This pressure to produce first became a problem when Warnock decided to do Adobe Illustrator, a PostScript drawing program for the Macintosh. Adobe’s customers to that point were companies like Apple and IBM, but Illustrator was meant to be sold to you and me, which meant that Adobe suddenly needed distributors, dealers, printers for manuals, duplicators for floppy disks—things that weren’t at all necessary when serving customers meant sending a reel of computer tape over to Cupertino in exchange for a few million dollars, thank you. But John Warnock wanted the world to have a PostScript drawing tool, and so the world would have a PostScript drawing tool. A brilliant programmer named Mike Schuster was pulled away from the company’s system software business to write the application as Warnock envisioned it.
In the retail software business, you introduce a product and then immediately start doing revisions to stay current with technology and fix bugs. John Warnock didn’t know this. Adobe Illustrator appeared in 1986, and Schuster was sent to work on other things. They should have kept someone working on Illustrator, improving it and fixing bugs, but there just wasn’t enough spare programmer power to allow that. A version of Illustrator for the IBM PC followed that was so bad it came to be called the “landfill version” inside the company. PC Illustrator should have been revised instantly, but wasn’t.
When Adobe finally got around to sprucing up the Macintosh version of Illustrator, they cleverly called the new version Illustrator 88, because it appeared in 1988. You could still buy Illustrator 88 in 1989, though. And in 1990. And even into 1991, when it was finally replaced by Illustrator 3.0. Adobe is not a marketing company.
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