Adobe chief: Mobile a huge positive for us

Adobe Systems signage is displayed outside of the company's office in San Francisco, California, U.S
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The shift from personal computers to smartphones and tablets is a big positive for Adobe Systems, its chief executive told CNBC.

While the company attracts a plethora of photographers, videographers, illustrators and animators, Adobe is best known for its image editing software, Photoshop, and for introducing the portable document format (PDF), which has become an internationally accepted medium for sharing electronic documents.

Photoshop, along with several other offerings from the California-based company, are available on Apple's iOS and Google's Android systems.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC's "Squawk Box", Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said, "The whole mobility phenomenon is a tailwind for our business."

Staying at the front of the pack in a mobile environment, with millions of applications available and new ones being created everyday, can be a tall order. Adobe's image editing offerings, such as Photoshop and Lightroom, compete with hundreds of other similar applications on iOS and Android operating systems, including Instagram, VSCO and Camera360.

A non-scientific survey conducted by technology news site CNET and RBC Capital Markets found that Adobe's PC-based users are not always quick to adopt its mobile apps.

Their data, released last month, showed among respondents who subscribe to Adobe's Creative Cloud, 43 percent do not use any of Adobe's mobile apps. CNET said in a report only about one in four use the Photoshop Fix app to touch up images and one in five use the Photoshop Mix app to combine photos.

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Adobe's Creative Cloud is a collection of multimedia software available for download via the internet on a subscription basis.

But Narayen said the survey findings were more nuanced.

"I think there's the half empty, half full scenario there. The half full scenario is that the number of people who have now downloaded our applications and are using it as part of the workflow over the last year and a half has absolutely exploded."

"For anybody who wants to do serious content creation, we're still the only game in town. Products like Lightroom Mobile, that the survey actually talked about, as well as Photoshop Fix and Photoshop Mix, are rapidly becoming the de facto standard for high-end image editing," he said.

Narayen estimated approximately 60 million downloads for Adobe's mobile apps in the iOS and Android ecosystems.

Another area of growth for Adobe, Narayen said, was in its marketing cloud business, a series of internet-based software for marketers.

"Every single business has to have a digital experience that they provide to their customers, whether they are in hospitality or financial services," he said, adding the market cloud business is enabling those experiences to be delivered.

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