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Adobe Builds New Strategy

Hours after announcing the launch of upgrades versions to its popular imaging and .pdf software, Adobe Systems Inc. gave analysts and investors a peek into its business strategy going forward into 2004.

The company said it will meet expected financial guidelines for the third quarter of this year, which ends today.

Adobe's business strategy going forward looks a little bit like its namesake kept too long in the rain -- spread everywhere. Executives highlighted three areas it will focus on in coming months (and have already been positioning themselves): enterprise, creative professionals and consumers.

In fact, the company is so confident in its new strategy that executives are predicting double-digit revenue growth in 2004.

According to Adobe, more than 75 percent of today's graphic artists and photographers are using two or more of its products. Officials hope the demand for now-available new versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive and Acrobat 6.0 will prompt a buying spree into the integrated software featuring all four in Creative Suite.

"What's happening now is (creative professionals) have to deliver on all types of media, and people that might have traditionally had specialized in print are now developing the whole package," said Caleb Belohlavek, Adobe CS group product manager.

Company officials say the file management system between the four CS products, called Version Cue, allows for quicker indexing and searches of thumbnails by date, author or type, though end user's can still upgrade any of the four as a standalone component.

Creative Suite,announced last month, is only available as an upgrade now, though officials said general availability of the retail version would go on shelves later this week. Standalone boxes for the premium and standard editions are expected to cost $1,229 and $999, respectively. PhotoShop users can upgrade to the premium CS platform for $749 or $549 for the standard edition (it comes minus GoLive CS and Acrobat 6.0).

Like many companies today, Adobe plans to capture more consumers on its digital imaging software by releasing a scaled-down Photoshop Album Starter Edition as a demo from its Web site. The hope is potential customers will use the barebones edition and want the full version of PhotoShop CS for digital imaging manipulation and storage.

Adobe has been working on its enterprise solutions for more than a year, putting its Acrobat product in a server setting to deliver dynamic content via XML . Earlier this year, Adobe signed an agreement with IBM to provide digital document services on WebSphere and other Big Blue servers. Around the same time, the company struck a deal with Xerox to endorse each others digital printing standards.

Adobe is gearing up its enterprise offerings to counter the threat of Office 2003, which has puts a heavy emphasis on XML for business users.