Seattle’s Bill McCoy, E-Books and Digital Distribution Expert, Leaving Adobe

We’ve all been wondering how the Adobe layoffs, reported earlier this week, may affect the Seattle area—especially given the slew of other recent cutbacks in the local tech industry. Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE), which is headquartered in San Jose, CA, has a strong presence in Seattle. As of recently, it employed some 500 people, focused on product development, operations, and advanced technology and research, at its Fremont offices.

Well, one prominent executive who’s leaving the company locally is Bill McCoy, Adobe’s general manager of ePublishing Business. McCoy is Adobe’s main e-book person. He made key contributions to Adobe’s PostScript and PDF technologies, and his team has helped lead projects like Adobe Reader Mobile SDK, Adobe Content Server, Adobe Digital Editions, and Adobe InDesign. He’s on the board of the International Digital Publishing Forum, and has been heavily involved in the EPUB standards movement. (You can read more about McCoy at

In a blog post this week, McCoy said he’s leaving Adobe “in the near future” to pursue other opportunities yet to be determined. “I will be taking a little bit of time off, but there is no doubt that I’ll continue to be involved in the future of digital books, especially where that future intersects with web standards and open source,” McCoy writes. “I believe that Adobe will continue to play a critical role as an enabler of interoperable solutions, but I also believe that the community needs to stay vigilant to ensure that for-profit corporations don’t just talk the talk about being open, but also walk the walk.”

It sounds like Adobe is overhauling its efforts in the area, as its competition with Amazon and other e-publishing companies heats up. In a blog post, Adobe said it “has made the decision to expand its investment in digital publishing, creating a new organization focused on delivering products to increase digital revenue opportunities for book, newspaper and magazine publishers. This organization will combine the efforts of Adobe’s eBook business responsible for the Adobe Reader Mobile SDK, Adobe Content Server, Adobe Digital Editions, and PDF and EPUB authoring support in Adobe InDesign with Adobe’s digital newspaper and magazine efforts.” The company added, “We are particularly excited about what we have in store for 2010. We plan to further our reach to emerging mobile reading platforms to allow readers to read anywhere, on any device.”

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