Nitro, which has positioned itself as an alternative to PDF software industry leader Adobe, is introducing Nitro Pro 8 with new features and a new market win as the default PDF reader installed on Lenovo PCs.
"It's testament to how robust the product is now," that Lenovo chose Nitro over Adobe, said Sam Chandler, founder and CEO of Nitro. "We basically created the Acrobat alternative category."
Lenovo PCs will come with Nitro Pro 8 preinstalled, which is more than just a PDF reader app, but a whole suite of apps for creating and managing PDFs, said Gina O'Reilly, chief operating officer of Nitro. New users will get a free 60-day trial of Nitro Pro; that's longer than the typical 14-day trial for software downloaded from Nitro's Web site. If users choose not to buy Nitro Pro by the end of the trial, they can still use the basic Nitro Reader free.
"Our goal, together with Lenovo, is essentially to educate their users during the trial period to make sure they get a look under the hood, that they have access and try using all the features of Nitro Pro with, hopefully, a decision to continue to use the Pro version," said O'Reilly.
New features in version 8 include a "PDF-to-Excel" converter that takes data out of a PDF and allows the user to drop it into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, preserving the formatting of the tables, rows, cells and columns, said Chandler.
"If you've ever had any experience trying to convert things from PDF to other formats, you'd know how difficult it is to actually get a good result," he said.
Version 8 also adds auto-save and auto-recovery functions common in Microsoft Office documents.
In addition, Nitro Pro 8 offers full support for Autonomy WorkSite, a document management system. With WorkSite, both paper and electronic documents, including records, email messages and other media, are consolidated in a central library, where they can more easily be organized, searched and retrieved. (Autonomy was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2011 for $10.3 billion.)
Besides Nitro, another company in the PDF space trying to take on Adobe is Foxit, which has several products that do PDF creation and editing. It also focuses on PDF security, using the Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Service to provide policy protection for PDFs. It also offers a product that enables users to electronically sign PDFs.
When asked if Nitro Pro 8 will be delivered in a software as a service (SaaS) model, Chandler said such a development may be a few months down the road, but declined to be more specific.