Adobe co-founder John Warnock, one of the titans of the Silicon Valley tech industry, has died at the age of 82.
“It is with profound sadness that Adobe shares the passing of the company’s beloved co-founder Dr. John Warnock,” Adobe announced in a news release on Sunday. “Dr. Warnock passed away on Saturday surrounded by his family.”
No cause of death was mentioned.
Warnock will be remembered for co-founding Photoshop-maker Adobe in 1982 with Charles Geschke. In a classic Silicon Valley tale, the two visionaries, who had first met while working at Xerox, reportedly started the company in the garage of Warnock’s home in Los Altos. (As the story goes, the company’s name came from the Adobe Creek that ran behind the house.) Before the year was out, they were fending off a takeover bid from Apple’s Steve Jobs.
The company’s first product was Adobe PostScript, which helped spawn the desktop-publishing revolution.
Under Warnock’s watch, San Jose-based Adobe grew to become one of the world’s biggest and most important software companies.
“John’s brilliance and technology innovations changed the world,” Adobe Chair and CEO Shantanu Narayen said in an email to employees. “It is a sad day for the Adobe community and the industry for which he has been an inspiration for decades.”
Warnock retired as Adobe CEO in 2000, but remained on as co-chairman of the board — with Geschke — for the company until 2017.
His many recognitions over the years include President Barack Obama awarding him the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2008.
“John has been widely acknowledged as one of the greatest inventors in our generation with significant impact on how we communicate in words, images and videos,” Narayen said.
Word of Warnock’s passing was greeted with sorrow from Adobe employees.
“He really was an amazing person,” said longtime Adobe employee David Blackmon. “(He) equally understood and loved people and technology. Very sad to hear of his death.”
The news also spread quickly on social media, prompting tributes from a number of people who worked with him through the years.
“The world lost a pioneer and legend today. @jewarnock was an inventor and visionary, a determined leader, left his mark on the world in innumerable ways,” @scottbelsky posted on X (formerly known as Twitter). “He (was) also a mentor and had a great impression on me since joining @Adobe in 2012. a loss to mourn and a life to celebrate.”
Born Oct. 6, 1940, Warnock was raised in Salt Lake City and went on to earn several degrees from the University of Utah. He moved to the Bay Area, and began working at Xerox, in the ’70s.
Beyond the business world, Warnock’s many hobbies and passions reportedly included skiing, hike and photography.
Warnock is survived by his wife Marva Warnock and his three children. Service/memorial information has not made public.
the world lost a pioneer and legend today. @jewarnock was an inventor and visionary, a determined leader, left his mark on the world in innumerable ways. he we also a mentor and had a great impression on me since joining @Adobe in 2012. a loss to mourn and a life to celebrate. https://t.co/bBpnoRQxib
— scott belsky (@scottbelsky) August 20, 2023
https://www.siliconvalley.com/2023/08/20/adobe-co-founder-john-warnock-a-giant-in-the-tech-world-dies-at-82/ Adobe co-founder John Warnock, a giant in Silicon Valley, dies at 82