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January 6, 1998


Adobe to set up $3 million R&D centre

Adobe Systems India Private Limited, the recently incorporated 100 per cent subsidiary of the US based Adobe Systems Incorporated, will be investing $3 million to set up a research and development centre at NOIDA near Delhi.

The investment will also go towards developing its sales and support channel in the country.

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This is Adobe's first full-fledged R&D centre outside the US. Adobe India will join a select group of Indian companies in offering cash-less stock options to all its employees with a four-year vesting period.

Up to 20, 20, 30 and 30 per cent of the options can be exercised at the end of the first, second, third and fourth years respectively.

Expecting to go fully operational this month itself, Adobe Systems India is set to recruit at least 40 engineers in 1998. "We expect to increase this figure to 125 by the end of 1999, which will include about 100 engineers,'' Naresh Chand Gupta, managing director, Adobe India, said.

"Of this we expect to have a core research team of about 15 people who will be recruited worldwide. The rest of the engineers will be hired locally,'' he added.

Gupta has set his sights on leveraging the extremely skilled workforce in India and plans to go into overdrive with the R&D centre very soon. "Ideally, I would like to have at least 2-3 component pieces developed in India to ship with our products by 6-12 months. Within two years, I would like this to go up to 8-10 component pieces and 2-3 product prototypes under development,'' he said.

The development centre will be part of the corporate engineering group and will work on all product suites.

Initially though the focus will be on developing separable components and tools that build intelligence and 'smart select' type functionality into Photoshop. Visual computing applications will be the predominant route followed by the research team.

Gupta's plans include the setting up of a development group solely for PostScript component development.

Adobe, the third largest desktop software systems company in the world, has traditionally been a multi-platform vendor, adapting its products to work on Microsoft, Novell and UNIX systems.

But recently, the company has tended to lean more towards the Windows-Intel platform with product releases on Windows coming much before on other platforms.

This is a reflection of the move by the company to address the wider home consumer market and a recognition of the improvements in the processing capabilities of the Windows-Intel platform.

The company's marketing blueprint is expected to be ready in the next couple of months. Wipro Infotech will remain reseller for Adobe products in India.

Adobe also plans to open support offices first in Bangalore and then in New Delhi and the other metros.

Adobe's predominant market is in the corporate professional sector worldwide and this is the market the company expects to grow in India initially. But the home market for products such as PostScript, Photoshop and PageMaker is growing in developed markets, in large part due to the simpler user interface developed by Adobe.

"In India, piracy is a major hurdle that we have to surmount. It's almost 95 per cent. Once we start our channel operations, we plan to bring this down to industry standards (60-65 per cent). We hope to achieve this through value addition, customer support, pricing and, of course, legal recourse,'' said Gupta.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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