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Adobe to Boost Apollo With $100M

Adobe Systems  said it will pump $100 million over the next three to five years in companies delivering applications via Apollo, a new platform for developing Internet applications that also function on the desktop.

This approach is emerging as a key strategy for generating revenues from Apollo, which the company unveiled at its MAX developer and customer conference in Las Vegas yesterday.

Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen admitted that the company isn't sure how it will monetize the new platform, but expressed confidence that Apollo will have enough gravity to attract numerous satellites.

"There's a new suite of applications that we hope to enable that we haven't even imagined yet," Chizen said during a meeting with reporters and analysts today.

"We're hoping Apollo will spur a tremendous number of new applications that will get unveiled over the next months and years."

While Chizen admitted that he isn't entirely sure of how Adobe will monetize the new platform, he added that this isn't necessarily a worry.

"When we invented PDF, we didn't know we were going to invent monetization schemes like Lifecycle," he noted.

Apollo is a cross-operating system that will allow developers to create rich Internet applications that work as well offline on the desktop as online via a browser; programmers may use Flash, Flex, HTML, JavaScript and Ajax to build apps on Apollo.

Since the company won't be charging for either the application downloaded by end-users or the SDK  used by developers, it will have to monetize Apollo on the back of other applications.

Adobe expects that eventually, content publishers will pay license fees for applications that leverage Apollo to allow users to interact with their content offline.

This is already the revenue model for other Adobe software that end-users download for free.

Some of those revenue-generating applications may be developed internally, but Adobe is hedging its bets by investing in third-party vendors who contribute to this ecosystem.

Mike Mankowski, senior vice president at Tier 1 Research, a division of research firm the 451Group, said the principle is akin to Google creating free applications to drive users to its Web site.

In this case, content publishers, rather than advertisers, are going to be paying the freight.

"The publishers are going to have to license the application to purpose their content," he told internetnews.com.

The company said that its venture funding is a signal of its commitment to creating an ecosystem for the Adobe Engagement Platform, of which Apollo is to be a key component.