Days after the recession deemed “official,” heads roll at Adobe

I feel a bit guilty. These may be the most troubling economic times in seven decades, but in the borderless world of web development I felt outside of the economic downturn. Sure the news has been bad for awhile, and just this past Monday the economists at The National Bureau of Economic Research crowned the pink elephant marching through the lives of so many. In case you missed it, it is “officially” a recession, and has just passed its first birthday (see article by CNN). Yet I see job postings for Flex/Flash/Web Developers/Designers daily and the news of bank bailouts, the mortgage crisis, job losses all felt troubling in an oh-the-horror-that-grips-those-faraway-lands kind of way. After all I work in an arena that seems so poised on the edge of ever more explosive growth. This is the age of Rich Internet Applications, the juggernaut of Google’s information indexing empire, the maturation of social media (as evidenced by Twitter’s use in spreading news of the recent attacks on Mumbai). Why even Adobe just released a slew of new projects on their labs site a little over two weeks ago. So there I go, surfing a wave of optimism across a sea of economic doomsday hearsay. It’s troubling, but I have my toolkit of web technologies to guide me forward. Many of which fly under the flag of Adobe.

Tonight, however, my surfboard sank a little. News spilled out that Adobe is restructuring and is laying off a significant fraction of its workforce, 600 jobs, or 8.6% of its 6,959 employees. Among them is Mike Downey, Adobe’s Principal Evangelist for AIR, Flash, and Flex, who sent this note over Twitter a few hours ago: “I am no longer with Adobe. It’s all for the best.” I remember Mike as a friendly face at FITC Toronto, eager to speak with the masses. I hope it is for the best.