May 16, 2021

Charles Geschke, father of PDF and founder of the Adobe company, dies

Charles Geschke.

Charles Geschke, the father of PDF and founder of the company Adobe software, died on Friday, as announced by the Californian company in a statement this morning.

Geschke worked for the research and development division of Xerox in Silicon Valley (California) in the 1970s, where he developed software to translate words and images into printed documents together with John Warnock, who would become his partner at Adobe.

Geschke and Warnock, whose ideas and drive were ignored by Xerox, went on to found Adobe, a software giant that today has a market capitalization of $ 250 billion, in 1982.

“Technology is like fish, if you handle them soon they get bad,” Geschke said, recalling his frustration at innovating within the then printing giant Xerox, where he was told that it took seven years to launch a product.

Adobe created the digital document format Portable Document Format or PDF in 1993 And despite technological changes over time, it continues to be a standard for publishing digital documents.

The company that Geschke co-founded changed the world of publishing, printing and digital communication with various software such as Photoshop, Acrobat or Illustrator, which have become essential tools for editors and creatives.

The Adobe’s meteoric success led to him being abducted for several days in 1992, until the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) rescued him.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Adobe mourned the loss of its founder and assured that Geschke died surrounded by his loved ones, although it did not give details about the causes of his death.

Geschke, born in 1939, was the son of an Ohio linotype designer who worked transferring license plate images to newspapers and magazines, a process that more than half a century later would forever revolutionize Adobe.

Geschke, who wanted to be a Jesuit, fell in love with computing in the 1960s, received his doctorate in computer science in 1973, and bragged that he had not studied business at all and that the only thing that helped him was a book that taught him the importance to find niches of unmet needs.

“Adobe found one of them and the void was gigantic”, recalled in a speech in 2011.


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