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Adobe's Major Update to Acrobat.com

Planned features include shared team workspaces and smartphone access, as well as a spreadsheet-like application, Tables

Adobe Systems announced Acrobat.com has moved out of public beta and will offer two new paid subscription services that add capacity and capabilities for intensive business use.

Since Acrobat.com first launched in June 2008, 5 million people have signed up to use the innovative service, with over 100,000 people signing up each week. Outlining a vision for online collaboration that establishes a new way for business people to work together on the Web, Adobe also provided a look into the future of Acrobat.com.

Planned features include shared team workspaces and smartphone access, as well as a spreadsheet-like application, Acrobat.com Tables, which joins the recently announced Presentations application on Acrobat.com Labs.

“Acrobat.com is poised to become the online destination for team collaboration, with the tools business people need to get work done faster, together, from anywhere. Our customers have moved from e-mailing multiple versions of documents back and forth to collaborating on documents directly in a fluid online environment,” said Rob Tarkoff, senior vice president, Adobe’s Business Productivity Business Unit. “Over the next 12 months, we will continue to add powerful yet simple-to-use team collaboration capabilities that establish a new way to work, while removing barriers to getting work done within and across companies and around the world.”

Adobe is announcing two new Acrobat.com Premium subscription services that address the intense collaboration needs of business people, enabling them to be more productive by bringing them to documents to work together in real-time, rather than sending attachments to inboxes and invitations to calendars. Available today, both Premium offerings include Adobe phone and Web support programs. The Premium Basic service includes Adobe ConnectNow Web meeting capacity for up to five participants and online conversion of 10 uploaded documents to PDF per month. The Premium Plus service includes ConnectNow Web meeting capacity for up to 20 participants and unlimited online creation of PDF files. The free service will continue to offer Adobe® Buzzword® online word processing, ConnectNow Web meeting capacity for up to three participants, and online creation of up to five PDF files.

“Improved collaboration is a critical need for today’s companies that must move faster and do more with less. At the same time, business people expect to use online technology at work just like they do outside the workplace – especially the generation now entering the workforce,” said Melissa Webster, program vice president, Content and Digital Media Technologies, IDC. “Successful online collaboration tools will show the potential of cloud-based services to revolutionize the way business people get work done by helping teams stay connected and work together much more efficiently in real-time."

Over the next year, Adobe plans to extend the team collaboration capabilities of Acrobat.com to provide simple, anywhere access to an open and comprehensive online workspace, such as:

  • More real-time document collaboration tools that use the power and richness of the Adobe Flash® Platform to provide a cool user experience in the browser and on the desktop
  • A simple new interface that streamlines access to the tools business people need to create, share and meet online to get work done as a team
  • Shared team workspaces that let groups of people work on and keep track of documents they need to finish projects, without the pain of version control and e-mail attachments
  • Mobile access so people can upload, manage and share Acrobat.com documents from iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia and Windows® Mobile smartphones
  • Social media style updates from the documents people are working on to stay informed about what is happening and what needs to be done
  • Deeper integration with desktop tools including Adobe products and Microsoft® Outlook 2007, plus import from and export to Microsoft, Open Office and PDF formats
  • Increased support for the Adobe developer community, including access to the underlying technologies of Acrobat.com, as well as its rapidly growing customer base

In support of the Acrobat.com vision, Adobe today also announced the preview release of Acrobat.com Tables, a spreadsheet-like application that is available immediately for free sign-up as a public beta, joining the Acrobat.com Presentations application (see previous announcement) on Acrobat.com Labs. Acrobat.com Tables provides people with a new way to work with others on data-intensive documents – such as task lists, schedules, contacts, budgets and sales numbers – that are typically created and shared in spreadsheets or simple databases. People can easily work with others on the same table at the same time, without the worry of version control or e-mailing spreadsheets back and forth. Because the table lives online, people can access and work on the data from any Internet-connected computer, regardless of where they are located.

More Stories By Salvatore Genovese

Salvatore Genovese is a Cloud Computing consultant and an i-technology blogger based in Rome, Italy. He occasionally blogs about SOA, start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, open source and bleeding-edge technologies, companies, and personalities. Sal can be reached at hamilton(at)sys-con.com.

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