"Standards are the engine enabling our industry to develop software in a low-risk, cost-effective manner."
This is the view of Shantanu Narayen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Adobe, one of the world's largest and fastest growing software companies and creator of PDF (Portable Document Format) – file formats for the exchange and storage of documents specified in a series of ISO standards. Narayen is the subject of an exclusive interview in the March 2006 issue of ISO Focus (
"Even more important," Narayen continues, "standards help business and government by promoting software interoperability, reducing technology complexity, streamlining adherence to regulations, and helping ensure that customers, partners, and employees can exchange information securely and productively… At Adobe, we fundamentally believe in open standards as a means of attracting developers to our technology platform. Being open needs to be part of your DNA."
Narayen appreciates ISO's efforts for maintaining and supporting standards within the software industry: "ISO is the world’s most prominent organization for standards development, playing a pivotal role in developing and publishing recognized and formally agreed to International Standards for digital collaboration, communication, and commerce."
"For Adobe in particular," he says, "ISO approval helps promote international adoption of file formats and languages that bridge paper-to-digital worlds and advance global commerce and communication."
The ability to deliver next-generation functionality extending across applications, enterprises, users, formats, and devices will depend upon open APIs (Application Programming Interface) and standards. "As always," Narayen says, "ISO will continue to play a crucial role in developing and disseminating the standards needed to engage people with information in compelling yet controlled ways."
Adobe has been very supportive of standards organizations and has helped draft the intellectual property rules for many standards bodies. "We believe that companies participating in the creation of ISO [level] standards should offer licenses under patent claims necessary to practise those standards," Narayen says in the interview. "At a minimum, those licenses should include reasonable and non-discriminatory terms."
"We will continue to work within ISO’s network of standards institutes to ensure compliance with existing standards, develop new standards where there is a market need, and remain committed to supporting these standards in our products and solutions moving forward."