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March 22, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Adobe Systems Inc dropped a bombshell into its first quarter financial report yesterday, disclosing that Hewlett-Packard Co will cease to incorporate its PostScript printer command language on some future LaserJet printers beginning in the second half of 1997. Instead HP will license one of the PostScript clone implementations, which insiders say will allow HP to build much cheaper printers. At between $300 and $600, PostScript is considered an expensive item for printer products now in the $1,000 range. The market is expected to heat up considerably when, as expected (CI No 2,810), IBM introduces its own desktop printers later this year. IBM Corp’s former Lexmark International Inc business uses a PostScript-compatible technology in its printer family. HP’s decision could wipe out as much as 5% of Adobe’s business in one fell swoop; Adobe says its LaserJet products accounted for $38.1m of its $762m 1995 revenue. Observers say the move is also a big win for Microsoft Corp whose TrueType family of fonts currently compete with Adobe’s font technology. HP entered the PostScript printer market to win market share from number two supplier, Apple Computer Inc with printers designated with an M for Macintosh, such as the latest 5MP. Most applications running on the Macintosh operating system use PostScript, considered to be better at putting dots on a page than HP’s own PCL printer command language.

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