Just as they say you can remove the boy from the ghetto but can’t take the ghetto out of the boy, it’s hard to shed the effect of a couple of decades in accounting. It creeps out every so often, most recently explaining Sarbanes Oxley to a non-accountant who believes the glib explanations of why some software upgrade simply can’t be released mid-cycle, and today it was reading Adobe’s quarterly results. But if reading the results yourself doesn’t fill you with equal delight, here are a few highlights :

  • Sales are up 6%
    • Software sales (“revenue” to Americans) are static compared with the same period last year
    • Remember that Creative Suite sales are spread over a couple of years so there’s no spike caused by CS6’s release
    • Sales growth comes, not surprisingly, from subscriptions and service/support
    • Subscription sales are about 15% of total software revenue
  • On the costs side
    • R&D costs are static
    • Sales and marketing costs up 10%

There are also some interesting comments explaining the subscription revenue growth. “Adobe Creative Cloud paid subscriptions grew to approximately 200,000 in the third quarter.  Adobe added approximately 8,000 Creative Cloud subscriptions per week during the quarter, exceeding the addition of 5,000 subscriptions per week that was assumed in its third quarter financial targets.” So it looks as if it’s got off to a strong start:

“We’re on a path to drive millions of subscribers to our Creative Cloud offering….”

That’s from the top numbers guy and was probably just a rather unfortunate turn of phrase (makes accounting sound dynamic), but it does come in the week when Mitt Romney’s leaked comments showed candour isn’t always the best policy.