Acrobat Gets Animated, Takes on Big Boys
Adobe is taking on the likes of Microsoft and Google by making it easier to use its software online, meaning colleagues in different locations can create and work on documents together much more easily. The move coincides with the launch of Adobe Acrobat 9, the latest edition of their PDF software. That's a format that allows users to share documents (which can include images as well as text) without having to both use the same software. It's often used to reproduce hard-copy documents such as magazine pages.
The biggest development with Acrobat 9 is that users can now include animations and movies in their documents thanks to a built-in Flash player.
Meanwhile, Adobe's website will now include a 'community' section. This will allow users to create and documents online, then share them with colleagues, customers, or friends. It'll even be possible to hold a web-based conference to discuss changes.
The site will also include a web-based word processor named BuzzWord. This is specially designed for documents written and edited by multiple writers and includes features similar to the 'track changes' featured in Microsoft Word.
Because it's all done via the website, the idea appears to be that people working on a document together can access their work from any machine, regardless of what software they have installed. And it could even mean there's no need to send large files as attachments, which will be welcome news to IT managers fed up of their company servers getting clogged up. (Source: mashable.com)
At the moment the site is at trial stage, during which it's free to use the word processor. Users can also convert up to five documents a month into PDF files without having to buy a standalone copy of Adobe Acrobat. It appears the site will eventually switch to a subscription model based on how much you use it. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
The Adobe system is an obvious rival to Google Documents and Microsoft Office Live Workspace, both of which allow online collaboration without user needing to buy software outright.
There's clearly a market for this type of system among businesses which either can't afford to buy office software across their entire workforce, or have different programs on different networks. But, just like Google, Adobe may find its biggest challenge is overcoming the widespread assumption that Microsoft is the best and easiest choice for office software, however it's distributed.