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History of Adobe Systems

Adobe’s first products after PostScript were digital fonts, which they released in a proprietary format called Type 1. Apple subsequently developed a competing standard, TrueType, which provided full scalability and precise control of the pixel pattern created by the font’s outlines, and licensed it to Microsoft. Adobe responded by publishing the Type 1 specification and releasing Adobe Type Manager, software that allowed WYSIWYG scaling of Type 1 fonts on screen, like TrueType, although without the precise pixel-level control. But these moves were too late to stop the rise of TrueType. Although Type 1 remained the standard in the graphics/publishing market, TrueType became the standard for business and the average Windows user. In 1996, Adobe and Microsoft announced the OpenType font format, and in 2003 Adobe completed converting its Type 1 font library to OpenType.

In the mid-1980s, Adobe entered the consumer software market with Adobe Illustrator, a vector-based drawing program for the Apple Macintosh. Illustrator, which grew from the firm’s in-house font-development software, helped popularize PostScript-enabled laser printers. Unlike MacDraw, then the standard Macintosh vector drawing program, Illustrator described shapes with more flexible Bézier curves, providing unprecedented accuracy. Font rendering in Illustrator, however, was left to the Macintosh’s QuickDraw libraries and would not be superseded by a PostScript-like approach until Adobe released Adobe Type Manager.

In 1989, Adobe introduced what was to become its flagship product, a graphics editing program for the Macintosh called Photoshop. Stable and full-featured, Photoshop 1.0 was ably marketed by Adobe and soon dominated the market.

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