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Fri 29 Sep 2006 08:00 PM

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Adobe has designs on office in Middle East

Adobe has announced plans to open its first Middle East office — despite fears that massive piracy levels in the region are seriously affecting its revenue.

Andrew Lindstrom, regional manager of Adobe Systems for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, revealed the company’s hopes during a visit to Dubai this month, and explained that his proposals to open an office in Dubai by 2007 were contained in a business plan that had been sent to US Adobe executives.

The plan includes proposals to have around 20 staff deployed in the region during the next 12 months in sales, marketing, technical, and account management roles.

“We’re currently in the process of the FY’07 business plan which I am about to finish and submit. Hopefully, based on that, we will actually have a local office with additional heads,” Lindstrom said.

He admitted however that crippling piracy levels across the region have so far stopped the firm from making any serious investment or commitment to the Middle East.

According to Lindstrom, on average 65% of Adobe software being used in the region is pirated with levels rising to as much as 80% in Jordan and Lebanon.

Describing the effect this is having on the company’s regional revenue, he said: “It’s having a huge impact on annual revenue. I know how much I sell in Jordan or Lebanon and I know how many users there are and we are only scratching the surface in terms of revenue.”

“And if you’re not delivering the revenue it’s difficult to get Adobe to invest in the market.”

According to Lindstrom, the problem was partly due to the fact that Adobe simply did not have enough “feet on the ground” to tackle the rampant piracy levels of its products.

“The more staff you have focusing on anti-piracy the more effective you are at combating it too,” he said.

“From an Adobe perspective if you knew how many large companies there were in Jordan, and how many of those would do more than let’s say US$10million turnover you could go back into Adobe Systems and see how many licenses they have bought.”

“We don’t have the manpower (to do that),” he admitted.

Lindstrom went on to say that he also blamed the problem on lack of copyright enforcement action by governments in the region and said this complacency had made Adobe reluctant to develop localised products for the Middle East.

“If the government doesn’t start assisting with legislation, how do you expect a company like Adobe to start doing localisation,” he said.

Adobe currently has five staff handling its affairs in the Middle East and a regional office based in South Africa. It relies on sole distributor GraphEast Computers to distribute its products in the region.

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