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Adobe, Xerox Align for Printing Standards

As Microsoft readies the rollout of Office 2003, Adobe Systems and Xerox Corp. are endorsing each others standards for digital printing technology.

The printing standards in question are Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), Job Definition Format (JDF) job ticketing, Adobe PostScript, Extensible Markup Language (XML) and both static and variable information workflow technologies.

The joint initiatve is part of Xerox FreeFlow Digital Workflow Collection, which is a system where print jobs move through the creation, production and fulfillment process within an enterprise.

Xerox and Adobe are attempting to marry several technologies as they try to position themselves as a leading player in the business of printing workflow management.

While Adobe's PDF format and XML are becoming de facto standards, the company is trying to garner industry-wide support for its JDF and PostScript standards. At the same time, Xerox is investing in its FreeFlow intiative and related software.

"As part of the new initiative, Adobe and Xerox are undertaking joint efforts to drive acceptance of the JDF standard for job ticketing, and to develop integrated solutions that leverage the strengths of their respective variable data printing technologies," the companies said.

The two companies have extensive plans for integrating aspects of their digital printing software.

"Xerox DigiPath Production Software 4.0 with Adobe Acrobat, PDF Libraries and PDF plug-in support as part of a full and robust Adobe PDF workflow. Adobe PDF is supported throughout all of DigiPath's functionality, including scanning, preflight, imposition, editing, storage, viewing and printing," the partners said.

Adobe's hookup with Xerox comes just a day it is coming out with a new software suite, which will include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and GoLive, making it simpler to blend graphics, photos and print for Web site producers.

Adobe said it is coming out with the new software suite, called Adobe Creative Suite, which is expected to hit the market within months. The standard edition priced at $999, and $1,229 for the premium version.

In a related announcement on Tuesday, Adobe has licenced technology from Opera Software ASA, the Norwegian company announced. The deal will include Opera's cross-platform rendering engine in future Adobe products using the Macintosh and Windows operating systems.

Opera's small-screen rendering (SSR) technology allows for the creation of Web pages that work on a variety of screen sizes, devices and platforms.

Opera's SSR technology allows a Web page to be written in HTML and reformats it so that it fits on smaller screen, which eliminates the need to recode pages.

Adobe's support of Opera's technology is another snipe at Microsoft, whose Internet Explorer is far and away the leader of the browser software market. Opera's browser software is considered a niche product.

Opera is trying to position its browser software, as an alternative to Microsoft's, especially for the next-generation of mobile devices.

"Opera Software is the leading browser in the market for mobile browser technology, and Adobe joins the ranks of key industry players such as IBM , Nokia , Sony Ericsson, Symbian, Macromedia , Sharp, and Kyocera, who also have chosen Opera's browser solutions for their products," Opera said.

Opera said it is "targeting the desktop, smart phone, PDA, iTV and vertical markets."