Adobe Takes Competition to

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-10-01 Print this article Print

the Max"> CHICAGO—Adobe Systems is looking to expand its competition with titans such as Microsoft and Google by entering into new areas, including word processing and document sharing, and bolstering its positions in other areas. At its annual Max 2007 users conference here Oct. 1, Adobe is expected to announce that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Virtual Ubiquity and its online word processor, Buzzword. Adobe also will announce the addition of a new file-sharing service to its current online document services. Code-named "Share," the beta service will make it easier for people to share, publish and organize documents online, said Erik Larson, director of marketing and product management at the San Jose, Calif., software maker.
Share is a free, online document-sharing service, Larson said. Users select the documents they want to share, send a message to recipients and set whether the files will be publicly accessible or restricted, he said. The service is built with Adobe Flex technology. The beta will include a set of REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs to let developers create mash-ups with their applications—including storing and accessing files—as well as creating thumbnails and Flash-based previews of documents.
The Share service can be integrated with Adobes Acrobat Connect, which together with Buzzword will form the basis of a free online service from Adobe. However, over time, Adobe will offer premium online subscription services and developer services based on Share, Larson said. The move adds to Adobes push into the SAAS (software-as-a-service) space and looks to compete with the likes of Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft and Google, of Mountain View, Calif. With Share, users can send documents without e-mail attachments, access their documents from anywhere, view all the documents they have shared or received in one place, post a link to their document on a wiki or blog, embed a Flash preview of their document on any Web site, and limit access to a document to a list of recipients, Adobe officials said. Read more here about Adobes AIR bus. Adobes next steps for Share include providing improved file organization—tags, filters and user-defined collections—the ability to print from any application to create a PDF directly on Share, as well as PDF conversion for Microsoft Office and ODF documents, Adobe officials said. Adobe is offering its Web conferencing, PDF creation and new Buzzword word-processing capabilities along with REST APIs for developers to use the Adobe service infrastructure to add to their applications, Larson said. The company also will provide APIs based on its Flex Web development technology and the ActionScript Flash-oriented development language, he said. "The developer APIs will continue to evolve," Larson said. The acquisition of Waltham, Mass.-based Virtual Ubiquity is key to the strategy, Larson said. The founders and the entire 11-person Virtual Ubiquity team are expected to join Adobe, he said. Buzzword, which is based on Adobes AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime), built with Adobe Flex software and runs in the Adobe Flash Player, enables users to work together to create high-quality, page-perfect documents. Because of its heritage in Adobe technologies, it enables greater document quality, enhanced typography, page layout controls and robust support for integrated graphics, regardless of the browser or device. Its support for Adobe AIR means it can run in a hybrid online/offline environment with the ability to work with both hosted and local documents. Moreover, the collaboration capabilities in Buzzword enable multiple authors to edit and comment on documents from anywhere, while document creators can set permissions that eliminate version control chaos, Larson said. The Virtual Ubiquity acquisition furthers Adobes commitment to foster a vibrant ecosystem for RIA (rich Internet application) development that delivers experiences built on Adobe AIR, he said. Members of the team that created Buzzword were also involved in the development of Lotus Notes and eRoom, and some of them worked at Interleaf, a technical publishing software maker that was acquired by Broadvision. Page 2: Adobe Takes Competition to the Max

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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