it’s sad, but not surprising, news.

  11. I’m going over to Silverlight/Processing if Ryan Stewart is still employed.

  12. I agree with Chuck. Recession is a great excuse for companies to fire people they don’t like or they don’t want any more.

  13. This is sad news, and a little scary.

  14. @BB: Um, this most *certainly* happened at Macromedia. I know, I was one, back in 2001.

    More layoffs came after the acquisition in 05.

  15. @Brett: I don’t follow on the pricing policy you are suggesting. I think that Adobe should definitely offer (free) student versions (which they do as for Flex Builder). But why should they make large companies who buy lots of licenses pay more and ruin their relationship with them? A serious developer can easily afford to get an Adobe suite given the current job markets. Maybe they should consider selling cheaper versions in countries with lower developer incomes (don’t know if they do). In Europe, it is nearly impossible to find qualified developers who are willing to commit themselves to a company. Why? Because they can cherry-pick their jobs and make very good money freelance. I think they can afford their Adobe software…

  16. If there wasn’t a massive demand for CS4, it can’t of been helped by how underwhelming Flash CS4 was. All the stuff that looked cool, e.g. 3D, pixel bender and bones, turned out to be a bit pointless.

  17. I was considering buying the software, it’s just that I am holding off until I master AS3 and Flex. There is so much on our plates that are so cool for integration. I have to give a hand to Mike and other evangelists because they are the ones who promote the product so well. Gotta go and have breakfast. 😀

  18. @mike, Just for clarification, Adobe Consulting is still around, it’s just been re-orged and re-branded “Professional Services”… I’m not really the best person to give an “official” comment, just to say, yes, Adobe Consulting work continues along with ongoing projects, but the department has taken an organizational and staff hit, just like every other department in Adobe.

  19. I was laid off not because my performance but because my race – Asian. My performance is better than a few person in my team. The manager is a Indian, he just laid off engineers because race was involved.

  20. “Adobe cites weaker-than-expected demand for CS4.”

    It’s difficult to state anything convincing without proper investigation and actual numbers, but it seems that Flash CS4 and Flash player 10 also disappointed a lot of people.

    New features are cool, and wow/applause-friendly in adobe parties. But a software must also work correctly on a normal computer, and a Flash player that breaks existing content is not specially appealing for new projects.

  21. It seems like there are a few things hurting the CS4 release – at least as far as flash is concerned.

    1) The adoption of Flash Player 9 is still slow with a lot of development companies. Many of them are still working with Flash 8 content even. There are a few places that I have done work for in the last year that still have not updated to CS3 because they aren’t able to use CS3 specific features – probably just because they can’t sell it. In any case, from a business standpoint, I can see where someone would halt at spending the money for this new version when it may very well be years before they can actually sell clients on the new features of CS4.

    2) I don’t agree so much with the idea that CS4 doesn’t have significant changes. We still haven’t seen many applications that really push the available features beyond anything that could be done already. It’s only been released for a month or so, we need to give it some time to really kick in so people can start building really inspirational (and sell-able) apps.

  22. An interesting discussion from the game developpers of Flashkit:

  23. Ah man, that sucks. Hopefully, this economy can bounce back in record time….hope

  24. Sad to see people go, and its obviously down to something much larger than low sales of CS4, although CS4 is a bit underwhelming. I wish them all the best!

    “Hold on to your hats folks, it could be a bumpy ride.”

    Bring on the bumps!

  25. Peter Baird has responded already, but I thought I’d add more detail here….Adobe Consulting is still very much part of our go-to-market for enterprise customers; indeed, as part of the various re-organizations, we have created a broader team “Adobe Technical Services” that combines all of our customer-facing technical and user-experience design teams into a team under single-leadership. This organization includes our Adobe Technical Sales, Technical Enablement, Consulting and Customer Care teams, with a goal of making both customers and partners equally successful in their use of Adobe solutions, to establish repeatable processes and best-practices across engagements.

    Expect to hear more from the consulting team, not less…

  26. “For the full year, Adobe earned $871.8 million, or $1.59 per share.” Adobe earn so much money and still layoff people. The CEO Shantanu Narayen is really bad and lousy. It treat employee no respect. What a lousy CEO, Shantanu Narayen and company.

  27. @gludion I agree well with your point, “a software that breaks existing code” aint it at all. CS4 pisses me cos of that fileReference stuff that wont work well on existing apps! I have hundreds of clients complaining things aint working.

    I believe better doors will open up for the staffs that were layed off, just be on the lookout.

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