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Adobe's Chizen pursues 'heart and soul' of Web

Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen

SAN FRANCISCO--Adobe is seeking to balance openness with commercial interests as it tries to "push the envelope" of what's possible on the Web, said company CEO Bruce Chizen on Wednesday.

Chizen spoke at the Web 2.0 Summit here where he defended the company's last year, the company best known for its Flash Player and Web authoring software.

Images on the Web are routinely created with Adobe's Photoshop or Illustrator and documents are presented with its Acrobat Reader. But that wasn't enough for Chizen, one of the chief architects behind the Macromedia deal.

"The challenge for Adobe was that we were a peripheral player on the Web," Chizen said. "We weren't the heart and soul."

Two weeks ago, the company hosted its Max customer conference where it outlined some of its points of integration between the two companies products, including , software for displaying Flash content, PDF documents and HTML.

Chizen said that Adobe intends to work more in open source, although he said that it does poses a challenge for the company. Adobe on Tuesday announced that it will provide the --software to run JavaScript andActionScript programs--to the Mozilla Foundation for inclusion in future versions of the FireFox browser.

"You'll see us participate more (in open source). We're going to have to walk this fine line between open standards and open source," he said.

"Where we want to make money, it's hard to be completely open source because we do need to continue to generate revenue," he said.

O'Reilly noted that Microsoft is increasingly seeking to steal away customers from Adobe, notably Web designers and graphics designers.

When asked how he felt being in Microsoft's cross hairs, Chizen said he's "flattered" but that it's "scary."

"I'm thrilled that Google is there. They act like a heat shield" by distracting Microsoft competitively, he said.

O'Reilly, who coined the term Web 2.0, asserted that Adobe has a quasi-competitive relationship with the Web. For example, developers are choosing to use the AJAX Web development technique to accomplish some of the things people traditionally do with Flash.

"We don't view that as competition," Chizen said. "Google Finance uses Flash because Flash can do something that you just can't do with AJAX. We want to pick up what people are already doing and take it up one notch."