SAN FRANCISCO (04/17/2000) - Kyle Mashima is a vice president of product marketing for the consumer products division at Adobe Systems Inc. PC World recently quizzed him about Adobe's plans for its consumer products, ActiveShare and PhotoDeluxe, and on photo-sharing trends on the Web.
PC World: Adobe has been in the professional high-end imaging space. What sparked the interest in a consumer products line?
Mashima: We started (the consumer division) over five years ago and began work on PhotoDeluxe. We based the design on PhotoShop 3's imaging engine but knew consumers weren't going to learn a complex tool.
We've always had a strong retail presence. Also, most people need a device. If you don't have a photo, what are you going to do with a photo editor? So we started bundling (PhotoDeluxe) with scanners and with cameras. Then we found that most PhotoDeluxe users didn't do much editing. Their number-one motivation with a photo was to share it.
PC World: So you launched ActiveShare (Adobe's free photo album and sharing tool). But a lot of sites offer storage, editing, and an album interface. How does Adobe distinguish its service?
Mashima: We use the same bundling strategy because ActiveShare is part of PhotoDeluxe 4.0. And when you share, it goes to our partner site at ECircles.com. We have the highest volume. In 1999, we put out about 12 million copies of PhotoDeluxe. ActiveShare should do as well if not better.
PC World: Is usability the prime reason to want ActiveShare over other free tools?
Mashima: That's a major part -- and functionality. Within the product, we have print partners, Shutterfly and Kodak, doing the standard 35-millimeter quality prints. You just drag your photos onto the print icon. Another partner, AmazingMail.com, puts your photos onto a postcard and mails it for you.
PC World: Do you think ActiveShare might eventually be a Web-only product with all its features hosted online?
Mashima: There are companies providing direct connect from a camera to a Web site. It's okay if you have a broadband connection but on a regular modem, it's not a pretty activity. It's the right direction, but it requires broadband.
PC World: What's the long-term role for online photo sharing?
Mashima: I think of photo sharing as a virtual coffee table. Today our families are all over the country. It's hard to get that coffee-table open-the-album-and-share experience. (Web photo sharing) allows families and friends to build community again. As we move forward, it's going to become as pervasive as e-mail, and even be integrated in the whole rich graphical email concept.
PC World: Do you ever see Adobe.com replacing ECircles.com for ActiveShare's sharing component?
Mashima: We tend to focus on places where we add the highest value -- applications capabilities. The consumer area is as far afield for us as it goes, so ECircles, a company dedicated to the community space, is going to do a better job.
PC World: Adobe has a lot of tools for video editing. Do you see evolving a consumer line with video sharing and editing products?
Mashima: It's something that has to happen. Video is so much bigger than images that all of that wonderful bandwidth is going to get choked but the reality is that it's the next level and something we've been prepared to do for a long time.