Adobe Bolsters Its XML Infrastructure

Adobe's acquisition of XML infrastructure software developer Yellow Dragon Software will enhance its ability to integrate XML with its PDF.

Adobe Systems Inc. Monday announced that it has acquired the technology assets of Yellow Dragon Software Corp., a developer of XML infrastructure software.

The acquisition of the Vancouver, British Columbia, company will bolster Adobes XML infrastructure with native ebXML (Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language) support and XML messaging and metadata management software, Adobe officials said. This will enhance Adobes ability to integrate XML with the companys popular Portable Document Format (PDF), company officials said. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal to acquire privately held Yellow Dragon.

Yellow Dragons messaging and metadata management software provides the basis for service-oriented architectures (SOAs), with support for ebXML, Web services and other technologies, the company said.

Adobe officials said the San Jose, Calif., company plans to integrate Yellow Dragons ebXML technology into Adobe products in 2004, providing support for ebXML in Adobes Intelligent Document Platform and PDF. The ebXML specification, sponsored by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), provides a standard way to exchange business information via XML.

However, Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, a Cambridge, Mass., market research firm, said he sees opportunities in this deal beyond ebXML for Adobe. "While the ebXML stuff is interesting, I dont think Adobe is acquiring the company for those assets—mainly because ebXML still lacks significant traction and is losing ground to Web services-based means for B2B transactions," Schmelzer said. "Rather, Yellow Dragon has some significant assets in the B2B messaging and reliable document exchange areas, which could definitely benefit Adobe as it seeks to make Acrobat and the PDF a robust contender for the rich client-of-choice for things like forms and other user interaction with back-end systems.

"Adobe is definitely looking to change the landscape for the emerging e-forms market, and will be increasingly stronger in the market. In fact, the only other strong contender for rich, XML-based electronic forms is Microsofts new InfoPath product, and that product is barely out of the gate from an adoption perspective."

In a statement, Duane Nickull, executive vice president and co-founder of Yellow Dragon, said: "Joining the Adobe team will help ensure that our XML technologies enjoy broad adoption as the need for document services grows in the market. We look forward to continuing to deliver new XML technologies that will solve customers document problems."

Ivan Koon, senior vice president at Adobe, said in a statement, "We believe Yellow Dragons technology will enable us to offer XML functionality which will be mandated by governments and businesses over the next few years. We also gain experienced engineers who are active in the XML standards arena, and who helped define the ebXML standard."