If one were to create a recipe for long-lasting success and undying popularity, you'd have to add a few cups of brilliance, branding and hard work. But perhaps the most important ingredient would be a little luck and some quick thinking. After all, it was a young PhD student in 1987 by the name of Thomas Knoll who acted fast when he noticed his Mac Plus (only the 3rd Macintosh model computer ever) did not display gray scale images on its 1-bit black and white monitor. Some might have complained and others may not have noticed. Knoll saw opportunity.
Next, add in a quart of innovation. Thomas' brother John, a special effects coordinator on the 1st Star Wars movie began helping Thomas with coding to create the first version of editing software that manipulated photos and images. In 1988, they would call their finished product Image-Pro. The name and the software was shopped around to many companies, but no one would bite. Eventually, Adobe saw tremendous value and decided to partner with them.
Finally, add in a few teaspoons of business savvy. Adobe smartly branded and bought the rights to the software in 1990, calling it "Photoshop" instead of "Image-Pro." The name change proved to be a brilliant move. Computer enthusiasts, media giants and tech nerds alike loved the Adobe product, eventually making "Photoshop" a pop culture / action word. Magazine companies, newspapers and web designers have been loyal fans of the image editing software for many years. "Photo shopped" and "shopped" are often used verbs that are referring to the photos and images edited by the Adobe Photoshop program. It's been difficult for competitors to separate themselves because "Photoshop" gets referred to just about any image manipulating software.
Several times per year, tech organizations often run Photoshop competitions (often referred to as "The photo chop Contest") online where people post images and designers creatively manipulate the image with a graphics editor. While there are many image editing competitors today, the majority still go with the original recipe. Adobe Photoshop's popularity lives on.